Friday, June 27, 2008

DNA Structure

This short video explains the structure of DNA and its components: Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine.

DNA Structure

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Uncle Volley Bailey on the 1910 Census

After I found the 1920 census, then I discovered him on the 1910. From this census, I learned the name of his wife and the name of a son who was mentioned by his descendants. Willie L. Perhaps the descendants did not know the Volley and Lilly had a son named Willie. Uncle Volley and his family were living in the same location in 1910, as they were in 1920 census at 1716 Wall Street in the Richmond area of Chesterfield County. However, in 1910 he was listed as a “renter” of this property and in 1920, an owner. This serves as a clue for me to search for a property deed and/or land taxes for the years 1910-1920. The 1910 census also gives me an estimated marriage year of Volley and Lilly because it indicates that they married at age 20. Therefore, this marriage would have occurred around 1890.

The marital status of the son is listed ‘married’ for one year, however finding his marriage license would give me more information on the wife and possibly her whereabouts. If her occupation is some type of Domestic or Servant, then she may have been living with her employer in 1910.

Uncle Volley’s age is 50 on this 1910 census, which suggests a birth year of 1860. All ages given on censuses (1870, 1910, and 1920) all point to a birth year of 1860.

The 1910 census indicates that the occupation for Uncle Volley was a “Life Insurance Agent,” which confirms the occupation remembered by his descendants.

The 1910 census is the second document found on Uncle Volley and it furthers my research by giving the name of his wife, the name of a third child (a son), name of his occupation, age at time of marriage, and address.

To Be Continued . . .

See previous articles on Uncle Volley

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Uncle Volley on the 1920 Census

After Cousin Jimmy shared his new findings on the family of our Uncle Volley Bailey, I began searching the census. (See blog Cousin Jimmy Finds Uncle Volley Descendants) The first census I found on Uncle Volley was for 1920. Since his first name is often spelled a variety of ways, “Valley, Volley, Volly, etc.,” it took some time to locate him on various censuses. One thing that caught my attention on the 1920 census was that Uncle Volley’s marital status was listed as “M” for married, but there was no wife living in the household. ‘Were they separated or was she in a mental institution,” were my first thoughts about her whereabouts. One of my genealogy friends laughed when I mentioned the “mental institution” as a possibility. I had very good reason to suspect this as a possibility because I had found one of my ancestors on the 1920 census listed as “married,” but with no wife in the household. Later, I found her listed living in a mental institution on the 1920 census.

1920 Census, Richmond City, Chesterfield County

From studying the 1920 census of Uncle Volley’s household, I learned the following things:
  • Volley's daughters were listed as born in Virginia. Therefore based on the age of the oldest daughter, I can assume that he was likely living in Virginia by 1898.

  • Although the 1920 census did not list Uncle Volley's wife living in the household, the census did indicate that the mother of his two daughters was born in "Virginia."

  • Uncle Volley's occupation was listed as "Agent" and the company name appears to be an insurance company, but the writing is difficult to understand. His descendants had told Cousin Jimmy that Uncle Volley was an insurance agent so the census confirms this claim.

  • The 1920 census also indicates that Uncle Volley owned his home and also gives the address as 1716 Wall Street in Chesterfield County which was part of Richmond City in Virginia.

These clues from the census gave me a great start in the construction of the life of my Uncle Volley Bailey, The Insurance Man.

To Be Continued . . .

Monday, June 23, 2008

Caroline Bailey

Caroline Bailey was the mother of my great grandmother Matilda Bailey Thornton (1856-1916) and he brother Volley Bailey (1860-1929). I suspect that there were other siblings, but I have not found any documentation verifying this relationship. Caroline Bailey was never listed on the census living in the household with her children. On the 1870 census, I found a 50-year old Caroline Bailey living in the household of Adam and Bettie (Betsy) Wilkins. Also in 1870, her children Matilda and Volley were living in the household of Josephine Bailey. The 1880 census indicates that Caroline was the mother-in-law of Adam Wilkins, therefore that would make her Betsy’s mother. I have yet found a marriage license for Adam and Besty. By 1880, Matilda was married to Plummer Thornton and living in Halifax County, NC.

1870 Census, Household of Adam Wilkins, Dalmatia Township, Halifax County, NC

1880 Census, Household of Adam Wilkins, Enfield Township of Halifax County, NC

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cousin Jimmy Discovers Descendants of Uncle Volley Bailey

On June 2, 2008, my cousin Jimmy Rogers announced on the Thornton Family’s website at, that he had found the descendants of our Uncle Volley Bailey. A few days later I found the death certificates of our ancestor Matilda Bailey Thornton (1856-1916) on Uncle Volley was a brother of our ancestor Matilda and we had reached a brick wall in finding her family’s whereabouts after 1870. Since Cousin Jimmy’s discovery, I have revisited my research on the Bailey family and have made numerous discoveries.

Cousin Jimmy learned that Uncle Volley left North Carolina and moved to Richmond, Virginia where he worked as an Insurance man. Through his contacts from Uncle Volley’s family, he gathered names and some birthdates. Using this information that Cousin Jimmy found, I have found several documents on the life of Uncle Volley. The first thing I used was the census which gave me clues for further research. I already had a copy of the 1870 census which listed Uncle Volley at age 10 living in the household of Josephine Bailey. For years, I could not understand the spelling of Uncle Volley’s name on the census. I thought that it was “Vibby” and I put it in my Family Tree Maker database as “Vibby?” However, after carefully looking at the letters again, I see that what I thought were the letters “b” were actually the letters “l”.

Because family relationships are not listed on the 1870 census, we were not sure if any of the children listed in the household belonged to Josephine Bailey. Since there is a 12-year age difference been the ages of Josephine and our ancestor Matilda, we assumed that Josephine might be an older sister or some other relative. However the death certificate of Matilda names Samuel and Caroline Bailey as her parents. There is a 20-year age difference between Josephine and Volley so it possible that she was mother. Research findings within the last few weeks are bringing clarity to the history of the Bailey family.

1870 Census, Formosa Township (Brinkleyville) of Halifax County, NC

To Be Continued. . .

Saturday, June 14, 2008

North Carolina Death Certificates on Ancestry

I've been busy during the past two weeks going though North Carolina Death Certificates recently posted on I already had death certificates on my most of my direct ancestors who died since 1913 and a few collateral family members. However, the convenience of having these certificates on the web is enabling me to explore many other family lines. I have also been posting some of these certificates for my Thornton and Bullock families on our MyFamily websites.

I also found a death certificate for my great great grandmother Matilda Bailey Thornton who died in 1916. When I wrote to the county a few years ago for her Death Certificate, they claimed to not have one for her. I had received information from a Thornton cousin that Grandma Matilda had died in 1916. I found her in Ancestry by using her maiden name. In ancestry, her married surname was spelled "THOMTON" instead of "THORNTON." It my have been spelled like that in the county death index which would explain why the Halifax County Register of Deeds office claimed not to have a death certificate for her.
This information on this death certificate takes me back another generation by giving me the names of Grandma Matilda’s parents as Samuel and Caroline Bailey. I found her mother on the 1870 and 1880 censuses, but Grandma Matilda was not living with her mother.

I had a similar issue with another North Carolina county when I requested the Death Certificate for my great grandfather George Johnson. In my letter to the county, I stated that George was married and gave the name of his wife as well as his estimated age and his death year-1932. The county sent me a DC of a 5 month old baby. I sent it back and they returned the certificate with a note stating that this was the only GEORGE JOHNSON they found who died in 1932. I visited the county some time later and searched the index myself. Listed a few lines below Baby George Johnson in the index was my great grandfather. His name was listed as GEORGE JOHNSTON.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Family History Research Process

Roots Television has a series of videos that cover the Five Step Research Process. The first in this series gives an overview of the five-step research process.

1. Write Down What You Know.
2. Decide What You Want To Learn About Your Family.
3. Choose A Source Of Information To Search.
4. Learn From The Source.
5. Use The Information.

Research Process Overview