Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Brantley Family: Preachers, Planters and Pioneers of the South

I was grateful last week to open the mailbox and find my copy of "The Brantley Family: Preachers, Planters and Pioneers of the South" by Ken Brantley.

As big as a phonebook and weighing in at what feels like about 25 pounds, it's the largest, most comprehensive ancestry book dedicated to one surname I've ever seen.

According to his introduction, Brantley began his research back in 1963 the old-fashioned way; he used copy machines, letters to strangers and conversations with distant relatives with whom he connected through his research.

In 1987, he established The Brantley Association of which I am proud member #647. 

It's a meaningful branch of my family tree to me because I was close to my maternal grandmother, Virginia Brantley Lovelace (Oct. 10, 1917 - Dec. 8, 2007) and we used "Brantley" as my oldest daughter's middle name.

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Henry Preston Brantley and Mary Etta Cobb
and family

As a member, I provided some details about my own Brantley line and even got my picture in the book along with Henry Day Brantley (April 1845 - Nov. 5, 1918), my third great-grandfather, and Henry Preston Brantley (Oct. 11, 1872 - May 15, 1956), my second great-grandfather.

Click to Enlarge

Henry Day Brantley and Margaret Rebecca Steele,
my third great-grandparents

Most of the Brantley families in the United States today come from the sons of Edward Brantley who, according to the book, died in 1736 in Southampton County, Virginia. 

The first of my Brantley line to live in Haywood County was Augustus Brantley (1811 - Sept. 14, 1876) who was born in Bertie County, North Carolina and migrated along with many of my other ancestors to Haywood County, Tennessee in the early 1830s.

A little side note: Augustus' son, Solomon Normon Brantley (1848 - Feb. 12, 1927), filled out one of the Tennessee Civil War Veteran's Questionnaires. While his answers reveal only a little about life on his father's Haywood County farm and the culture of the area around the time of the Civil War, it's more than I have on many of my other ancestors so I'm glad to have it.

I've already spent hours looking through this new Brantley book. In addition to more than 25,000 names and genealogical details, the book also includes maps, migration patterns, charts and lots of photos. If you're researching the Brantley family line, I highly recommend you get a copy of your own to add to your library.

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, go to my Haywood County Line Genealogy Website.

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