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Sunday, July 29, 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

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