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Thank you for visiting my blog!

This blog is used to share information that I find about the families that I am researching. To see these family names click on the tab above. Please feel free to contribute your stories or research and make comments, corrections, and ask questions.

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Reading this Blog

My posts can be accessed by the date posted from the column on the right. Blog posts containing specific surnames can be found by clicking on the names in the left column.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday's News: Whit Bryan 1941

From the Borger Herald - Whit Criswell Bryan, my father. Although the exact date of the clipping is unknown, it is probably in the fall of 1941. Dad was transferred to the Mobile Naval Hospital at Pearl Harbor on December 1, 1941. 


© 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday's Obituary: Monte DeRay Bryan

Monte DeRay "DeeDee" Bryan was my father's sister. She was born in Erath County, Texas, but raised in Seymour, where she graduated in 1920 from Seymour High School. DeRay taught school in Borger, Texas at the time of her father's death in 1929 and at age 25 years old became  the primary wage-earner for the family. She supported her older sister, Marie, and took on parenting responsibilities for my father, age 8 and her younger sister, Willa Mae, age 15. 

Monte DeRay Bryan . . . pioneer Borgan

Monte DeRay Bryan, 83, of Magic Star Nursing Home in Borger, died at 3 a.m. Sunday in the home. 

A retired medical secretary for Dr. Hamra, she was a native of Stephenville, Texas, and a Borger resident since 1926.

She was a member of the First Baptist Church, Duplicate Bridge Club, and one of the first school teachers in Borger.

She is survived by one sister, Willa Mae Dudley of Borger; one brother Whit Bryan of Virginia Beach, Va.; one niece, Jacquelyn Skinner of Denver, Colo.

Services are pending with Minton/Chatwell Funeral Directors.
                                                          Borger News Herald, August 17, 1987

Graveside services for Monte DeRay Bryan, 83, of Magic Plains Nursing Home in Borger, will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday with Rector William Houghton, pastor of St. Peter's Episcopal Church officiating.

Burial will be under the direction of Minton/Chatwell Funeral Directors.

Survivors include one sister, one brother, one niece.
                                               Borger News Herald, August 18, 1987

From the card at DeRay's funeral 


© 2012

How Tall Were Your Ancestors?

This tall young man is labeled unknown in my picture files;
however, I wouldn't be surprised if he was a Hammett. 

How tall was
Redic Bryan?
I've just returned from a research trip with my distant cousin, Sharon.  We were discussing the height of some of our family members. My father was 6'2" and, his first cousin (Sharon's grandfather), Monte Hammett, was 6'4" 

My uncle, Hairston Albritton "Buster" Bryan, was described as tall in his high school year book. My father told me that his father was very tall and from this picture, taken in the Baylor County Courthouse, it appears to be true.

So, how tall were other family members? What did they look like? We don't have photographs of many of our ancestors, but can find information about height, weight, eye color, hair color, and even skin tone at a variety of free and paid resources. Below are some of my family finds and a few of the resources that you can use to find more about your family members.

U.S. WWI Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918 are free to browse at or search by name if you have a subscription to  Some cards contain the actual height while others give the classification of short, medium, or tall. These cards may also tell weight, skin tone, and hair and eye color. 

  • Howell Albritton Hammett - 6'2"
  • Prentis Day Hammett - Tall
  • Thomas Milton Wylie - Medium
  • Grover Cleveland Wylie - Medium
  • Terrell Bryan Biggs - Medium
  • Joseph Oscar Noah - Medium
  • Mitchell Alonzo Giddens - 5'8"
  • Claud Clarence Thompson - Tall
  • Edgar R. Thompson - Tall
  • Aaron Whitmel Thompson -Tall

U.S. Passport Applications can be found at

  • John Joseph Quinn - 5'8"

U.S. WWII Draft Registration Cards, 1942 can be found at both and

  • William Joseph Quinn - 5'8"
  • Monroe Carson Giddens - 6'0''
  • Charles Staubach - 5'5"

At, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. allows you to search New York passenger records at no charge. The subscription site,, also has passenger records from New York and other ports.

  • Celia Agnes Quinn Houlihan - 5'1"
  • Kate Murray McGing  - 5'5"
  • Ellen Murray (Sister Mary Columbkill) - 5'7"
  • Susan Murray Quinn - 5'7"

Don't forget to look at other records that you may have. Health, school, pension, military, and other personal records may give a descriptions of your ancestors. 


© 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday's Photo: Making Comparisons - Dollie Wylie

I have a lot of old pictures that need names. Every few years, I pull out the pictures to look for more clues.  I have had this picture of a woman in black since the late 1990s.  My father thought that it might have been one of his teachers or a teacher friend of his sister, DeRay. So far, no one had claimed her. 

About 1912. When and Where?

So. . . . . in June, I was going to the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree. One thing on my to do list was to see Maureen Taylor, a photo expert.  For a fee, she will look at your pictures and help to date and compare by looking at styles of hair and clothing, the type of photograph and so much more. I decided that this is one of the pictures that I would take. When I scanned and enlarged the photo, I realized that her mouth was one that I had seen before - a Bryan family trait. I went through all of the Bryan family pictures looking for that trait and I found several others - some too sad to put out for the whole world to see. 

Just a few pictures of Bryan family members with the turned down mouth -  Bottom Row: Redic E. Bryan (my grandfather), the next two are Harriet Albritton Bryan (my grandfather's mother), and the final picture in this row is Terrell Little Bryan Biggs (my grandfather's sister). The top picture on the left is Dorothy "Dollie" Elizabeth Harriett Bryan Wylie (also my grandfather's sister).  

I think that my unknown picture is Dollie Wylie. Maureen Taylor agreed.  What do you think?


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday's News: Bethel

My grandmother, Myrtie Hairston moved to Erath County at the age of three in 1883. Her family settled in the community of Bethel, nine miles north of Stephenville, Texas, where her father purchased 160 acres from Robert W. Thompson.   The school at Bethel was on her family farm and she attended Baptist church services in that community. 

Bethel is no longer in existence. It appears to be farmland. There’s a winding dirt road that goes up a large hill to the Bethel Cemetery.  On the way to the cemetery is the former home of Mattie Hairston Chisum Thompson; overgrown with vines and weeds, it’s now home to birds and other wildlife.  The cemetery contains graves of some family and extended family.

The following article, about the Bethel Community in 1898, was found in the Stephenville Tribune.

Bethel Locals

Eds. Tribune. – A peoples party club was organized at this place last Saturday night with eleven members. P. G. Stephens was elected president and John Olive secretary. We meet again next Saturday night.

Old Bethel is coming out of the kinks. We have a fine school under the management of Prof. Dean Bruington, a fine literary society meets every Friday night, a pop club, a good Sunday school, singing and prayer meeting every Sunday night.

We have preaching by Rev. G. W. Childress first Sunday, Rev. Hudson second Sunday, Rev. J. J. Davis third Sunday, and Rev. Will Green fourth Sunday.

P. A. Hairston is on the sick list this week.

Charley Judon made a business trip to Thurber Friday, returning Sunday.

W. D. Mourey, who for some time past has been in Eastland county, returned Friday.

John Thompson has had an attack of rheumatism for some time.

M. W. Birdwell, our candidate for assessor, is still in the ring. We would like to see Bud nominated and elected.   X.Z.
                                                       From the Stephenville Tribune  - April 1, 1898

Note: P.A. Hairston was my great-grandfather. John Thompson was the husband of his sister, Mattie Hairston Chisum Thompson. Robert W. Thompson, who sold land to P.A. Hairston, was the brother of John Thompson. 


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday's Obituary: Celia Agnes Quinn Houlihan

Signature found on the Index to Petitions for Naturalizations filed in NYC in 1928

Cecelia Houlihan

Funeral services for Cecelia Houlihan, 85, 2307 W. Jefferson St., were conducted Tuesday by the Rev. Leroy Kinnamon.  Interment will be in New York Veterans National Cemetery at Pinelawn, N.Y.  Murray Funeral Home, Kokomo Chapel was in charge of local arrangements. 

Mrs. Houlihan died at 11:36 a.m. Monday, Feb. 6, 1984, in St. Joseph Memorial Hospital. She was born in County Galway, Ireland, April 23, 1898, a daughter of Bridgett (Branley) Quinn.

In 1935 she married Richard Houlihan who died Oct. 9, 1962.  She had worked for New York Central Railroad as a clerical person.

Surviving is a sister, Margaret Dawson of New York City.  Three brothers and two sisters preceded her in death. 
                   KoKomo Tribune, Wednesday, February 8, 1984

There are many inaccuracies in this obituary including the spelling of her name. Celia did not have children and died after most close family members which accounts for the errors. In all previously found documents her name is spelled Celia, not Cecelia. Church records indicate that Celia Quinn was born on April 13, 1898; the daughter of William Quinn and Bridget Brannelly. She came to the United States in 1920 and married Richard J. Houlihan on September 3, 1927.  According to cemetery records, Celia died on February 7, 1984. Her obituary states that she died on February 6. She is buried in Long Island National Cemetery which is adjacent to the Pinelawn Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York.  

More about Celia Quinn Houlihan can be found on my web pages

Bride, Celia Quinn with groom, Richard Houlihan.  Also pictured are
Susan Murray Quinn, sister-in-law of the bride and Harold Edward Dawson, brother-in-law of the bride. Celia appears to be wearing the same dress that Susan Murray Quinn wore in 1926.


© 2012, copyright 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday's Photo: Native American - Fact or Fiction

Permelia Hairston Noah 1843-1938  
Family lore says that her mother was Cherokee.

Elizabeth Shown Mills wrote, "Most Southern families have their tales of Princess We-no-not-who. Typically, she was Cherokee. Sometimes Choctaw or Creek. Rarely Chickasaw or Seminole. Traditionally, the tale was a whispered one, something to regale the children but not for public knowledge—at least not until the 1970s when a shift in social ideals made minority ancestry both chic and profitable."

Yes, ours was a Cherokee, but not a princess.  According to my father, "one great-grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee." I was a young teen when Dad told this story and was not impressed.  He always had stories and I never knew what to believe.  I didn't know his family.  His parents died when he was very young and his only siblings lived in faraway Texas. 

When I began researching, all great-grandmothers were accounted for except one; the wife of John L. Hairston. Her name has been said to be Eliza, but even that is debatable. I found distant cousins; Noahs, Thompsons, Greshams, and Chisums.  All had heard family lore about Native American heritage. One Thompson cousin said that her father treated it as a family secret. In an old Bryan family letter, my grandmother was referred to as "an Indian woman named Hirston."

I am waiting for my DNA test from  I am hoping that gives a little more insight to my heritage. As for proving that I am a descendant of a Native American great-grandmother, I will have to find her first.


Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 7: Family Lore and Indian Princesses,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage ( : [July 3, 2012]).

Permelia Hairston Noah - From Raymond Noah, August 2012 - Photocopy of original photograph. The location of the original photograph, taken before 1880, is currently unknown.


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday's News: Dynamite

On July 2, 1909, Charles Giddens and Ellsworth Davis, both 16 years of age, loaded a cannon with dynamite and when ramming the charge with an iron bar, it exploded, injuring both boys. I don't know if the boys realized it, but it made national news and a few of the many articles* that I found are included in this blog.

The boys were injured, but not as seriously as sensationalized in the newspapers. Charles, my great-uncle, was lucky, he only lost part of a finger. He went on to serve in the Army during WWI and in the Navy during WWII.  Look carefully at the picture on the left. Part of Charles' right pointer finger is missing.

Research at and Find-a-Grave, indicated that Ellsworth Wood Davis lived until 1941.  He married, had one child, and worked as a draftsman for at least two companies in or near Warren County, New Jersey.  Ellsworth's draft registration card indicated that he had a mangled hand and an enlarged ankle.

*I used my subscription for to obtain these and other articles about this event.


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday's Obituary: John R. Hammett

John R. Hammett

I found photocopies of these obituaries for John R. Hammett, last month, when looking at genealogy files left to the Denver Public Library by my first cousin Jackie.

John R. Hammett was the son of Dorothy "Dollie" Bryan Hammett and Robert E. Hammett.  Dorothy was the daughter of Reddick and Elizabeth Regan Bryan.   John married Alice "Allie" Amanda Bryan, daughter Terrell and Harriet Albritton Bryan. Allie, my grandfather's sister, was John R. Hammett's first cousin. 

Former Post Man Dies in Portales, N. M.

News has been received here of the passing   of J. R. Hammett in New Mexico on November 2, at 2:30 o’clock.

Mr. Hammett was a former citizen of this county, having lived here for 15 years before moving to New Mexico. Funeral services were conducted by Rev. Joe F. Grizzle former pastor of the Baptist church here, but now pastor in Portales.

Mr. Hammett is survived by his wife and nine children, three children having preceded him in death.  The children are Mrs. H. N. Andresees of Electra; Mrs. J. R. Mayo fo Southland; Mrs. L. E. Simons, Santa Fe; N. M.;  Mrs. J. D. King, Post; R. S. Hammett, Seamore; P. D. Hammett, Austin; H. A. Hammett, Portales;  Cecil Hammett, Amarillo and Monte Hammett of this city.  All of the children except R. T. Hammett were with their father at the time of his death.
Mr. Hammett had been in ill health for about 4 years but was seriously ill for only five days. 

Internment was made in the Portales Cemetery.

 Hammett Funeral Services Saturday

Funeral services for John R. Hammett, who died early this morning, will be held tomorrow afternoon at the First Methodist Church with Rev. Joe F. Grizzle and the Rev. C. Frank York officiating. Mr. Hammett had been ill for the past four years. He came to Portales in May, 1935, from Post, Tex., where he had lived for 13 years.

Mr. Hammett was born in Compti {Campti}. La., in 1967 {1867}. He was married to Miss Allie A. Bryan in 1885. To this union nine children were born.
Those present at the time of death were Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Hammett, Mr. and Mrs. T. E. Simons and two children, Geneva Hudnall of Santa Fe, Mr. and Mrs. P. D. Hammett of Austin, Texas; Mr. and Mrs. Monts {Monte} Hammett of Post, Texas;  Mrs. Lucy King and baby of Post; Mrs. John Mayo and son of Southland, Texas; Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Hammett of Amarillo; Mr. and Mrs. Foster Mayo of Southland, all relatives of Mr. Hammett.  Price Crume and daughter, Verdine, of Kenna, and Carl Reins of Post, Texas, long-time friends, were also present. 

Pallbearers will be W. B. Smith, Ben Bryant, Charile Masters, Price Crume, Murray South, and John South. 


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn