I have been looking for information on my Paternal Grandmother, for a very long time. Growing up I knew a lot of about my Maternal side (didn’t know the word then) but very little about my Paternal side. I had an assignment in Middle School asking me to fill out my family tree. A very familiar story. I zipped through it writing down all the names of my maternal ancestors. And when I came to my Father’s side, I was stumped. I knew my Dad’s name, but that was it. My Dad’s parents both died when my father was young. And He never spoke about them and I didn’t think to ask.
I asked My Dad to help me fill in the blanks, so that I could finish this assignment. He told me his mother’s name was Mary Cannel and I assumed she was born in Kentucky. He gave me his Dad’s information and his grandparents. I wish I would have asked him to tell me about their relationship. What they looked like, what they did together. I just didn’t think to ask.
I thought I would have years to spend time with my Dad and ask him questions. I was wrong. He died when I was 23. There were a lot of genealogical questions left unasked.
Upon his passing I was bequeathed a family photo album. Many of the pictures had no name. There were pictures of my Grandfather Roland but none of my Grandmother.
R.L.H  was the only child of Mary Elizabeth Cannel and Roland. Over the years, I searched for documentation on her, it was very slow going. I finally found her in the 1920 Barren County Federal Census. She was the youngest of 8 children of Hade/Haiden Rhodes and Mattie Emmerson Rhodes.


Sissy Rhodes 1920 Census KY

Many years later I met her last living brother, Alonzo. By the time I met him, He was up in age and living in a nursing facility. He was excited to meet me and to talk about his sister. He said that the family called her Sissy. Great Uncle Alonzo teared up when he spoke about her. I really wish I had a picture of her. At the time I spoke to him, I didn’t think to ask, when or where she died.
Over the years I kept on searching for information about my Grandmother. Another wrinkle in this search was the fact that I didn’t know what name she was using at the time of her death.

(I wrote this at the time I found Sissy’s birth certificate.)
I have searched for my Grandma Sissy’s (her brother Alonzo called her Sissy) birth certificate for many years. I was looking at the KY Vital Records database thru on September 19, 2006. I did a search for her name. Nothing popped up. I then zeroed in on the her mothers’ name. Mattie Emmerson. I saw a listing for a Garnel Rhood w/ Mattie Emmerson. I knew it had to be her. Her name is Connel Rhodes. It was obviously (I thought) a typo. I sent off the request to the Kentucky Registrar and waited impatiently for the record. I checked the mailbox everyday. Sometimes even twice a day. :0) I am getting closer! About a week later it arrived. I was right! It was my Grandmother. So excited!

Sissy's Birth Cert short.JPG

Last week I did another search for my Grandmother Sissy’s death information. I decided to look at Find A Grave. I reviewed all of the graves at a Rocky Hill Baptist Church Cemetery in Smith’s Grove, KY were many Rhodes family members are buried. The cemetery has a new section, close to the main road, and a old section that is farther back on a dirt road. Several, years ago I saw the new section, but was unable to get back to the old section due to the bad road conditions at the time.

Rocky Hill Baptist Church Cemetary


After searching the records, I saw one for “Elizabeth Hayes”. I felt like it was her! She was buried in Kentucky and I filled out the death certificate request for the State of Kentucky. At the last minute I decided to go back and read a short biography that my Father had written. It indicated that his Mother died in Indianapolis.

Elizabeth Hayes Find A Grave listing

I went to the Marion County (Indiana) Health Department right after work (the office is open late on Wednesday’s) and did a search for her death record based on the information on Find a Grave. I went into the office and requested her death certificate, it was her! I was beyond excited. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I also felt like I was finally giving Grandmother Sissy the respect she so richly deserved.

RIP Grandma Sissy!

Anna Mae & Sissy’s Oldest Grandbaby

Happy New Year Everyone!

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