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.