Showing posts with label Ellen Tapply. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ellen Tapply. Show all posts

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Tale of Charles Tapply- More Evidence Surfaces.

The uniform of a sapper with the Royal Engineers
This is the dress uniform of the Royal Engineers for a sapper. A sapper was responsible for building and repairing roads and laying and clearing mines. This was the future that stretched ahead for Charles Tapply in 1880 as he served with his unit at Chatham.  I found this information on the Royal Engineers: "The Royal Engineers were the corps most affected by technological advance. In addition to their traditional duties of fortification, road- and bridge-building, they also became responsible for the operation of field telegraphs, the construction and operation of railways, and even the provision of balloons that provided observers with a "bird's-eye" view of enemy positions."
The First Boer War was in progress and Charles was as likely as not to end up in South Africa. He was 23 years old. He had a wife and a child and a baby on the way. Had he volunteered or was he conscripted? Who knows? Facing the prospect of several years of hard service, he "did a bunk".

How do I know all this? Well, I was lucky enough to win a photo-captioning contest on the Ancestry FB page and won access to The Fold and Newspapers.com.  Most of the records are "premium" and there's arm-twisting to pay for a better membership, but I did manage to grab a couple of things.

First is the notice of deserters that appeared in the Police Gazette.

The listing here gives us a lot of useful information. He was serving with the Royal Engineers. We know this is our Charles because it names his hometown as Maidstone and his occupation as painter. It gives a physical description of black hair, blue eyes and dark complexion with a mark on the left arm. And it states that he had disappeared from Chatham. Chatham is in the far eastern part of Kent.
The next document is the record of his court-martial. I don't see a year at the top of the page, but I'm assuming that after the notice in the gazette with no result, they proceeded with a court martial in January of 1881.  

We also know that since Daisy was born in February of 1881, Charles stuck around through June or July of 1880.  The census in Maidstone 1881 shows Ellen and the two girls living with Charles' parents. From what I can find out, the census back then was taken in April, May or June.
My guess is the Charles hid out in the area until he could find passage to the U.S., but we don't know when or how he actually left.
Here again is the passenger list with "Mrs. Tapply", Annie and Daisy. No Charles.
And here is the "header page" for the passenger list, which tells us they arrived June 17, 1881 in New York from London. As I talked about in a previous post, it would have been Castle Island. No trace of Charles under an alias, so he came by other means.
Here's a rather charming stamp representation of the steamship Bolivia. I doubt traveling alone in steerage with an infant and a three-year-old was charming.

What do we know now? Well the "Grandpa deserted from the British Army" story is definite. The records are all there. If he really was on the run, then the chances of finding his name on any passenger list are slim.  I was bowled over to find his name on those two lists for the British Army even though that service was considerably less than distinguished. At this distance in time and place, it simply adds a little "spice" to his story.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Taking an Oral History- The Tapplys

Charles and Ellen Tapply, White Horse Beach, 1931
You may recognize this picture from a previous post. I'm posting again today because the time period is right for what I'm sharing.  Long before I began to do any actual research into the family, I realized how important all the photos, letters, objects and memories are. I had heard someone talk about sitting older relatives down and recording their memories. How I wish I'd started sooner! In 1994 my mother sat down and made two tapes where she recorded things she knew or could remember about both sides of her family. The records and dates are nice, but the memories are priceless. I haven't listened to the tapes since my mother's death- too hard. Listening now I hear things in her voice I never noticed and hear details that didn't resonate with me then. So on Mother's Day, I share this one memory with my Tapply family.
"My earliest memories as a child are tied up with the Tapplys...my mother did have to work during the depths of the Depression. She spent a lot of time going on temporary assignments (she was a secretary) in downtown Fitchburg in offices. I got passed from grandmother to grandmother, but a lot of the time was with my Grandmother Tapply. At that time, they had moved to Pearl Hill, had build a house on Pearl Hill and their youngest son, Bob lived with them. I enjoyed going to visit my Grandmother and Grandfather Tapply. My grandfather, who my mother portrayed as a very stern, patriarchal, somewhat dictatorial father, had mellowed to a bald-headed gentleman with a salt-and-pepper mustache and wire-framed glasses and a brown coat-sweater that he wore most of the time. He loved to hold me on his lap and he was very kind to me and gave me candy. I used to go shopping with my grandmother and grandfather. We drove down from Pearl Hill and parked right beside the Rollstone Church on North Street and Main. I sat in the large, old, black touring car- I think it even had Isinglass windows -that my grandfather drove.
A touring car with Isinglass windows
My grandmother marched herself up Main Street to do her shopping. This woman had borne, bear in mind, 12 children but she was very energetic. She was a small woman with her hair piled up on top of her head -she still wore it long. Sometimes she would take me with her, but most of the time, I sat with my grandfather and watched the world go by. He was a very pleasant man. He died when I was seven year old and he was buried from that same Rollstone Congregational Church."
Somewhat later..1945...but it gives you a sense of the place at that time.


Reviewing these tapes has reminded me that it's time to digitize them and put them someplace more safe. That's the project for the summer, I think.
Now a challenge to the Tapply cousins: Oh, how I wish we had done this when Charlie and Bob and Prim and Bea and Bess were all still alive! But it's not too late. I challenge Jon and Mark and all the other Tapply cousins to pick an older relative and sit them down. We still have Janet, Bette, Chuck, Buzz and Launa, Warren, Norm and many others. What could they share?
One of the latest issues of Family Tree Magazine gives some tips for how to interview older relatives who may be shy, or tongue-tied, or who need some prompting:
1. Start with the oldest family members
2. Use old photos to trigger memories
3.  Go off topic - you never know what might pop up.
4. Get it on tape or video

They suggest starting with open ended questions and allow them to ramble.
Tell me about your childhood home.
How did your family celebrate holidays when you were a child?
What is your earliest memory?
For a list of suggested questions, you can read at the magazine site and Ancestry has the full list of tips and explains them further here.
Ok Tapply cousins, I've done my bit and I will share more from those tapes here later. Now it's your turn. Please, please send me an audio file or video to share. Think how priceless these will be.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Those Primary Sources

Here is my great grandmother, Ellen Benn Tapply with my grandmother Primrose Tapply on her lap. From the age of my grandmother  in this picture I would guess this was taken about 1900 in Newton, Massachusetts.

When documenting a birth in genealogy records, we are told to get as close to the primary source as possible. So here is what I found for my grandmother. First we have the family Bible:
This is generally a somewhat reliable source, but this depends on who did the recording. I notice that the first four entries are all in the same hand. The later ones are not. Plus in another spot in the Bible it says the Bible was "given to her by her mother". I don't know anyone who refers to themselves in the third person. So my guess is that Ellen made those first entries and the later ones were made by one of her daughters. At the bottom you can see the entry for my grandmother : October 24, 1898.

Next I found the register page for the city of Newton where my grandmother was born:

There at the very bottom, entry 679 was recorded in the register on January 16 of 1899. For a long time, I thought that was it. I'd found my primary source. Then Ancestry made a whole new set of Massachusetts birth records available. You see, what I'd completely forgotten was that my grandmother would have been a home birth. All of Ellen's children were. Attended by a doctor perhaps...or not. That was how it was done back then. And in that new set of records I found this:
Now I know by the date at the bottom that this is the source of the information for the register entry. I also see a physician's name on the right side and the place of birth is Eddy Street. So this was the official physician's record of the birth for the city. I don't know if he made notes and transcribed them later, or just filed a card based on information supplied by the parents when he made a home visit, but I would guess this is about as primary as a source could be.
Always keep looking. Never give up.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's All in the Genes


Tapplys about 1900
No download or reproduction without express permission
As I look at family photos, I'm often struck by little characteristics that are passed from generation to generation.  The Tapplys were in two camps. You can see the dark hair and deep-set eyes on the three
oldest sisters in the back: Annie, Daisy and Nell. Mabel, on the far left, Ethel (next to her) and my grandmother (the baby on Ellen's lap were more fair and had rounder features. But I was taken aback to see two somewhat distant cousins who were more than a bit alike.
Mark Tapply                                                      William G Tapply
A few years ago I began reading the mysteries of the late William G Tapply because I knew as a "double p" Tapply we were somehow related and frankly I was curious. I turned over one book in the series to find this picture.  For the curious cousins reading this, I made a simple tree from my further research.

This makes Mark and William G third cousins. When you compare the jacket photo to my cousin Mark I wouldn't say the resemblance is close, but you can definitely tell they are family.

Sometimes some very distinctive features skip a generation. My brother Mark is most certainly a Fitzgerald, but the resemblance between his son Patrick and his grandfather (both at 16 years) is quite remarkable.
Patrick Fitzgerald                                            John J Fitzgerald
No download or reproduction without express permission
The chin, the ears, the brow...the set of their eyes...Wow! 

I've been told I look a lot like my father as well and my mother and my grandmother Katie (dad's mom) and my two times great grandmother Cassandria. And I do look a bit like all of them. But then I looked more closely at a picture taken in 1927 of my great grandmother Ellen.
The photo is pretty grainy, but look at the chin and the jawline, the smile lines of the nose, the lips......and my mother always said my very thick blonde hair came from Ellen. Maybe I'm more Tapply than I thought.

Family photos are just one more way to reach into the past and make that gene-alogical connection.