Saturday, December 24, 2011


This picture dates from around 1950. It was taken at my aunt and uncle's apartment on Grand Avenue in Leonia, New Jersey.

Christmas circa 1950
Top row, left to right: Anita Scanlon Veith, Minna Badendick Veith, Harold T. Veith, Sr
bottom row: Dorothy Veith Grant, Harold C Veith

My father, Warren W. Grant took the photo of my mom, her parents, and her brother and sister-in-law.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sarah Gardiner Lawton

Sarah Gardiner Lawton was my 3x great grandmother. Her daughter, Eliza Jane Carpenter married Zophar Skinner for whom this blog is named.

Sarah Gardiner Lawton

Sarah Gardiner Lawton was born in October 1828 to Clark Lawton and Sarah A. Gardiner in South Kingston, Rhode Island.

She married John Levy Carpenter, son of Daniel G and Mary Carpenter on 5 May 1845 in the Valley Falls Baptist Church in the village of Valley Falls, Rhode Island. At the time of marriage, both Sarah and John were both "of Smithfield" which bordered Valley Falls.

Marriage Record for
 John L Carpenter and Sarah G Lawton

"This may certify that Mr John L Carpenter and Miss Sarah G Lawton both of Smithfield were lawfully united together in Marriage on this the fifth day of May AD 1845 by me the Subscriber.
                                B.P. Byram
      Pastor of the Baptist Church
                      Valley Falls, R.I.

      Smithfield R.I.
                May 5, 1845"

Sarah Carpenter Obituary
Pawtucket Times, 1 March 1904
      Death of Mrs. Carpenter
Mrs Sarah Carpenter widow of John L Carpenter died last evening at her home on Braley's Hill in South Attleboro just over the state line at Valley Falls. Deceased was in her 77th year and had been ill but a few days troubles incident to old age being the immediate cause of death. Mrs Carpenter was an old resident of this section and was held in high esteem by a large circle of friends. She was the mother of Mrs. Zophar Skinner of Valley Falls.

I have not been able to determine where Sarah was buried but I suspect she was laid to rest next to her husband at Mineral Spring Cemetery in Pawtucket Rhode Island although there is no stone to mark her grave. Her parents are buried nearby, as are at least one of her children.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Military Monday - San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center (SAACC)

As I mentioned in this post, my dad, Warren Westcott Grant, was in the Army Air Force during World War II and was honorably discharged as an Aviation Cadet just before he finished his flight training. At the time of his discharge, he was stationed at AAAF Amarillo, TX. Before that, he was an Aviation Student at San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center (SAACC) in Texas.  My father spent 11 months (according to his Separation Qualification Record) at San Antonio before moving on to Amarillo.

According to Wikipedia:
"On 8 January 1943, the War Department constituted and activated the 78th Flying Training Wing (Preflight) at San Antonio and assigned it to the AAF Central Flying Training Command. The 78th provided aviation cadets the mechanics and physics of flight and required the cadets to pass courses in mathematics and the hard sciences. Then the cadets were taught to apply their knowledge practically by teaching them aeronautics, deflection shooting, and thinking in three dimensions. Once completed, the graduates were designated as aviation cadets and were sent to one of the primary flight schools for pilot training."

The San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center is now part of Lackland Air Force Base.

My father successfully completed the course at San Antonio before he moved onto Flight School in Amarillo. Here are the cards that indicate the completion of his Flight Checks at SAACC.

Flight Check Cards - SAACC, San Antonio, Texas
The second flight check took place on his 23rd birthday. It was just one day later his mother died in New Jersey and his flight training was interrupted for a month-long leave to settle his mother's estate. His father had died 5 years earlier.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Edna Veith

Sunday’s Obituary is an ongoing blogging prompt developed by Leslie Ann at Ancestors Live Here and tallied on the Geneablogger's site.
Edna Veith
1903 - 1994

Edna Veith was one of my grandfather's sisters. She and her twin brother, Edwin, were the youngest of five children and Edna is the only child who never married. She was born on 20 August 1903 in Hollisterville, Wayne County, Pennsylvania to Gottlieb Veith and Hannah Zeiler, and died 22 February 1994 in Atlanta, Georgia.  She had moved from her parents' farm in northeastern Pennsylvania by 1920 and lived with her sister and brother-in-law, Carrie and Charles Heffner in Hoboken, New Jersey. At some point, she and her sister, Esther Veith Foster, shared an apartment at 7 East 86th Street in New York City before they both retired and moved near their nephew Art Foster and his family in Georgia.

VEITH, Miss Edna, 90, Avondale Estates, Georgia, died Tuesday, February 22 at the Budd Terrace Nursing Home, Atlanta, Georgia.
   Born in Hollisterville, daughter of the late Gottlieb and Hannah Zeiler Veith, she was the last surviving member of her family. A graduate of Wyoming Seminary, she was an executive secretary in the banking business in New York City before retiring in 1964 to Atlanta, Georgia.
  Surviving are two nephews, Harold Veith, Jr., Lake Wylie, S.C., and Arthur D. Foster, Duluth, Ga.; a niece, Mrs Warren Grant, Little Falls, NJ; grand nieces and nephews, including Mrs. David Dulay and James Foster, both of Honesdale; several great-grandnieces and nephews.
   She was preceded in death by a brother, Harold Veith Sr; two sisters, Carrie Veith Heffner and Ester Veith Foster, twin brother, Edwin Veith; also a nephew, Burton W. Foster.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving 1956

Here is my first Thanksgiving at my parents' home in Little Falls, New Jersey. My mom, Dorothy Veith Grant (1922-2006) is on the left and her parents, Harold (1891-1978) and Minna (1893-1977) (Badendick) Veith are on the right. My brother is in the middle. My dad, Warren Westcott Grant (1922-2005) took the photo.

We always called this set of china the "chicken plates". It was a set that my mom purchased when she was first married. It is a Deruta pattern called 'Galletto' and it is still being made In Italy today. After my mom died, the set came to me and we use it for our holiday meals. I still love it as much as I did when we used the 'chicken plates' for special occasions when I was growing up. Unfortunately, the platter was broken a few years ago, when it skittered off the counter while the turkey was being transferred to it.

Thanksgiving 1956 - Little Falls, New Jersey

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hazel Skinner Grant obituaries

My father's mother was Florence Hazel Skinner.  She was born to John Francis (Frank) Skinner and Annie Florence Betts on 6 September 1894 in Valley Falls, Rhode Island. She died unexpectedly on 12th January 1945 at age 50, of a cerebral embolism about 2 weeks after a routine hysterectomy, just as she was about to be released from the hospital.

In a box of  family papers, I found several different clippings of her obituary. None of the clippings are dated or note the newspaper they were found in. I expect some of them were from her local newspaper in Clifton, New Jersey, and some were from her hometown of Valley Falls, Rhode Island. This obituary is the longest of the group.

Hazel Grant obituary

Died 12 January 1945 
unknown New Jersey newspaper
Mrs. Hazel Grant Dies In Hospital
   Mrs. Hazel Grant, of 267 Rillins [Rollins] avenue, Clifton, whose husband, Ralph Grant, was a former plant manager of the National Rubber Machinery Company in Clifton, passed away early yesterday morning in St. Mary's Hospital, Passaic, following an operation of two weeks ago.
   Mrs. Grant was born in Cumberland, R.I., and came to Clifton more than 25 years ago. Since her husband's death, she had been associated with the aforenamed company, and was a member of the Clifton Women's Club and the Y.M.C.A. Women's Auxiliary.
   The Rev. F. W. Thurston, pastor of Clifton's Trinity Methodist Church, will conduct the funeral services tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 o'clock in the Andrew D. Mason Funeral Home, 440 Clifton avenue, Clifton. Friends may call at the funeral home from 12 noon until 7 p.m. tomorrow.
   On Sunday, the body will be forwarded to a mortuary in Central Falls, R.I., where a brief service will be held on Tuesday, followed by internment in Moshassuck Cemetery there.
   Mrs. Grant is survived by a daughter, Miss Shirley Grant of Clifton; a son, Warren, an air cadet in an Army Air Force unit in Texas; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John F. Skinner of Valley Falls, R. I.; one sister, Mrs. George Blackmar of South Attleboro, Mass., and a brother, Harold Skinner of Rutherford [NJ].

An obituary from an unknown Rhode Island newspaper lists the bearers at her funeral in Rhode Island. William E. Betts was Hazel's maternal uncle;  Earl Betts was his son and Hazel's cousin. I believe David Betts might be Hazel's great uncle and John Nelson was his son-in-law, married to Hazel's cousin, Mattie Betts. James Yetter was married to Hazel's cousin, Eva Betts. I think Edward J. Eastwood was a Valley Falls neighbor and family friend.

Hazel Grant obituary
unknown Rhode Island newspaper

Friday, November 11, 2011

Zophar Skinner - Veteran of the Civil War

Zophar Skinner, a Civil War Veteran, was my great-great-grandfather. He died on Veteran's Day exactly 85 years ago at the age of 83.

Zophar Skinner
12 September 1843 - 11 November 1926
 Zophar enlisted in the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry, Company C on 5 June 1861 as a private.. He mustered out of the same unit on the 17 June 1864 as a full corporal. Despite serving in many of the major battles of the Civil War, he was one of the lucky ones and returned home unwounded.

Zophar died of a heart attack on the morning of 11 November 1926 in Valley Falls, Rhode Island, where he was born and had lived his entire life.

 An obituary published in the Pawtucket Times, 15 November 1926 said:

"As the body of the venerable veteran was laid to its final resting place the firing squad set off three volleys. Roger Calderwood sounded the call which comes at the end of a soldier's day - Taps."

Zophar had been active in the many Veteran's organizations that flourished at the end of the Civil War, and had served as a department commander of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) in Rhode Island. His obituary states that "the ritual of the Grand Army of the Republic was recited by Commander Henry Clark of the Ballou Post, G.A.R."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Grant family home in Central Falls, Rhode Island

Around 15 years ago, I asked my father, Warren W. Grant, to drive us past what had been his family's home in Central Falls, Providence County, Rhode Island. My father had never lived in the home since his father, Ralph W. Grant and his mother, Florence Hazel (Hazel) Skinner, moved from Central Falls to New Jersey around 1920.

54 Jenks Avenue, Central Falls, Rhode Island

The lot this house was built on was purchased for $100 by Lydia B. [Leach] Grant (Ralph's grandmother and my g-g grandmother) from Jas. H and Jonathon Chase on 4 April 1891. Lydia 's husband, Joseph Goff Grant had died around 18 months earlier.

Deed for sale of lot from Jas. H and Jonathon Chase to Lydia B. Grant, 4th April 1891.
Recorded in Book 67, page 61 of the Record of Deeds in the Town of Lincoln, RI
Presumably, the house was built soon after the lot was purchased and Lydia moved into the new house with her son William Sprague, and daughter Mary Elizabeth by 1892 when William appears at that address in a Pawtucket and Central Falls City Directory. Lydia died there on 9 June 1900, on the day that the census enumerator visited the property. Living there at that time were her son William Sprague Grant with his family, as well as William's un-married sister, Mary Elizabeth Grant.

My great-aunt, Marion Grant Wood (Ralph's sister) was the last Grant to live in the house. The house was sold around 1940 when Aunt Marion moved with her husband, George Henry Wood, Jr, to East Greenwich, Rhode Island. I remember Aunt Marion telling me it took a long time to clean out the house and the "burn barrel in the back yard was going for days." Luckily, she saved family heirlooms and family records - it was the family stories I heard on our visits to her when I was a child that piqued my interest in family history when I became an adult. What I would give to just have 10 minutes with her now to confirm some family lore!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fifty nine years ago yesterday

October 11th was my parents' wedding anniversary. Warren Westcott Grant and Dorothy Minna Veith got married at the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Harwichport, Massachusetts on 11 October 1952. Their best man and matron of honor were Matt and Fran Zuck. My father knew Matt from growing up in Clifton, NJ and Mom got to know them both during the years she and Dad dated.
Warren and Dorothy Grant
11 October 1952
 My mom did not wear a traditional wedding dress. She said that she wanted a dress she could wear again.
Mom's parents - Harold and Minna Veith
 and Warren and Dorothy Grant
The wedding reception was held at the Eastward Ho! Inn in Orleans, MA.It poured with rain during the whole event.
At the Reception

After the reception, my parents went on a short honeymoon to Rockport, MA. My dad had a MG at the time and this is the vehicle they used for the trip.
Dad's MG at Rockport MA

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My cousin-bait worked!

I don't remember whose blog I was reading when I first came across the term "cousin bait". It was mentioned that blogging about our family history is a good way to "troll" for unknown relatives. The hope was that someday someone googling a family name would come across a blog post that had mentioned the mutual ancestor and contact could be made between previously unknown relatives. I remember smiling at the term and thinking it was a great idea. I didn't seriously expect it to work for me though!

Last week, I got a comment on one of the blog posts I had made last summer in which I mentioned I was traveling back east to meet previously unknown descendants of my immigrant ancestor, Joseph Zeiler, my great-great grandfather. This poster is a previously unknown 2nd cousin (once removed)! Her family descends from my great-grandmother's brother, Theodore A. Zeiler and his 2nd wife, Carrie E. Belknap.

Elmdale Cemetery
Jefferson Township, PA

Theodore A. Zeiler
1885 - 1936

Grace E. [Brown] his wife
1873 - 1903

Carrie E. [Belknap] his wife

 My great-grandmother was Theodore's younger sister, Hannah Zeiler. This new cousin and I have been busily exchanging emails back and forth and comparing family information. We are both hoping that with our new connections we can find previously unseen photos for some of our ancestors. She is hoping to see a photo of her grandfather, Theodore, and I am hoping to find a photo of my great-grandparents, Joseph Zeiler and Margaret Mack.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Dad and his WW2 Air Force buddies

My father, Warren Westcott Grant, served 2 years with the Army Air Force during World War II as detailed here. I've recently been going through some old boxes and scanning all his old photos and came across these. I assume they were taken in 1945 when my dad was stationed at the Army Air Force base in Amarillo, Texas for his flight training.
Warren W. Grant

Warren Grant, Ray Garrett, Goode, and Gus

Ray Garrett (on left) and Gus

Goode, Garrett, Gus and Paul

Goode, Warren Grant, Gus and Ray Garrett
Ray Garrett became a good friend of my dad and they maintained a friendship after the war. Ray's Aunt Bea Garrett became a friend of our family too and often stayed with us when she was visiting from Florida. Ray married Lydia  (I remember  Christmas cards signed "Ray and Lydia Garrett") but I don't know anything more about them.
As of now, I do not have full names for Goode, Gus, or Paul. I think because of my father's month-long emergency leave during his flight training, he was in two different units at Amarillo. The first was "Group R, Sqdn 251" and the 2nd was "Sqdn W 3701st AAFBU Amarillo". This second designation was on his discharge papers, the first came from his personal address book.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ralph Grant - Captain 1913 RISD football team

Susan Clark over at the blog Nolichucky Roots published a picture of her football-playing great-uncle today. It reminded me of this photo of my grandfather, Ralph Westcott Grant.
Captain and Centre of School of Design Team
There is a date on this newspaper photo of Tuesday, October 21, 1913. The name of the paper was not included but it was probably The Pawtucket Times, published in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. My grandfather received an drafting degree from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) around 1915 but until I came across this newspaper photo, I had no idea that he played sports as a young man.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Nathaniel Freeman

My 5th great grandfather is Nathaniel Freeman. He was born in 1740 in Norton, Bristol County, Massachusetts and died there July 27, 1793 at the age of 53. I was recently able to get a good (or better than my last!) photograph of this hard to read, lichen-covered tombstone.
Nathanial Freeman Tombstone
Norton Common Cemetery, Norton, Massachusetts

In memory of
En[.]ign    [Ensign]
Nathaniel Freeman
who died July 27th
[...]3, in the 53rd
Year of his Age.

Nathaniel is buried in the Freeman plot at Norton Common Cemetery in Norton, Massachusetts alongside his wife, Bethiah Hodges, and other relatives.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Acadia Mines Family

One of my father's cousins has a photo album that belonged to our Betts ancestors who immigrated to Rhode Island in 1884 from Acadia Mines (now Londonderry), Colchester County, Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, most of the portraits in this album are unidentified although most of the photographer's imprints are from Nova Scotia. One of these is the following group photograph.

unknown group
Acadia Mines, Nova Scotia

On the back of the photograph is the following stamp:
James O'Connell
Acadia Mines, N.S.
I need to research when James O'Connell was active in Acadia Mines to more accurately date this early 20th century photo. It appears to show what is probably a family group in front of a small store. Are these Betts or Fulton or Wilson ancestors? Are there city directories from this area? Or can I determine store-keepers from the 1901 Canadian census? Would the Colchester Historical Society have listings of small shop-keepers for this period?  I will publish an update if I can find out any information about this photograph.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

College - Beginnings and Endings

I dropped my son off at college yesterday for the start of freshman orientation. I am sure I am experiencing the same mix of emotions that most parents feel when their children move from home to begin college. I am very excited for my son and very proud of him. He is ready for this adventure and most of the time I think I am dealing well with his leaving. But I will miss him!

This new college experience for my son got me thinking about my ancestors and their college experiences.  I don't have a lot to go on. I only know of three ancestors who graduated from college or university - my parents and my paternal grandfather, and the only one I have any records for at all is my father. I was told my grandfather, Ralph Westcott Grant, graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with an engineering degree. My mom, Dorothy Minna Veith, graduated from Stephens College with an Associate Degree. My dad, Warren Westcott Grant, graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science degree.

I wrote about my father's interrupted college experience here. Growing up, I never knew that my father had left college before he finished. I am not entirely sure why he left in his sophomore year, but when I asked my dad about it once, his reply was along the lines of  "Of course I didn't tell you kids that I left and had to return later to finish up. I didn't want to put the idea into your heads". My impression was that Dad was asked to leave because he wasn't concentrating on his schoolwork enough. But he did go back after World War II and finish his degree and that is an achievement. Although he started in engineering, his degree was in business administration.

Here are a few pages from my dad's Rutgers University commencement program for the class of 1949.

Rutgers University
183rd Anniversary Commencement
12 June 1949

Warren Westcott Grant
2nd column, half way down

Rutgers University graduation 12 June 1949
 unknown newspaper
In four years, I hope I will be attending my son's graduation from college. Time will tell!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Joseph Goff Grant

Joseph Goff Grant was my great-great grandfather on my paternal side. He was born 1 August 1819 in North Providence, Rhode Island and was one of at least elven children born to Sylvester Grant and Elizabeth (Betsey) Goff. He married Emeline Matilda Parlow (or Parlor) on the 4 August 1839 in Fall River, Massachusetts and had one daughter Eveline Matilda Grant who was born on 12 July 1845 in Blackstone, Massachusetts. Joseph's wife Emeline died of consumption on 17 January 1846 in Blackstone, Massachusetts when their child Eveline was just 6 months old.

After his wife Emeline died, Joseph moved to Cumberland, Rhode Island and on 1 September 1847 he married my great-great grandmother, Lydia Boomer Leach in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. I have been unable to definitely prove her parentage but her father was probably Isaac Leach and her mother may have been Sarah Stone.

Joseph and Lydia had four children, all born in Valley Falls, Rhode Island:

Edmund Goff Grant - born 6 August 1848
Sarah J. Grant - born 13 March 1852
Mary Elizabeth Grant - born 24 November 1857
William Sprague Grant - born 22 July 1861

Joseph Goff Grant Memorial Card

Joseph died at age 70 on 30 October 1889 in Lincoln, Rhode Island, in the Central Falls part of town. The cause of death on his death certificate was dropsy. During his life he worked at various jobs such as teamster and mule spinner, laborer, mechanic, and night watchman. He is buried in the Grant family plot at Moshassuck Cemetery in Central Falls. He and his son-in-law, Emeline's husband Lewis T. Spencer, purchased the cemetery plot when Emeline died on 22 July 1891of consumption.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Skinner Family

I've been working my way through all the scans and copies of documents I gathered on my trip back east during late July. It's slow going! I'm renaming all the scans and trying to "file" them (digitally) in ways that I can find everything in the future. However, I'm only through the first batch, from the first of my Dad's cousins I visited.  However, this is one of the largest groups of photographs and documents I copied.

My Dad's cousin has a collection of family photographs and documents from several of our ancestral lines. He has the family Bibles from my great and great-great Skinner grandparents and my great-great-great Carpenter grandparents, and also has a large collection from our Betts ancestors. I was lucky to have enough time to finally copy just about everything I wanted. I'll be posting images in the weeks to come.

Here's a gem from Ken's collection of our mutual Skinner ancestors.

My Skinner great-grandparents, their children and grandchildren - 1922
Left to right:
Front row: Frank Skinner, Myrtle Skinner, Ken Skinner, Ralph Grant holding Warren Grant.
Back row: Annie Betts Skinner, Olive Bell Skinner, Harold Skinner, Hazel Skinner Grant

John Francis (Frank) Skinner and Annie Florence Betts had 6 children although one un-named child died  before birth. Here are the family Bible records of their marriage and the births and deaths of their children.

Bible record of the marriage of
John Francis Skinner and Annie Florence Betts
28 December 1891
Valley Falls, RI

 Harold Fulton Skinner
    born Feb. 25th 1892

Harold Lamert Skinner
    Born Jan. 23rd 1893

Florence Hazel Skinner
    Born September 6th 1894

Myrtle Frances Skinner
    Born Feb. 7th 1896

Myrtle Frances Skinner
    Born Jan 7th 1897

As was common during this era, Annie and Frank re-used favorite names for successive children after a child died. Their first son, Harold Fulton Skinner had the middle name of Fulton after his maternal grandmother, Susan Fulton. After he died, Frank and Annie had another son who they also named Harold. This son (pictured above) had the middle name of Lamert, which was the name of a close family friend.  There are two successive daughters named Myrtle Frances Skinner.

Harold Fulton Skinner
    Died July 16th 1892 aged 4 mo. 21 days

Myrtle Frances Skinner
    Died Feb 24th 1896, aged 17 days

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Heritage Pie

I know I'm a little late to this but here is my Heritage Pie. Randy Seaver first blogged about this on
16 July 2011on his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your "Heritage Pie" Chart. The following 'pie' shows the distribution of the birthplaces of my 16 great-great-grandparents.

Birthplaces: 8 in Germany, 2 in Canada, 2 in England, and 4 in United States (Rhode Island)

Paternal great-great Grandparents -
Joseph Goff Grant - born 1 Aug 1819, No. Providence, Rhode Island
Lydia Boomer Leach - born 13 May 1827, Warwick, Rhode Island
Ernest Lord Mellor - born 2 Mar 1832, Chadderton, Lancashire, England
Hannah Worthington  - born 7 May 1833, Royton, Lancashire, England
Zophar Skinner  - born 12 Sept 1843, Valley Falls, Rhode Island
Eliza Jane Carpenter  - born 12 April 1847, Coventry, Rhode Island
John William Betts  - born June 1844, Wallace, Nova Scotia, Canada
Susan Fulton - born 13 Feb 1839, Wallace, Nova Scotia, Canada
Maternal great-great-Grandparents -
Johann Martin Veith - born 9 April 1825, Altdorf, Wurttemberg, Germany
Anna Maria Heller - born 4 Oct 1828, Hudlach, Wuttemberg,Germany
Joseph Zeilerborn 21 Dec 1826, Wuttemberg, Germany
Anna Margaretha Mack - born June 1827, Wuttemberg, Germany
Christoph Badendick - born Germany
Friederike Spierling - born Germany
Gottfried Zerull - born 4 March 1812, Garnseedorf, West Prussia
Wilhelamine Kroening - born about 1835 in West Prussia

Monday, August 1, 2011

Then and Now

My great-grandparents, Gottlieb Veith and Hannah Zeiler Veith, bought their Hollisterville, Pennsylvania, farm in October 1895, seven years after they were married. My third cousin, Jason,  found the property purchase deed for me recently in the Wayne County Courthouse. I visited the property about two weeks ago and was lucky enough to find the current owner in her garden. I showed her pictures of the house the way it had been, and she was gracious enough to show me the indoors. It was exciting to walk in the home of my great-grandparents!

Veith Residence, Hollisterville, Wayne County, Pennsylvania
about 1915

July 2011

about 1915

July 2011


I got back two days ago from my 9 day research trip back east and my week-long class on Writing Family History Narratives and other Genealogical Works at Boston University. It's taken me two days to get caught up on mail and laundry and re-stocking the refrigerator and all the things that need to be done after being out of town for an extended period. I had some great successes in my research but it will take me awhile to sort through the hundreds of scans and photographs, and to transcribe many of the records I found. I have lots of new information to blog about in the coming weeks!

The writing course was well worth it. It was taught by two very different scholars and authors, Dr. John Philip Colletta and Dr. Thomas Wright Jones, with two very different approaches to writing up genealogy and family history. Primary for both, though, is the importance of thorough research with well-sourced footnotes and citations. In the coming weeks I plan to experiment with different writing styles I learned about.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mineral Spring Cemetery, Pawtucket, Rhode Island

I have many ancestors buried in this cemetery but somehow I had never visited it on my other trips back to Rhode Island. I think I have always  been side-tracked by Moshassuck Cemetery in Central Falls, and Oak Grove Cemetery in Pawtucket. Since my Dad's family has been in this part of Rhode Island forever, I have many family burials in all these cemeteries. And from reading the area censuses line by line looking for family members (back before the censuses were all indexed and on-line), I recognize so many of the names on the non-family graves!

Mineral Spring Cemetery is not in the best of shape, especially compared to nearby Oak Grove and Moshassuck Cemeteries. Many of the gravestones have been toppled, and over the years, a lot of them have become buried.

When I first visited this cemetery a few days ago, I ran into Ken Postle, a volunteer who has received a grant to hire neighborhood teens to unearth and reset some of these tombstones. I think he said he has the teens for a total of 1000 man-hours. It looked like the group was doing great work and have located many buried stones, and have started re-setting them. Great job, Ken! and kudos to you for organizing this effort!

Re-set Gravestones at Mineral Spring Cemetery
Both Moshassuck Cemetery and Mineral Spring Cemetery have a special section of the graveyard dedicated to the Rhode Island men who served in the Civil War. Both cemeteries have Civil War gravestones in other parts of the cemetery as well.

Civil War Memorial at Mineral Spring Cemetery
Unfortunately, most of the Civil War grave markers are buried too deeply in the ground to read the inscriptions.

I started taking pictures in the back left corner of the cemetery for (I will also post the pictures on ) but had to stop when a sudden rainstorm started. I only got about 20 photos taken, but one of them was of Zophar Skinner's gravestone. This Zophar was my g-g-g-grandfather. His son, Zophar, was the Zophar this blog was named for - I had previously photographed his grave at Moshassuck Cemetery.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I met cousins!

I am exhausted.

Since I left home last week, I have driven almost 900 miles (from NJ to PA to NY to RI to MA) and met up with one first cousin once removed and one second cousin  (Skinner), one Aunt (Grant),  four third cousins and two third cousins once removed (descendants of Cassie Zeiler),  two second cousins and one second cousin once removed (Foster), and three first cousins once removed and one second cousin (Blackmar),. I've also spent the most part of three days in county and town courthouses (Lackawanna County in Pennsylvania, and Central Falls and Cumberland, Rhode Island) and visited three cemeteries in Pennsylvania, and three in Rhode Island. I've taken 133 pictures, and gone through five sets of batteries for my Flip-Pal scanner (which goes through batteries much quicker in hot weather). And most of the time it's been over 90 degrees (101 degrees in Providence today!).

I loved seeing all these cousins and I thank them all for sharing their time and information with me.

I have many vital records, cemetery records, wills and deeds, town histories, compiled family records, and lots of scanned copies of documents and photos. It will take me weeks to sort through all the information I've received and get it all into my database! I will also make copies of it all and distribute the information to these cousins.

Perhaps the most intriguing discovery so far is my g-g-g-grandfather Ernest Lord Mellor's death record at the Cumberland Town Hall in Cumberland, Rhode Island. Cause of death: Gun Shot.

I think I have a mystery to investigate!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The new domain is up and going. Thanks to a blogger tech who helped me figure out the problem (Internet Explorer was the problem - It all works fine on Chrome). Soon I plan to have more content at, including a pedigree chart. I'll keep you posted!

Veith siblings

On Monday, I am planning to meet up with some cousins who are also descendants of  Hannah Zeiler and Gottlieb Veith. I am descended their son, Harold, and my 2nd cousin is descended from Harold's sister, Esther.

Children of Gottlieb Veith and Hannah Zeiler, Hollisterville, Pennsylvania
My grandfather, Harold Theodore Veith is the man on the right and his brother Edwin is on the left (in the cap). The 3 daughters are Carrie, Esther, and Edna but I'm not sure which is which. I'm hoping my cousin might know!

Back to old web address

Despite some help, I could not get blogger redirected to my own domain and thus, I am back to posting on blogspot for the time being. I hope to have a new post up later today. Right now I am packing for my trip to see all my cousins - some newly found and some unseen for 40 years!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New web address

I'm in the process of moving this blog to my own domain and it looks like the process is not as smooth as Blogger promised it will be. Even I can't see my own blog.

I hope to get it fixed as soon as I can and I'll be back!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Third cousin meet-up

I'll be traveling back east soon to northeastern Pennsylvania to meet up with at least 2, and possibly 3 or 4 third cousins. We are all descended from the children of Joseph Zeiler and Anna Margaretha (Margaret) Mack of Jefferson Twp, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania.

According to the 1900 census, Joseph Zeiler and Margaret Mack married around 1856. This census indicates they had 8 children but only 5 were living in 1900. These children are:

Mary Zeiler born August 1857
Karolina (Carrie) Zeiler born 28 June 1859
Casoline (Cassie) Zeiler born July 1863
Theodore A. Zeiler born Dec 1865
Hannah Zeiler born 21 May 1869 (my great-grandmother)

All these children, (except Karolina who had no children of her own) have living descendants and some of us will be meeting for the first time. It looks like we might have at least one descendent from each branch! I'm hoping that we can all exchange photos, documents, family records and family stories.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New finds in historical newspapers

I've been having a good time recently with my subscription to GenealogyBank has a large set of historical newspapers covering many areas of the United States starting in 1690. I recently discovered they have the Pawtucket Times, which was the local paper that covered the news in the part of Rhode Island where my father's family is from. Almost all of my father's ancestors lived in Central Falls and Valley Falls, Providence County, Rhode Island since the early 1800s (and probably longer). Valley Falls is a village in the Town of Cumberland and the city of Central Falls borders it. Pawtucket is the next city south.

GenealogyBank's collection of the Pawtucket Times covers the period of 1898 - 1921, during the time my paternal g-grandparents were all living in the area. I have found all kinds of gems in the paper, including some obituaries. I also found alot of information about the social and fraternal organizations my ancestors belonged to and who they entertained at socials and parties. Wedding notices often listed the names of  family members and attendants and described the bride's and bridesmaid's attire. Notices of probate, land sales, and regular news articles about some of my ancestors were also there.These articles ranged from a burglary at a store that an ancestor owned ( I hadn't previously known he was a store-owner) to a sensational account of my great-great-great-grandmother's testimony at a poisoning trial. I will incorporate all these findings into future blog posts.

For those of you planning on doing GenalogyBank searches - I did find that I had to search on last name only to get the most 'hits'. Including the first name in most searches meant that many articles were missed.

If you can find historical newspapers that cover the area where your ancestor lived, this site is a great resource for adding details to a family history, as well as yielding clues about names and dates for searching out records about our ancestors.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Second Cousins

I sent a letter last week to Jill, a 2nd cousin I have not seen in at least 40 years. My mother, Dorothy Veith, and her father, Burton W. Foster, were first cousins, and thus, Burt was my first cousin once removed. However since Burt was near my mother's age, we kids called him Uncle Burt. He and his family lived not too far away from us in Cresskill, New Jersey during the 1960s and early 1970s until they moved to Pennsylvania.

Burt's parents were Arthur Foster and Esther Veith. Esther was my grandfather's Harold T. Veith's sister. They had two children, Arthur D. Foster, born in 1926 and Burton W. Foster born in 1928.

Burt and Art Foster, about 1929

Dorothy Veith and Harold C. Veith with their cousins Burt and Art Foster
at their grandparent's farm in Hollisterville, PA
 summer 1936
The exciting thing is that Jill and I are going to meet each other for the first time as adults in a few weeks time. We talked briefly last night and she told me that she and her brother both had pictures of our mutual g-grandparents, Gottlieb Veith and Hannah Zeiler. She also said one of Art Foster's daughters is interested in genealogy! I think I may have met her when I was young too but lost track of that side of the family. I did contact Art Foster once when I first started getting interested in genealogy back around 2001, and he told me he had a pile of information he was putting aside for me. Unfortunately, he died before it was ever sent. Maybe this newest 2nd cousin will be the one who might have the portraits hanging on Gottlieb's wall that I noted in my post last week, My Grand-father's Siblings. Wouldn't that be truly exciting?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I can't find anyone!

A lot of people in the genealogy blogosphere have been talking about the free access to the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution) records that had over the 4th of July weekend. I have a subscription to but I headed over too, hoping to finally make that connection to at least one documented Revolutionary ancestor.

I had no luck.

I have not yet pursued my roots into the Colonial era although family records indicate that we have New England ancestry that goes way back on several lines. But most of my effort has been concentrated in the 19th century, documenting the life and times of ancestors who lived more recently. I especially am fascinated with the mid-late 19th century in New England (although recently I've been pulled to late 19th century NE Pennsylvania and New Jersey by research on my mother's side).

I have been able to document my Grant line back to Sylvester Grant who was born in 1790 in Bristol County, RI. There are many public trees and published histories that show he is the grandson of Shubael Grant, born in 1743 in Barrington, RI but I have not yet looked for the sources that convince me of this lineage. But if it is true, then Shubael would be my Revolutionary ancestor in my direct Grant line. I went to and I found records in several places in their Revolutionary War Records.  It appears Shubael served in both Cook's Regiment of the R.I. Militia (albeit only for 5 days in 1778) and Allen's Company of Militia in 1780-1781.

But it appears to me that no one has submitted his name for either DAR or SAR lineage! Will I be the first to do so when I get around to properly documenting the lineage? It seems hard to believe that no other descendants of Shubael's have ever used this lineage. I'm not sure yet when I will start working on this project but I will update this blog when I do so.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

I'm not sure what the celebration is here but it could be the 4th of July!

back row: Reverend J.H. Trenberth, Valley Falls Baptist Church
middle row: 1st two unknown, Annie Betts Skinner, Myrtle F. Skinner
front row: Stella Johnson perhaps and Florence Hazel Skinner
Valley Falls, Rhode Island - photo taken around 1910

Friday, July 1, 2011

Anyone know why I can't post comments in blogs?

I know this is an odd place to ask but - why can't I post comments on other people's blogs? I am logged in to blogger but when I write a comment, I am asked to choose a profile. When I choose either my google account or live-ID, I am thrown to the google login window. After I type in my name and password, I get returned to my comment preview (but the name says Anonymous) and nothing I do will cause the comment to post. Every time I hit 'post', I am brought back to the login window. This even just happened on my own blog, when I tried to reply to a comment that was just made to Cheryl.

I have occasionally been able to post comments in the past but I can't see anything that was done differently. Can anyone help?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Grandfather's Siblings

I posted previously about my mother's paternal grandparents, Gottlieb Veith and Hannah Zeiler. Gottlieb and Hannah had 5 children live to adulthood including my grandfather, Harold Theodore Veith.

8 August 1919
left to right: Edwin, Hannah, Edna, Harold, Carrie, Esther, Gottllieb

Carrie M. Veith born April 1889
Harold Theodore Veith born 19 May 1891
Esther Veith born 10 April 1895
twins Edwin and Edna Veith born 20 August 1903.

Picture was taken in the family home in Hollisterville, Salem Twp, Wayne County, Pennsylvannia

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I love Find-A-Grave!

I received a gift in my email inbox today! A kind volunteer in Brooklyn took pictures for me of gravestones for some of my maternal relatives. I've recently spent some time trying to research all my maternal lines forward in time to find cousins with whom I could exchange family information and hopefully get identifications of relatives in old photos I've inherited.  A lot of this work has paid off already and I've exchanged information with new cousins in two lines. Thanks Jason and Lori and Drew!

Two days ago, I was finally able to convince myself I was following the right family for another cousin in the census records.   This line is descended from the oldest half-sister of Bertha Helene Zerull, Wilhelmine Emilie Zerull who was born in Garnsee, West Prussia in 1842. From some family records, I knew that Wilhelmine (known as "Emilie") married a man named Schultz and had children Martha and Harriet Schultz. I also knew that Martha married Julius Schiller. And my searching finally paid off and I was able to locate this family in the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 federal censuses. Emilie's husband's first name was Hermann.

I looked on Find-A-Grave early yesterday and located some of these descendants in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY but there were no pictures of the tombstones. I submitted the request for pictures of these graves and received the links to them today from a kind volunteer who photographed the graves! Dates from the tombstone confirmed that these were my distant cousins.

Now I just need some luck in finding descendants that are still alive and I may have more 'new' cousins to exchange information with. Someone must know who these people are with my grandmother!
My grandmother, Minna Badendick Veith, 3rd from left
Are these Schiller relations? Or Schultz? Or are these Lemke/Lamken cousins descended from another half-sibling of my g-grandmother? I'm determined to find out!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bertha Helene Zerull

Bertha Helene Zerull was my mom's maternal grandmother. She was born in Garnsee, West Prussia on the 2nd of April 1864 to Gottfried Zerull and Wilhelamine Kroening. Wilhalmine was the second wife to Gottfried; his first wife was Anna Dorothea Zerull (her maiden name was also Zerull). Gottfried and Anna had at least 10 children together before Anna died. I am not yet aware of  other children born to Gottfried and 2nd wife Wilhelmine. Bertha was baptismed on the 24th of April in the Evangelical Lutheran church in the village of Garnsee.

Bertha ariived in New York on the 'Main' on the 12th of December 1881 when she was 17 years old. The ship departed from Bremen and it is not known if Bertha was traveling with anyone or who she stayed with after she arrived in New York.
Bertha Helene Badendick
By the time of her marriage in 1883, Bertha was living at 28 Essex Street in Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey. Her husband, Carl Johann Emil Badendick, was living very close by at 38 Essex Street. They married on the 9th of September 1883 in St Matthews Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jersey City. August Badendick (possibly Carl's brother) and Emilie Toepfer were witnesses.
Marriage certificate for
Carl Johann Emil Badendick & Bertha Helene Zerull
9 September 1883
St Matthews Church, Jersey City, NJ
Carl and Bertha lived in a house at 35 van Reypen Street in Jersey City for most of their lives and raised 5 children to adulthood. Their 3rd child (and oldest daughter) was my grandmother, Minna Bertha Badendick, wife of Harold Theodore Veith. Children of Carl and Bertha Badendick are:  Charles Henry Badendick, born 5 September 1887, Henry Badendick, born 1 October 1889, Minna Bertha Badendick, born 19 November 1897, Marie Johanna Badendick, born 7 Janurary 1897 and Edith Badendick, born 20 April 1898. All the children were born in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Bertha Zerull Badendick
 with son-in-law Harold Theodore Veith
 and grandson Harold Charles Veith

I don't know much about this great-grandmother. I do have her set of china though. My mom's cousin, Carol Pharis, gave it to me years ago and said that the set of china was given to Bertha in appreciation for the meals she cooked for a club her husband belonged too. Carol thought that the club was a civic or fraternal orgainization and they had monthly dinner meetings in the basement of the brownstone house that Carl and Bertha owned.