Looking through my family tree a few days ago, I came upon my great-great grandfather, Charles Tarbell Holmes. I had done some basic genealogy on him, and the middle name had struck me as odd before, but I never really thought about why he would have that name in the first place. I mean there aren’t many people these days with a first or middle name of Tarbell, as charming as it is. Surely, there must have been a reason, right?
The most obvious explanation would have been that he was named after his mother’s or grandmother’s surname. I checked, and I had solid evidence for his mother and both grandmothers, who did not bear that name. Hmmm, what could it have been?
My next thought was that he was name after a famous person at the time. I did a search for Charles Tarbell, and bingo, pseudo-famous person. Edmund (Charles Tarbell), born in West Groton, Massachusetts, which was only 4.7 miles from Pepperell, Massachusetts, which was Charles Tarbell Holmes’ birthplace. Amazing! Problem solved, right? Look how close Pepperell and Groton are:
I was excited. This must be it! My great-great grandfather was named after a famous painter. That’s interesting. Then I thought, “Hmmm, maybe I should just make sure”, so I looked at the birth dates. Well, it wasn’t meant to be. Charles Tarbell Holmes was born in 1841 and Edmund Charles Tarbell was born in 1862. There must have been some connection, though, as the name Tarbell isn’t very common, and the families were so close together geographically.
I did some more searching, and here is what I have come up with so far:
- George C. Tarbell was an original member of the Pepperell Farmer’s club.
- Supposedly, based on a message board post, the Holmes family and George Tarbell were close friends.
I tried contacting the email address associated with the person who left the post, but my email wasn’t returned. That is understandable, as the message was left 8 years ago. I guess I will have to do some more digging.
If you are related to Charles Tarbell Holmes or George Tarbell, please contact me (ancestrychronicles[at]gmail[dot]com. I would love to learn more about these 2 people.