|"Kudzu, the Vine That Ate the South"|
photo by Kid Doc One on flickr
While trying to tie up some loose ends related to my Great Aunt Mary Louise Vaughan, I discovered that the name Louise was an extremely popular name in her extended family. The name kept popping up, spreading along the branches of the family tree like kudzu vine so prevalent all over the south.
Mary Louise Vaughan (Louise 1) married Walter Dallis between 1943 and 1944. Although they had courted for a number of years, they did not marry until Louise was in her mid-50s and Walter in his mid-60s. The bachelor Walter had always lived in the family home with his parents, later caring for his widowed mother Louiza Leslie Dallis (Louise 2). Louiza Leslie and her husband Leslie W. Dallis (those two Leslies are another story) had six children including a daughter Louise Dallis (Louise 3). That meant that for a number of years in this small, central Georgia town, there were two ladies named Louise Dallis, mother and daughter. Furthermore, my Great Uncle Walter Dallis, at various times, had a mother, a sister, and finally a wife, all named Louise Dallis.
Spreading out a little further, Walter's sister Louise Dallis (Louise 3) married Emery Robert Park prior to 1920. Turns out that Emery Park's step-mother was named, you guessed it, Louize (Louise 4). So, Louise Dallis Park had a mother and a mother-in-law both, sharing her name of Louise, and there were two women named Louise Park, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.
Looking further into the Dallis family was an interesting experience, my first time searching without a direct blood relation being involved. I first started exploring these Louises by checking some of the "shaking leaves" showing up in Ancestry and Family Tree Maker hints. Quickly I discovered that Louise 1, 2, or 3 would show up as a hint for one of the other Louises. The more I explored, the more interesting it became, especially as I learned that two of the Dallis brothers married two of the Leslie sisters, yet another story. Hopefully, you like your in-laws in a family such as this.
Through the years, I have seen many wonderfully original and creative names among my students. Maybe the uniqueness of their names 100 years from now will help future genealogists who will be exploring their family trees. Meanwhile, I will keep my eyes open for any other Louise tucked away in this branch of the family tree.