Saturday, January 12, 2019

My Wallace Ancestry (52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 2 – Challenge)

Do you have a John Smith in your ancestry? How about a John Brown? Smiths. Browns. I’ve always been relieved that I didn’t have many names like that in my ancestral line – you know, the kind that are so prevalent that you find a gazillion of them everywhere you look.

Then I found out that having a William Wallace as an ancestor was just about as bad as having a John Smith. They are everywhere, and we’re not talking about “the” William Wallace of “Braveheart” fame. (As a side note, I will say that I am actually related to him through his mother’s line, the Crawford family. But that’s another story for another day.)

My Mother was a Wallace. Her father was Baxter H. Wallace (1895 – 1958), and his father was the Reverend William Pierce Wallace (1854- 1919), another William Wallace! But he always distinguished himself with the use of his middle name and the fact that he was a circuit-riding Methodist preacher. I’ve been able to find tons of information about him.

But going further down that rabbit-hole (uh, I mean ancestral line), I’ve discovered that the Right Reverend’s father was a Samuel Wallace (1826 – 1903), whose name was almost as elusive as William. I have, however, managed to find a good deal about him over the years. It took a quite a bit of digging, but his life has become a bit clearer to me as I find more documentation that he was indeed my 2x great-grandfather. And I know from researching this family that he is the son of Archibald “Archer” Wallace (abt. 1785 – aft. 1850). Do I have proof of that fact? No.

I’ve been able to find out some things about Archer, even a record proving his marriage to Henrietta “Ritty” McReynolds. The document completely misspells her name, but other types of documentation proves that she was indeed his wife.

So, who was Archer’s father? Supposedly, he was one William Wallace, my 4x great grandfather who may or may not have been born in Pennsylvania sometime around 1750. I know for sure that he lived in North Carolina (probably Orange County) and that he served in the Revolutionary War. He’s listed as a Patriot on the DAR website. He’s just not listed with my ancestor, Archibald, as his son - naturally!

I also know that he and Archibald and Harbart (the son verified by the DAR) lived next to each other in Sumner Co., TN on land that was most likely given to him for his service. His last appearance was on the 1824 Tax List of Sumner County. Now, I say “last appearance” as if I’ve really done a great deal of research on him.

The truth is, I have not! I’ve been a bit side-lined these last few years by family concerns, and my research on this family came to a standstill a while back.

My challenge this year? I’m going to find out more about those Wallaces. How can I prove that Samuel was really Archibald’s son and that Archibald was definitely the oldest son of William?

Just where was William born? The ‘family story’ has always been that we were Scots-Irish, so was he born here or in Ireland? When did his family leave Scotland and go to Ireland? When did they come to America? I lose him completely when I try to find him in his youth. It’s all a great big blur.

Yes, I have a huge challenge ahead of me. Wallace (from the Scots viewpoint) may as well be Smith or Brown.  But I truly do want to know more about that family, and I am determined to have that DAR Patriot from North Carolina as a supplement!

Yep, I think I’m up to the challenge!
Archibald Wallace & Ritty McReynolds Marriage Certificate
Copy of marriage record between Archibald Wallace and Ritty McReynolds (spelled as McRunnells) found on

@2019 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Thursday, January 10, 2019

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 1 – First

I’ve always wanted to join in on the #52 Ancestors Challenge, but I was afraid that I couldn’t keep up. Guess I was right, since I’m already a week behind! Nevertheless, I’m going to try this year. I need to start writing again and I think it’s a good year for new beginnings for me. If I get behind, that’s okay.

Whenever I consider ‘firsts’ as far as genealogy, I have to remember the first reason I ever got involved in family history research. Aside from my love of history and family stories, it was two stories in particular that intrigued me. I needed to prove or disprove those stories I had heard all my life. Many of you have heard these reasons because I’ve mentioned them often in genealogical circles. But if we’re dealing with ‘firsts,’ I have to address these two stories. Also, I’ve looked back in my blog notes and this was the very first subject that I wrote about, so it’s a natural for me – and an easy one.

The first story that I always heard was that my middle name, Lee, was given to me because our family was related to Gen. Robert E. Lee. As a southerner growing up in the 50s, I heard his name everywhere and believed that story to be total malarkey.

The second story was that my four times great grandmother, Hannah Gage Norman, was the daughter of Gen. Thomas Gage, the British general who sent the troops to Lexington and Concord. Oh yes. I definitely believed that one! Leave it to my family to be on the wrong side of the Revolution!

I actually started my research on Hannah Gage in the mid-70s, often visiting the local library and devouring everything that was written on Gen. Thomas Gage. There was frequently a list of his children, but I never found her name, and I just couldn’t understand that. After all, I had a family tree drawn out in my Father’s beautiful handwriting, and I knew he couldn’t be wrong. I was convinced in my naivete that she wasn’t mentioned because she had obviously gone against her Father’s wishes and married someone who was involved in the Revolution. Naturally, he must have just cut her out of his life.

I never even thought to research the Lee story until the advent of the internet in the 90s, and the ease of researching allowed me to delve into what others had researched about General Lee. I had read a number of books about him before that, but none of them had any familiar names to me and, again, I just couldn’t imagine a connection.

Finding out that my great-great grandfather, Charles Jones Love (1824 – 1890), had married Julia Elizabeth Lee Shrewsbury (abt. 1823 – aft. 1870) was the beginning of a great adventure that led to the discovery that my 9x great grandfather, Richard Lee (1618 – 1664), was also the direct ancestor of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Well, how about that? Old Robert Edward Lee is my 4th cousin, 5x removed.

Poor Hannah, on the other hand, might be a distant relative of Gen. Gage, according to a paper written and published about her grandson (Solomon R. Norman) in the late 1800s. (Kentucky: A History of the State. Perrin, Battle & Kniffin, 6th ed., 1887, Spencer Co.)

I suppose that particular publication is how that ‘family story’ began, and I know for sure that research is how we make sure that the real stories continue.

@2019 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Is Grandma Tossing and Turning?

Lorena Grace Sanford - age 18
As I prepared to enter high school here in Memphis back in the early 60s, I remember my Mother telling me one day that my Dad would be rolling in his grave if he knew that I was going to Central High School and not Tech High, his alma mater. I was horrified!
Not knowing much about my Dad or his family anyway, I will always remember that ‘visual’ scenario in my head, and I honestly felt as though I might be betraying him. It was, of course, the first time I had ever heard that particular phrase. Mother assured me that I was making the right choice, since the school I was attending had a college-focused curriculum, and that my Dad would have been proud of me. I gave a sigh of relief, but I've always remembered that vivid phrase and have used it a few times myself since then.
I think my Grandmother might be rolling in her grave today. In fact, I’m pretty sure she is!
Lorena Grace Sanford Wallace Werkhoven was born on 5 Aug 1896. So on 4 June 1919, when the Senate confirmed the amendment to the constitution that would give women the right to vote, she would soon be twenty-three years old and had just given birth to my Mother on January 10th of that same year.  She would be twenty-four the following year when the amendment was fully ratified. 1
Naturally, she rushed right out to vote. Right?
Wrong! My Grandmother was a firm believer that a woman’s place was in the home and had no business whatsoever involving themselves in politics. It went completely against her personal faith. So did drinking, dancing and other “tools of the devil.”
Yep. She was a strict Southern Baptist, and so were all of her friends. But I loved her dearly and just learned to live with her distinct beliefs, even if I didn’t always agree with them.
Thankfully, my Mother did not follow her mother’s belief about voting and took the first opportunity to show her duty to her country by voting for the first time in the 1940 election. She turned twenty-one the previous January and always told me about her first time voting. She even took me with her a few times when I was a child.
Obviously, I did the same. The first election I was eligible to vote in was the exciting, but controversial 1968 election. I turned twenty-one the 5th of June that year - the same day that Robert F. Kennedy was shot. He died the next day. The times were so turbulent that I knew it was my obligation to vote to try to make a difference.
When I became a mother myself, I also took my children with me to vote and always preached the importance of voting to each of them.
My Mother tried so many times to get Grandmother to register to vote, but she could never persuade her to do so. Grandmother lived to the age of 89 without ever setting foot in a voting booth.
That old phrase came back to me like a flash last night when the first woman in history was placed into position by one of the major political parties to run for the office of President of the United States.
Wow, I thought as I watched the confirmation occur. I’ll bet Grandmother is rolling in her grave. Seriously, she may be tossing and turning.
I think I’d better go to her gravesite soon and check to see if the earth has been moved. If anyone could do that, it would be her!


@2016 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Breaking Down a Major Brick Wall – for Someone Else!

Sometimes I help others begin their ancestry research. When I do that, I usually create a private tree on to help guide me. I build a tree with my friend as the “home person” and look for clues from that point forward. If I’m lucky, the friend has at least some information on ancestors for at least two generations back to help me begin.

Since I’ve not worked on my own tree (or even written on my blog) in a while, I decided to step back into genealogy research by going back to work on a friend’s tree. I had begun developing the tree before Christmas and worked on it quite often until around January or February. 

I had gotten a couple of his lines “across the pond” and had even provided documentation to help him qualify for the SAR and his daughter for the DAR if they so desired.

Nevertheless, I had gotten completely stuck on who the parents of his paternal great grandfather were! It was odd that there appeared to be no information on someone whose relationship was that close. So back to the drawing board I went, adding other research tools - and still coming to a complete standstill.

Then I remembered a recent blog post written by the Legal Genealogist, Judy R. Russell. Judy sensibly reminded us to read every word.  

Well, heck, I know that, and I most certainly do that…don’t I? Well, heck, I guess not!

In going back through the same records that I had looked at before, I actually stopped and read the hint information on one that I hadn’t really looked at before. The reason I hadn’t was because the gentleman I was researching had been married for 48 years to the same woman. This was a marriage record and the woman’s name was different.

What I failed to realize in my first perusal was that the gentleman in this record matched every single thing I knew about the man I was researching: approximate age and exact place where he lived. I had forgotten  that his wife had passed away in 1928. He was 65 years old at that time, so it never occurred to me that he might have remarried.

So I decided to open the record anyway and received a pleasant surprise. He had decided to marry again at the wonderful age of 71 years old! And not only that, the marriage record asked for his parents’ names and their places of birth! Hallelujah!

I couldn’t believe it. Jackpot. I found his father’s name and that he was born in Virginia. I also obtained his mother’s name and the fact that she was born in Ohio.

As I plugged that information into the tree on Ancestry, I was able to find them in various census records. There was only one problem: in every one of those records, his mother gave her place of birth as Kentucky.  Well, her son was 71, after all, when he gave out that information. Maybe he just got confused.

I hope he wasn’t confused on her name, though, because I’ve found nothing on her – yet. That’s okay. I’ve only just begun. And I’m most assuredly reading every word!

As to my own family tree? Watch out brick walls. I’m coming after you next!

@2016 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Carr Brothers. Maybe You Know Them?

A number of years ago, I found a treasure trove of postcards that belonged to my Grandmother. My Mother had saved them, and I came across them in her cedar chest after she passed away. I remember seeing them when I was a little girl in my Grandmother’s own chest, but I hadn’t thought about them in a long while. After finding them amongst my Mother’s belongings, I promptly put them away…forgotten, as usually happens with things that get “put away.”

I found them again a few years ago. I had put them in a special box where they would be safe. So safe, in fact, that it was a lovely surprise when I re-discovered them. What fun it was to go through them again. And what insights I gained into the life of my Grandmother when she was a teenager and then a young, unmarried lady. Grandmother (Lorena Grace Sanford Wallace Werkhoven) was born in 1896, so the time period we are looking at falls between about 1911 and 1918.

Those insights must be saved, however, for another time. Today I’m going to concentrate on the postcard that had a photo on it of two brothers. I thought they might be twins. The fashion of the day was to have photos made in postcard form so that they could be mailed to friends and family members. This one had obviously been given to my Grandmother because only their names were written on the back: Cleades Carr and Claudus Carr. Who in the world were they?

One of the insights I learned about my Grandmother was that she had received quite a few postcards from various friends who were males. (Really?My Grandmother?) Naturally, I wondered about these two whose faces I had before me. Her other friends were faceless, made real only by their words and obvious devotion to her. These two simply left her a photo of themselves – one she kept as a memento all of her life.

After finding them again, I did place a post on the Carr surname message boards hoping that someone would come forward who knew them. They never did.  But recently, I began to research them again and actually found them on Ancestry and on Find A Grave. They were indeed twins, born in 1893 in Kentucky. It seems that they lived their whole lives in Kentucky, so I’m not sure exactly how, when, or where they met my Grandmother. It was probably on a trip to Memphis, or perhaps Mississippi, where she lived for a couple of years during that time period.

According to information I found on both of the aforementioned sites, Claudus was killed in a traffic accident in 1931. I can only imagine how much that must have devastated his twin, Cletus. In fact, the tombstone photo I saw on Find A Grave showed Cletus buried in the middle, with his wife on his right and, yes, his twin brother on his left. Cletus lived until 1965, married and had children. Claudus never married.

Shown below is the postcard with the photo of the two brothers dressed in cowboy attire. Someone (probably my Grandmother) had written their names on the back of the card. Cletus’ name was misspelled, evidently written out as it sounded and spelled closer to the spelling of Claudus.

Do you know these twins? Are you a relative? If so, let me know. I have a wonderful piece of history to give you to cherish.

Back of the postcard showing the names of the Carr brothers - with Cletus' name misspelled.
Cletus and Claudus Carr (Not sure which is which)

@2015 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland