James Berry Walker Photograph

In my years of WALKER family research, this is, undoubtedly, the most significant photographic find I have made. The photo was in a cache of paper ephemera I discovered in the residence of my late cousin, Dorothy Loosier Sabo. The photos were originally in the possession of Dorothy’s mother, my grand aunt Evie Walker Loosier. This photo was worn and had numerous scratches mostly over J.B. and for this reason I sent it off for a professional restoration. To enable other researchers to use J.B.’s face for possible comparison to other photos, I have cropped and made a second photo from the first.

James Berry Walker (seated) with his youngest son, L.D., and his wife, Sarah Ann Parker Stills Walker, circa 1890. (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

James Berry Walker (seated) with his youngest son, L.D., and his wife, Sarah Ann Parker Stills Walker, circa 1890. (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Just James Berry Walker's face cropped from the larger family photo. (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Just James Berry Walker’s face cropped from the larger family photo. (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Photos Lot #1

Before using any photograph from this website, please read the letter posted on May 1, 2016, entitled RELEASE OF PHOTOGRAPHS.

Isom Stockard and Nancy Hiler.   (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Isom Stockard and Nancy Hiler. (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Fate and Mattie Seals.  (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Fate and Mattie Seals. (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Christopher C Walker Jr.  (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Christopher C Walker Jr. (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Claire P. Walker.   (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Claire P. Walker. (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

C.C. (Lum) Walker and son, Nathan.   (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

C.C. (Lum) Walker and son, Nathan. (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Release Of Photographs

Dear Cousins,

As some of you may be aware, I have taken a break from genealogy research for most of the past two years due a number of deaths within my immediate family and also demands of my business. Several weeks ago something happened to end my genealogy break …. I unexpectedly came into possession of a cache of family photos which appear to have been originally in the safekeeping of my grand aunt Evie Walker (Loosier) who was the daughter of John Alexander Walker and the grand-daughter of James Berry Walker and his second wife, Sarah Parker (Stills) (Walker). In addition to photos of James Berry and Sarah, the collection includes photos of individuals from these families: Walker, Loosier, Curl, Lassiter, Hightower, Hiler, Smithen, Stockard, Sabo, Seals, and others. Also, there are many photos of unidentified persons.

I plan to share ALL of the photos online … they will be posted on my Ancestry.com tree (where I am username 1jtay) and also my personal genealogy website located at www.genwebsite.com which is a free access site. For way too long many old photos have been withheld from other family members and fellow researchers for various reasons that may have begun with good intentions but still resulted in the photos being kept “hidden”. I hope my gesture of total release of these photos will encourage others to share theirs. Only two stipulations will apply to these photographs …. (#1) You may not rename or relabel any photo … in other words, in your mind & heart you may not believe that that’s a photo of L.D. Walker but you may not change, rename, relabel or otherwise alter that photo in any way … my grand aunt Evie knew her family members names and she wrote them on the photos during her lifetime, 1904-1975. (#2) You should properly cite the source of the photo when and if you reprint it elsewhere. The citation should read, “Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016”.

With all my best wishes,

Johnny Taylor

(Standing L.) Myrtle, James Dewey, Evie. (Seated L.) John Alexander Walker, Mattie, Laura J. Hiler Walker, Clarence. c. 1915-15 (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

(Standing L.) Myrtle, James Dewey, Evie. (Seated L.) John Alexander Walker, Mattie, Laura J. Hiler Walker, Clarence. c. 1915-15 (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Perpetuating Misinformation

At least when it applies to information, especially genealogy information, undoubtedly the Internet is the easiest and most convenient resource to perpetuate misinformation.

Last week I came across the FindAGrave.com memorial page for one of my Taylor cousins buried in Arkansas. I had been wanting to verify this cousin’s middle name and I was elated to find his full name listed on the memorial page as well as information about his parentage and his Civil War service. Then, I realized that he was listed as having served in a Confederate regiment from Georgia … this struck me as odd since this man was born and died in Arkansas and likely never left the state. Well, I threw down the gauntlet and began an investigation.

First, I contacted the FindAGrave.com contributor who had created the memorial page and verified that he had indeed eyeballed the headstone and personally took the photograph. He informed me that the stone was very difficult to read but he could make out the inscription … then he added that, “Some of the other information was found using Ancestry.com.”

I went online and beginning with Rootsweb (i.e. Ancestry.com) I followed link after link finally finding a 2007 survey of the cemetery on a page of USGenWeb archives. I contacted the county coordinator only to discover that the contributor of the 2007 survey was deceased. I explained my suspicions about the information to the county coordinator and she immediately joined the investigation to find the truth … (editor’s note – this is a phenomenon that you rarely find anymore … someone with integrity willing to cooperate in finding the truth and correcting an error !). While she was researching elsewhere, I went to Fold3.com and checked Arkansas Taylor’s who fought for the Confederacy and found that there were two in that Arkansas county with the same initials … one from GA who fought with a GA regt, and, one from AR who fought with an AR regt.

To try and shorten the story of the investigation … here are the results: (1) in the 1970’s a volunteer made a survey of the cemetery in question .. instead of simply recording the known facts (although she did include the vital fact that only the initials for the deceased’s first & middle names were engraved on the headstone), she added a comment that the person buried in that grave was listed as dwelling #000 in the county’s 1850 Federal Census…THIS WAS TOTALLY INCORRECT INFORMATION since that dwelling was occupied by the other Taylor! (2) many years later in 2007 another volunteer compiles an updated survey of the cemetery. She (no doubt with all good intentions) sees the earlier comment and expounds in it with additional information and this time part of the information belongs to one of the Taylor’s and part of it belongs to the other. (3) in late 2009 a FindAGrave.com contributor walks the cemetery in question, takes photos and enters his findings on FindAGrave.com. Unfortunately, he decides to include additional information available on the Internet and includes the misinformation found in items (1) and/or (2) described above.

Conclusion… As a result of items (1), (2), and (3) described above, we have a grave in an Arkansas cemetery clearly identified at least in three different locations on the Internet (which probably equates to dozens if not hundreds of locations) and the information is (partially) incorrect on all three and in two of the listings even the name of the deceased is wrong because it belongs to another individual! Item (3) was easy to correct … the FindAGrave.com contributor cooperated fully and changed all the misinformation on the memorial page he had created. Item (1) cannot be corrected or changed because it was done in printed form back in the 1970’s and no one knows what libraries it was sent to, and worst, what genealogical publications might have reprinted it. Item (2) has so far not been corrected and may not be. Although the county coordinator is very willing to correct the document, she is unable to locate the Internet repository where the document/folder is located in order to make the changes. At least her efforts are continuing.

The LESSON TO BE LEARNED … Anytime you compile, compose, write, or otherwise generate a document or something that others might view as a secondary or (God forbid) a primary genealogy source, ALWAYS stick to the known facts ONLY. If you can’t help yourself and you just must add additional information then label it as such … for example, write, “Editor’s note .. or, Compiler’s note .. or, Contributor’s comment .. or, Personal observation” .. or, whatever it takes to differentiate the facts from the non-facts!!!!


I know I like to rant about sources! It (or they) or one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to genealogy research. I recently came across an old set of notes I’d recorded including the following definition of primary and secondary sources and I thought it was appropriate to reprint it here. The source of this article was a UK-based website, http://www.explorers.mlfhs.org.uk/genealogy_george_explains.htm

What is the difference between a primary source document and a secondary source document?

In family history research we use two types of source material. They are considered either primary or secondary sources of information. A primary source document or record would be one that was created around the time of the event. This is always the best and most accurate record to find. For example:
• birth certificate
• marriage certificate
• death certificate
• census enumeration
• military record(s)
• will
• gravestone (editor’s note – some define this as a Secondary Source)
• ships passenger list
(And some additions by JT)
• Deeds and other land ownership records
• Eyewitness newspaper accounts
• Family Bibles (if recorded by someone witnessing the event shortly after it occurred)
• Letters describing the events as they are taking place by a person involved
• Passenger list
• Photographs

A primary source document would have been created by someone with direct knowledge of the event and recorded at the time it happened. These records are considered very accurate and are the best source to find in order to make sure that your information is correct.

Secondary source records are those that were not created at the time of the event. These could be something like:
• books
• old letters (editor’s note – If the letter was written after the fact by someone not present or otherwise directly involved)
• indexes
• any second hand account of an event

Because things like books and letters tend to be the recollection of an event the information may not be entirely correct. Primary and secondary sources of material can be found in many types of places such as online, in libraries, archives or family history societies.


I think that, as it pertains to genealogy, DNA will eventually be the big mystery solver. Technically it is still in its infancy but it is already opening doors that researchers thought were nailed shut and would always stay that way …. wrong!

However, here’s the issue I have with the Ancestry.com DNA Project (and I’m sure the same issue would exist with anyone’s program) ….. I get a notification from Ancestry.com that my DNA shows a match with member charly123456 and the relationship is 5th-8th Cousins and the match results is rated “Confidence: High”. Well, I pull up the report and it says that our common ancestor is Joseph Bryan (1752-1844). At face value this is fantastic news because it establishes the connection I’ve been seeking between the Bryan family and the Daniel Boone family. Unfortunately however, when you pull up Charly’s tree you mentally hear alarm whistles & bells going off for at least two reasons … first, beginning with his great grandparents ALL of Charly’s sources are “Ancestry Family Trees” that were compiled by other researchers (and you & I know that this source should only be used as a hint or a guide – not a real source!) …. and second, the listing of “other shared surnames” includes PARKER (and five other surnames) which is my paternal grandmother’s line, so who is to say the the true DNA relationship isn’t between me, Charly, and some PARKER relative that he’s yet to identify. If Charly’s sources all the way up to Joseph Bryan had been valid primary sources or even acceptable valid secondary sources I would feel comfortable in claiming a DNA relationship with Joseph Bryan but I just can’t do it based on his flimsy trees sources.

In essence it boils down to this … just because a person is identified by DNA testing results as being your cousin DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU HAVE A VALID DNA KINSHIP TO INDIVIDUALS IN YOUR NEW COUSIN’S BLOODLINE … not by a longshot!

Here are some suggestions to avoid making false claims on alleged DNA validated kinships ….

1. Get a copy or obtain online access to your new cousin’s family tree

2. Closely examine this tree as follows:

a. Eliminate any other possible relationships you might have to individuals in this tree by identifying similar surnames to those in your tree … study any similarities carefully and if the names, dates, and/or geographical locations are identical or very close then continue focusing on those individuals until you can rule them out as a relative or include them (which might mean the original common ancestor identified in the DNA report was incorrect or there were multiple common ancestors.

b. Did your new cousin use sources in his tree … how valid are the sources. Regardless of how tempting it might be YOU CANNOT ACCEPT SOMEONE ELSE’S ANCESTRY FAMILY TREE AS A VALID SOURCE! The one exception to this rule would be if you can study the Ancestry Family Tree that was used as your cousin’s source and that tree proves to have been properly sourced. Quasi sources such as Ancestry Family Trees, One World Tree, stand-alone Message Board Postings, and many more, can only be used as hints or guides … THEY ARE NOT AN ACCEPTABLE PRIMARY SOURCE!

c. This is the big one! COMMUNICATE with your new cousin (preferably via email so you can study whatever information is exchanged). Discreetly and POLITELY ask him/her to explain why they listed their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th great grandfathers using no sources. Who knows … they may have an old Family Bible that lists all those generations and they just didn’t know how to identify that bible as a primary source because the Ancestry.com software didn’t just “plug it in” for them on their tree. If they just don’t have a valid source then back up with them to the last generation that can properly source and then try to work forward together … this will take some degree of finesse, discretion, and politeness, so you have to be very careful not to “turn off” your new cousin.

I don’t want to leave you after being so critical (but honest) without repeating something good about Ancestry.com DNA …… it truly does identify blood cousins for you. BUT, then it is your responsibility to interact and communicate with that cousin and make sure you are comfortable with each other’s sources up through the generations until you arrive at and validate your common ancestor. I have been able to do this successfully with my TAYLOR, WALKER, PARKER, & RISENHOOVER lines and I have about four other lines that the sources look very good so I am about to validate them as being DNA proven lines.

My Missing Taylors

After many hundreds of hours of research and with the help of many fellow researchers, I’ve documented my TAYLOR line back to the Immigrant Ancestor and also documented genealogical data on thousands of people from associated lines.  However, it has always been a great source of frustration for me that I’ve never been able to properly document my great-greatgrandmother Taylor and five of her six children.

In the hopes that someone will read this and help provide me with some of the missing information, I am listing the basic information that I do know about my missing TAYLORs.

Mary E. (THROGMORTON) TAYLOR  [my great-greatgrandmother]

b. abt. 1842 IL  and  d. aft. 1880

Mary and her children appear twice in the 1880 census of Lawrence Co., AR.  Due to     the census taker’s error, she and half the family appear on one page and then she and     the other half of her family appear several pages over.  After this there is no known information about Mary.

When and where did Mary die and where is she buried?

1st spouse:  Drury Matthew TAYLOR 1838-1870  [he is well documented]

Son:  Leander J. TAYLOR  b. 1860 MO  [he is basically documented until his death     which must have occurred prior to June 1887 because his spouse, Patsy Bunch,     remarried then in Lawrence Co., AR.  She and Leander had married 1884 in Lawrence     Co., AR and they had one child, Bettie, b. 1885 (no info known about Bettie)]

When and where did Leander die and where is he buried?

Son:  Jefferson Davis TAYLOR  b. 1863 IL  d. 1899 MO  [he is basically documented except not much is know about his first wife,  Sarah Sallie Bunch, whom he married in Jefferson Co., AR in Jul 1884.  She must have died prior to Dec 1889 because he remarried and had a family with his second wife.]

When and where did his first wife die and where is he buried? Did they have any children?

Dau:  Elizabeth A. TAYLOR  b. 1865 IL  [absolutely no documentation found on this     child other than the 1870 Jefferson Co., IL census and the  flawed 1880 Lawrence Co.,   AR census.]

What happened to Elizabeth after 1880? Spouse, children? When and where did she die and where is she buried?

Son:  John Riley TAYLOR  b. 1869 IL  [he and his family are the big mystery and I     find this especially frustrating because he is the twin brother of my great-greatgrandfather, William Wiley TAYLOR!]

John Riley married Francis Freer Jul 1893 in Lawrence Co., AR … after that, there is     no documentation on either John Riley or Francis.

I have been informed by Lawrence Co., AR sources that Willie Lee (Pete) TAYLOR  is the son of John Riley TAYLOR.  Willie Lee was born 11 Jan 1893 in Lawrence     Co., AR.  Since this birth was seven months prior to John Riley’s marriage to Francis,  it brings into question as to whether Francis was Willie Lee’s mother or perhaps John Riley had had a previous spouse?  I do know a little about Willie Lee and his family;  he had  two sisters, Frances (b. 1894) and Clara F. (b. 1898).  Thanks to a very detailed account in a recent history book about Lawrence Co., AR, I have a great deal of information about Willie Lee TAYLOR’s spouse and children BUT NOTHING  ABOUT HIS PARENTS!

What happened to John Riley TAYLOR and Francis Freer Taylor after their 1893 marriage?  When and where did they die and where are they buried?  Who were their children?  Did John Riley have any other spouses?

Son:  William Wiley TAYLOR  b. 1869 IL  d. 1939 TX  [this is my greatgrandfather and he is very well documented other than the fact that I can’t find him in the 1920 census even though he never left Red River Co., TX from 1910 till his death in 1939.]

2nd  spouse (of Mary E. (THROGMORTON) TAYLOR  [my great-greatgrandmother]  Greenberry TAYLOR (Drury’s nephew)  b. 1847 MO  d. bet 1872-80 Lawrence Co., AR?  A handwritten marriage document indicates that Mary married Greenberry in Lawrence Co., AR 17 Jul 1872.  Since Robert L. Taylor b. 1873 shows up on the 1880 census then I am assuming this is Mary’s son with Greenberry.  However, Greenberry completely disappears after the marriage document and I have no other documentation about him.

What happened to Greenberry TAYLOR after his 1872 marriage?  When and where did he die and where is he buried? 

Son:  Robert L. (Littleman?) TAYLOR  b. 1873 AR  [absolutely no documentation has been found about him other than the flawed 1880 Lawrence Co., AR census and a brief mention in some family correspondence of a half-brother of William Wiley named LIT  (maybe short for Littleman)

What happened to Robert L. TAYLOR after his appearance in the 1880 census? Spouse, children? When and where did he die and where is he buried? 

My grandfather had already died when I started my genealogical research and my great-grandfather was long dead.  According to my grandmother and at least one grandaunt here is the family legend ….

Mary Throgmorton TAYLOR, her mother and her children all moved to Lawrence Co., AR after the Civil War.  There, she married her late husband’s nephew and had a son by him.  Then, the entire family, except my great-grandfather William Wiley Taylor, died of an epidemic.  William Wiley lived with and worked for a Dr. Richardson in a place called Oil Trough which was either in AR or MO.

Well, the problem with this legend is that ALL of William Wiley’s brothers obviously lived to adulthood because we find documents proving marriages and children for them.

Actually (research-wise) it would have been easier to explain all the missing answers IF the family had all (but one) died off from a horrible epidemic.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) that wasn’t the case so I need a lot of help and I hope someone reading this will throw me a few bits of useful information ………….

I first published this article online on numerous message boards many years ago.  The few responses provided almost nothing of any significance.  I’ve decided now in early 2015 to take “a shot in the dark” and place the article online again……   jt


The Black Sheep?

Many people would say that my GGGrandfather, James Berry Walker (JBW), is/was the Black Sheep of the family.  He has been labeled a scoundrel, a coward, a deserter and a bigamist.  Based on years of research by myself (I stem from the Ohio/TX side of the family) and a fellow Walker cousin (from the Georgia side of the family), I believe that the first two labels couldn’t be further from the truth but the latter two are technically correct!

Rather than launch into a lengthy narrative (which will be forthcoming), let me simply say that I believe JBW found himself having become a pawn in a terrible war that was separate from the North-South Civil War, and as a result, he was forced into having to make an unimaginably dreadful decision.  It was a life/death decision that would alienate him forever from his Georgia family and result in a new family in Texas.  It was a decision that only a man with strong stamina and conviction could possible make regardless of the fact that he must have known the burden he would carry for the remainder of his life!

(Note – The lengthy narrative mentioned above will be posted in 2015 or 2016 and the Walker Family Tree, which has been kept private thus far, will also be made public several places online.  In the meantime I would strongly encourage those hungry to know more about JBW’s Civil War dilemma to read A Separate Civil War: Communities in Conflict in the Mountain South written by Dr. Jonathan Dean Sarris in 2006 … the book is available in a Kindle edition by Amazon.com.)

OneWorldTree – Not A Source!

Every so often I write a rant about using valid sources.  Since it is the beginning of a new year I thought it would be a good time for another rant!


OneWorldTree, owned by Ancestry.com, is simply a huge storehouse of various types of  data … some comes from actual primary sources but most (in my opinion) does not.  Instead, it comes from user-submitted trees and there was no attempt to verify this data before it was published.  This means that you might be copying MISINFORMATION that was submitted by: (a) a child who is writing their family tree based on hearsay and family myth, or (b) a well-meaning family member who is attempting to correct or cover embarrassing information, or (c) someone who is determined to prove that they are related to someone else even if it means fabricating data, or (d) someone like me who publishes information thought to be properly sourced which later proves to be wrong but it is too late to remove it from OneWorldTree …. and the list goes on and on ….

Even Ancestry.com has this to say about their OneWorldTree, “OneWorldTree can give you hints about your family history but not necessarily facts. There are a number of sources consolidated in OneWorldTree and it’s impossible to know if there were errors in member-submitted family trees.”

Please don’t misunderstand the intent of this rant.  OneWorldTree is okay to use as long as you recognize that IT CAN ONLY PROVIDE YOU WITH HINTS BUT NOT NECESSARILY FACTS!!!


The Children of Samuel & Margaret Parker

Margaret S Power and Samuel Parker were married 28 Jun 1872 in Clark Co. Arkansas (which borders Pike Co.).

In the 1900 census for Pike Co. Arkansas, the listing for Margaret S [Power] Parker indicates that she had 4 children and 2 are living.

In the 1880 census for Pike Co. Arkansas, two children are listed with their parents, Samuel & Margaret Parker: Larken C. Parker, age 6, and Della Parker, age 1 mo.

The existence of the son Larkin Calvin Parker is well sourced and proven. He is known to have died 18 Jul 1910 in Salem, Pike, Ark.

Several other Ancestry.com online trees list the family as having a son named Rayford Parker b. 20 Mar 1872 in Pike, Ark .. d. 18 Jul 1910 in Salem, Pike, Ark. Other trees list a Thomas Parker with the exact same b. & d. data. Unfortunately none of these trees offer any proof or valid sources about Rayford or Thomas Parker. Those which do list sources only cite other (unsourced) family trees or The One World Tree which is, by no means, a factual source.

If anyone has valid information about the other two children of Samuel & Margaret Parker, I’d very much like to hear from you….