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?