Reunion Agenda

I wanted to provide some additional detail about the reunion to help you plan your trip.

The reunion starts the morning of Thursday June 14th, but for those arriving on Wednesday the 13th, I have included a get together for that evening.

Wednesday June 13th:

5PM-6:30PM gather for drinks at Brumley’s in the Hotel Lobby
6:30-8:30PM  Dinner (TBD)

Thursday June 14th:

8:30-9:30 AM Breakfast at Tipton’s Café 127 W. Depot St, Greeneville, TN 37743 (out the side door of the hotel and to the right)
9:30AM-Noon Visit Babb’s Mill Cemetery, Babb’s Mill & Babb Farm Cemetery. The latter will involve a little bit of cleaning of some stones being overtaken by Mold.
12:30-2pm Lunch back in Greeneville (TBD)

Friday June 15th

8:30-9:30 AM Breakfast (TBD)
9:30AM-Noon Setup of Babb Homestead
Noon-1:30 Lunch
1:30-5PM Tour on your own (Andrew Johnson’s Tailor Shop, Homestead, etc.
5PM-6:30PM gather for drinks at Brumley’s in the Hotel Lobby
6:30-8:30PM  Dinner at Brumley’s (Confirmation Required)


Saturday June 16th

8:30-9:30 AM Breakfast (TBD)
10AM-2PM Welcome the Public into Homestead and conduct tours.
2PM-5PM Tour on your own
5PM-6:30PM gather for drinks at Brumley’s in the Hotel Lobby
6:30-8:30PM  Farewell Dinner at Brumley’s (Confirmation Required)

We will adjust the schedule as necessary to have as much  fun as possible!

For more information on the Reunion, see my earlier post on the subject:





Reconnecting Laurence Eugene Babb

Reconnecting Laurence Eugene Babb proved to be a challenge for one of our members who recently contacted me. They had searched in vain trying to locate him using info handed down from his wife Josephine, but the names she had given didn’t seem to match up to anyone. Laurence had vanished without a trace in the 1950s from Boston, Massachusetts never to be heard from again. The reasons for his disappearance are unknown to this day and because so much time had passed between his disappearance and when our member started asking questions, the memory was fuzzy.

Old_State_House_Boston_2009fAll I had to go on was that he was born in 1910 in NH, but lived as an adult in Boston prior to his disappearance.

I somehow, miraculously was able to locate him, but to do so I had to take a trip through his life to do so. I thought I’d share how I came to identify him so others could see the thought process in action.

First, I entered the few details I had into Family Tree Maker, which is always where I start. Once I synced the tree to the online copy, I started to receive hints for him, the first of which were a number of Boston City Directories that showed him living with Josephine in a house in Boston for many years. The records end in 1957, so I would presume that is when he went missing.

After importing this information and syncing again, I was given new hints. This time is was the 1940 Census. Showing him and Josephine in the same place in Boston but with a child Lawrence Babb Jr. Note the misspelling of his name, which isn’t uncommon in Census Records. Both the Jr and Sr are spelled incorrectly, which is why you have to be careful when searching for exact spellings. I found it because Family Tree Maker uses broader search criteria and correlates the records with other family members in the record to be certain it is recommending the right item. This isn’t fool proof but gets you close enough to flip through and see for yourself. In this case I was helped by the less usual first name of his wife Josephine. I was also able to verify that he was born in 1910 in NH on this record.

Next, I came across him with his parents in the 1910 census as he was just an infant then. He did have a sister Elizabeth as well. His parents are George A. & Catherine Babb of Portsmouth (Ring any bells yet?). George was born in Maine (Portsmouth is just on the other side of the border). A marriage record would later prove that Catherine’s maiden name was Lynch.

Still wanting to fill in the blanks, I again synced and then found him in the 1930 Census. The information was consistent and there didn’t seem to be a 1920 Census record, so satisfied that I now knew who his parents were, I proceeded to locate records for them. I quickly came across a marriage record for George A. Babb & Catherine Lynch that listed their parents

Moving back to 1900 we find George living with his parents in Bath, Maine. His marriage certificate lists Bath, Maine as well and includes his parents’ names as George L & Lizzy (Ayers) Babb. They are in my master tree, also living in Bath, Maine and I’ve paired them together and grafted Laurence’s lineage back into the tree. Note that one of Laurence’s uncles is a Eugene, which also helps corroborate our match. Incidentally, it is also my brother’s middle name, which is why it stands out to me. My brother never liked the name and wishes he had a cool story to tell about it. Perhaps this can be the one.

This provides a cautionary tale that you must take family stories with a grain of salt. Time has passed and memories aren’t as sharp as they were at the time of the event. My Maternal Grandfather used to tell people that he was half Irish and Half American Indian, which is why he liked to drink and couldn’t hold his liquor. I spent weeks going around with a 2nd cousin who believed that to be fact and couldn’t understand why there is no Native American Blood in our tree. I finally explained to him that my Grandfather was full of crap and had all sorts of sayings like that (most aren’t politically correct in our modern world, so I won’t tell another one here). My point is that you can count on about 80% of a family legend being true. The closer the connection the more likely it is accurate. But you need to go and corroborate with real facts obtained by real documents. Of course they have their weaknesses as well, such as is the case with closed adoptions and things people deemed too shameful to share. Record the stories anyway and make notes to the effect if you have suspicion that they might not be true.

I checked the facts and now we have a brand new branch for our tree. If you haven’t guessed by the locations Laurence is a descendant of Phillip Babb of the Isles of Shoals. His family never moved from the general vicinity in 365 years!



Make your reservations for the 2018 Babb Family Reunion

Get Ready for the Babb Family Reunion
June 14-16th, 2018
Greeneville, TN

It is time to start making your hotel reservations for the Babb Family Reunion, which is coming up this June 14-17th at one of our favorite destinations, Greeneville, TN.

Our key plan is to furnish the 1787 Seth Babb Homestead and open it to the public. You see, this is a working reunion. We will spend one day working to make our house a home again and the next doing some much needed restoration work to the Babb Farm & Babb’s Mill Cemeteries. Anyone who loves to use a pressure washer on a generator will feel right at home here.

On day 3 we will welcome the public into the Homestead and give guided tours.

No registration fee for the reunion is necessary, but please let us know your plans and the details of who we can expect so that we can plan appropriately for the restaurants, etc.

Our host hotel, as always, is the General Morgan. We have a group rate secured, but to get it you have to call the hotel and mention that you are part of the Babb Family Association Group Block. Our evening events will be in the restaurant of this hotel as well. If you need a less expensive hotel, there are a number of them near the main highway, but no group block is available.

The hotels info is:

General Morgan Inn
111 N. Main Street
Greeneville TN, 37743
(423) 787-1000

Arrive June 14, checkout June 17th (3 Nights)


Air Travel:

There are a couple of different locations to fly into depending on which airline you are traveling on. Check for Tyson McGee Airport in Knoxville or Tri-Cities Regional Airport in Blountville, TN. You will want to secure a rental car if you are flying. 



Complete this form below to let us know you are coming and which events we can count you in for:





The White Swans of Buckinghamshire, England

We have found a new Genetic line based in Buckinghamshire, England. This is the 8th DNA Proven Lineage of Babbs and represents another step forward in understanding our complex tree. The line, also known as Buckinghamshire Pedigree 01 dates back to before 1774 in the town of Great Hampden. As you may recall from my previous post The Babbs of Buckinghamshire, the area lays to the Northwest side of London and the other two lines in this county are tracked to locations within 8 miles of each other. They are also mere fragments of a line, so unlikely to yield a different result. We should still test candidates from the other lines just to be certain of their heritage, but it is highly probable that all the Babbs in this county are related to each other. Altogether, these 3 lines only accounts for 167 people in our tree, so finding that person to connect would prove challenging.

As you know each new lineage receives their own mascot and crest. This time I have drawn upon the county flag for inspiration, using the same color scheme and the symbol of the swan wearing a crown to craft this image. The Swan Emblem dates back to Anglo-Saxon times when Buckinghamshire was known for breeding swans for the King.

For those in the US this represents another county we can strike off the list for potential matches along with Somerset and portions of Devon.  Our best bets for matches are in Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands as well as portions of Devon.


A Babb by Any Other Name

A Babb by Any Other Name

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been working with a number of adoptees to help them locate their birth families. I have had success in identifying the family of one such member and wanted to share the news. Being able to break through the cloud of secrecy surrounding adoption is a major stumbling block to genealogical research. But using the power of DNA testing we are now able to see relationships in an unfiltered way. Such is the case here.

The adoptee gave me the date and place of his birth and I was able to cross reference the information with the Master Babb list. Finding only a single family in this location at that time, made the answer very obvious. His DNA already said he was a Babb, so it was just a matter of finding someone from that branch of the tree to conduct their own test and compare the results. On Christmas Eve the DNA results came in and gave us an early Christmas gift of a positive match. So, we are now able to see exactly where in the tree he belongs without the need to unseal the adoption records (which at times don’t have the information you are seeking anyway.

To protect the parties right to privacy, I won’t be disclosing the names, but I was super excited to have this difficult work come to fruition. I’ve got several more adoptees that I’m working with that aren’t as straight forward as this one so this gives me hope of succeeding with them too.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


A grave fit for a Pauper?

I finally have started my winter vacation to use up the vacation time I cannot carry over into the new year. It is very rainy in Dallas today, so I headed off to the library to do a bit of unusual research regarding a little known cemetery in my community that I recently became aware of.

I’ve been visiting cemeteries since I was a young boy and was always fascinated by them. My mind spins with wonder about the people and their lives, death’s, hopes and dreams. Having lived in this area for virtually all my life, I thought I knew every cemetery around. So, I was surprised to find a new one to visit. This quiet little plot of land is hidden from almost every angle by warehouses and businesses.


As a Genealogist, I make frequent use of to obtain pictures of graves of my ancestors that I am not able to visit in person. I use it so often that I decided to give back to the community by becoming a photo volunteer myself. I received a photo request for a marker in the Dallas City Cemetery, also known as the Pauper’s Cemetery.

I took a friend (Chad) with me, not knowing what I would find. We arrived at the street address to find a small metal sign marking the entrance to a long gravel path. At the end of the path was an unlocked chain link gate. Entering the cemetery we saw no markers and surmised that there were none. We walked around a bit and I noticed a small line of white rocks that appeared to have a rhythm in how they were spaced.


Using our hands we pulled some soil back to find a small 4×5″ concrete marker with a 2×3″ metal plate attached to it with screws. From there we started to find grave after grave that was either submerged or too low to be seen at a distance.

Realizing that our hands were no match for the thick Soil (nicknamed Gumbo) we went back for supplies, a bottle of Windex, paper towels and a small garden spade. What we found was both exciting and horrifying.


State of the Cemetery

Many graves were missing name plates and we found others just floating randomly in the cemetery just waiting for next week’s lawn maintenance to move to a new resting place. Crumbing concrete markers, damage from lawn mowers and at least 40 years of neglect were the name of the game. Section and Row markers were not present, so there was no way to find someone if you wanted. 9 relatives of the people in this cemetery were waiting on pictures of headstones of their loved ones, but with the state of the cemetery it was impossible to fulfill their requests.

IMG_0361Over the next few days I did some research online and found that the property still belongs to the City of Dallas. A fellow researcher had done an inventory in 2007, but it lacked the essential information on how to find a specific grave.

So, off to the Dallas Public Library I went. They are in possession of the Master Book of records for the cemetery and actually have a few of the Name Plates of burials for the cemetery in them. With their permission I have photographed the records to digitize them. I will be providing them here in the coming days as I get them in order. No one should ever wonder how to find their loved ones. This list is an integral part of the restoration effort. Without it the graves would have been completely lost already and identifying the remains would be virtually impossible.

That day in the cemetery Chad and I vowed to find a way to improve the situation of this cemetery. From our inspection of a small section of the cemetery we believe there may be as many as 600 graves that are actively being lost with every passing week.

We need to act swiftly and decisively to unearth and clean the remaining stones, collect the loose plates, discover ones hidden just beneath the surface and restore them to their proper location with a new marker that will stand the test of time.

So, today we found the Gone But Not Forgotten Dallas whose mission is to rescue this cemetery from complete ruin. There are certainly other cemeteries in this town that are more historic and in more desirable neighborhoods, but how we treat the poorest of our society speaks volumes. The urgent need for action on this cemetery makes it top our list of endangered places. The project will operate under the 501(c)3 owned by the Babb Family Association (Yes there is a John T. Babb somewhere in the Cemetery).


Need a Small Army

Right now, we are looking to recruit a small army of people who are interested in seeing us do the right things. There are somewhere around 2000 graves in this cemetery that need varying levels of care. Many will only need a little cleaning and soil removal, others will need to be replaced or repaired.


Phase 1 of our plan is to clean and assess the graves in need of further repair. This is a big task, which is why we need that small army. Many hands make for light work. If you are capable of kneeling and using a paper towel you can help.

Phase 2 will consist of raising funds needed to purchase new markers. In this case the Army will be online pushing to expand the group of people interested in assisting with this project by donating goods/funds towards the effort.

Phase 3 will bring the army back together for the placement of the new stones.  The work will be a little harder this time due to the quantity & weight of the stones, so strong backs are encouraged. If you can’t assist yourself, get your kids or grandkids to come and assist with you.

Please Join our Facebook Group and become part of the solution. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are or what your capabilities are. Just join and we will find a way for you to contribute.

Join the Army here: