Friday, January 27, 2017

Wheelers and Damesworths and Curtises...... oh my!!

When I first got into researching my family, some of my information came from other family members that had already started tracing that particular line. One of them being Dave Wheeler, on my mom's dad's side of the family: Wheeler. My grandpa Les Wheeler passed away when I was only a year old and I had never had any contact with the Wheeler family to my knowledge. He was born in Humphreys County, Tennessee in 1918. Sadly, his mom, Nancy Elizabeth "Lizzie" Damesworth, passed away in 1919. Since my great grandpa, James Wheeler had so many kids and no wife to help him, Lizzie Damesworth's parents (James and Willie Damesworth) took my grandpa in. He was raised by them until he was a teenager. Then the story is, he "rode the rails like a hobo" up to St. Louis to be with his dad and family. So when I inherited grandma's photos, which included lots of Wheelers, I needed to get in contact with someone from the Wheeler side to hopefully answer some questions. Mom gave me Dave Wheeler's contact info and he sent me the information he had. Since a lot of it was traced straight back pretty far, I only entered the data and left it alone.

Here we are five years later and I am just now going over the information more in depth, adding sources, siblings, etc. Boy, did I have a surprise I wasn't expecting. Turns out a lot of the family from that particular area are all related. *gasp* I know what you are thinking. Does that mean..... cousins marrying cousins? Well, not exactly. It more means 2nd cousins marrying 3rd cousins once or twice removed and such. You see, they were all farmers in this area and all of them had at least 7 kids or more. Then they all married and had at least 7 kids or more. And so on and so on. So then those kids would marry one of the other kids from another family.

So tracing the family in Humphreys County, Tennessee has been a challenge. Making sure I'm tracing the right family with the right parents and spouses and kids and oh boy.... Well I didn't realize how much of a tangled web was woven until I found a new picture on Ancestry. It was in the hints for my 2x great grandma, Nancy Elizabeth "Lizzie" Damesworth. I had one photo of her from before, so I knew this new photo was of her and her family. The photo was not labeled, but it did have names listed off to the side. So I painstakingly labeled the photo so we knew the name of everyone.

I shared this photo in the Tennessee Genealogy Network Facebook group just for fun and another member of the group contacted me. Peg told me that there was a Genealogy for Humphreys County and Dickson County Facebook group and I should share my photo there. So I did! Little did I know how many people I would end up being related to! Because of all the intermarrying all the cousins, second cousins, and cousins removed, I have a ton of connections! So, I've been spending lots of time trying to connect all the kids, spouses and siblings to see who all I am really related to. I have to say, I'm hoping for a family reunion in Humphreys County. I love what Peg said. "It seems like in Humphreys Co -if you are relater to one person, you are related to everyone." And I'm finding this to be true!

So here is my list of Surnames that I know I am for sure related to in Humphreys County, Tennessee:

Humphreys County Surnames
Wheeler Damesworth Kindle Hatcher
Curtis Wanamaker Healy Hooper
Bayes Thompson Scholes Collier
Triplett Bateman Smith

So as time goes on, who knows how many more surnames I will add and how many more relatives I will find. I'm working now to save photos and information to flash drives. Trying to organize them is a challenge. Thanks to all the wonderful members in the Genealogy for Humphreys County and Dickson County Facebook group, I am learning so much! Check them out today if you by chance have relatives from those counties.