Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

undated vintage postcard
Happy Thanksgiving to my family and friends, and especially to my Aunt Shirley who is a very recent first-time great-grandmother! I wish I had more family at my table tomorrow but it will be filled with friends. I'll remember my mother, grand-mother, great-grandmother and great-aunt Marion as I set the table with pieces from all of them.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Rescued Photo #4 - Ann Eliza Turner Hulet Niles

When I was in Vermont last September, I spent an hour or so browsing at the Antique Center at Camelot Village in Bennington, VT. This shop is huge and is composed of many individual 'stalls' where all kinds of antiques are sold. I could have spent days in this place, and hope to go back on my next visit.

I spent most of my time there looking thru old photos and was amazed at how many of them had identification written on the back. If only all my old family photos were identified! I decided to buy a few that caught my eye and see if I could identify the families of the individuals, and possibly to locate a living descendant who would like to have these photos. Please contact me if you are related to these people and would like the original photo.

This photo was found in the same lot of photos (dealer #356) as were the 3 previous photographs in my Rescued Photos series of blog posts and these people are all probably related. I am slowly building a family tree to resolve family relationships.
Ann Eliza Turner photograph
Ann Eliza Turner photograph
back side

This photo is labeled on the back -

" Ann Eliza Turner
daughter of
Dr and Mrs Gideon Turner"

There is no photographer's name or studio, or location of where the photo was taken.

From doing some basic research, it appears that Ann Eliza Turner was the daughter of Dr Gideon S Turner and his wife, Eliza T. Atwood. No birth record has been found for her but the US census records for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 indicate she was born in 1842 or 1843 in New York. The 1900 US census indicates her birth in October 1842 in NY, and a record on Findagrave and a gravestone image gives her birth date as 25 October 1842. Her second marriage record indicates that she was born in Salem, Washington County, New York. She died 1 April 1911 in Danby, Rutland County, Vermont at age 68. She is listed as a nurse to a private family, and she was probably still living with her daughter as she was when enumerated there in the 1910 US census.This 1910 census record lists her as widowed, with one child.

Ann Eliza was married twice. Her first marriage was to Aaron Hulet. After his death in 1894, she married Joseph Burr Niles in 1896. According to the marriage record for this 2nd marriage,  Ann Eliza was living in White Creek, New York at the time of her marriage. The marriage was registered in Shaftsbury, Vermont. Although the 1910 census shows her as widowed, in actuality Ann Eliza was either separated or divorced from Joseph Niles since he did not die until 1920. 

The 1880 US census for Shaftsbury, VT shows Aaron and Ann E Hulet living with adopted daughter Winnie B Hulet, age 7, born New York. Winnie married Theodore Woodward around 1890, and they were living in White Creek, New York according to the 1900 census along with their 3 children, Winona Woodward, Leon D Woodward, and Clinton Woodward.

In summary, this is what I know about Ann Eliza Turner - 

Ann Eliza Turner, daughter of Gideon S Turner and Eliza T. Atwood, was born on 25 October 1842 in Salem, Washington County, New York. She died on 1 April 1911 in Danby, Rutland County, Vermont (age 68). She married (1) Aaron Hulet. He was born on 27 March 1835. He died on 20 November 1894 (age 59). She married (2) Joseph Burr Niles, son of Jonathan Niles and Mary Slocum, on 23 December 1896 in Shaftsbury, Bennington County, Vermont. He was born on 6 July 1837 In Shaftsbury. He died on 13 Jan 1920 in Shaftsbury (age 82).

Saturday, November 23, 2013

GRANT surname distribution

Randy Seaver over at the blog Genea-Musings has an on-going series, Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. I decided to try out tonight's exercise, which is to map out where families with the Grant surname resided In the USA in a few selected census years - 1840, 1880 and 1920. The Surname Distribution Map is located at the link here on Besides the maps, the page also presents some facts about families with the chosen surname.

For my GRANT surname, I learned that -
Grant Name Meaning
English and (especially) Scottish (of Norman origin), and French: nickname from Anglo-Norman French graund, graunt ‘tall’, ‘large’ (Old French grand, grant, from Latin grandis), given either to a person of remarkable size, or else in a relative way to distinguish two bearers of the same personal name, often representatives of different generations within the same family.English and Scottish: from a medieval personal name, probably a survival into Middle English of the Old English byname Granta (see Grantham).Probably a respelling of German Grandt or Grand.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

The Grant surname distribution map for 1840 -
Grant surname distribution in 1840

In 1840, New York and Maine had the highest number of Grant families. My direct descendants were living on both sides of the Rhode Island/Massachusetts border in Bristol County, RI and Bristol County, MA. Some families had moved in the proceeding 20 years to early mill towns in Rhode Island.

The GRANT surname distribution map for 1880 -
Grant surname distribution in 1880
New York and Maine are joined by Massachusetts, and the two southern states of Georgia and South Carolina as having the largest numbers of Grant families in 1880.

The GRANT surname distribution map for 1920 -
Grant surname distribution in 1920
New York, Massachusetts, Georgia and South Carolina have the most Grant families in 1920. Maine has dropped down to the next category size. Notice that the "number of Grant families" color divisions do not stay constant for all three map time periods. There is a large increase in total Grant families in 1880, and a decrease in number in 1920. Randy noticed the same thing in his post for the Seaver surname distribution, and this is counter-intuitive to me. I would think, in general, that the total number of families in a not uncommon surname would increase with time. It is possible, however that both the Seaver and Grant surnames buck that trend. Perhaps the counter does not work the same for both census years??

There are a few other facts about the Grant surname from the same link on Ancestry -

Family origin of the Grant surname in the US -

Ancestry computes the number of Grant families who immigrated to the United States thru New York for the period, 1851 - 1891. These Grant families came after my direct ancestors who were living in Massachusetts and Rhode Island by the mid-17th century.
 Grant immigration information, 1851- 1891
In general, the following chart shows that Grants tended to live as long as the general public for the years tracked by the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), 1940 - 2000. It is interesting how life expectancy slowly increased in the post-war period,  increased steeply after 1960, and leveled off for the next 40 years. Ancestry says "An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family." I think there are too many Grant families to detect any meaning from this chart.
Average Life expectancy for persons with the Grant surname

Family Occupations from the 1880 US census data-
Families with the Grant surname are over-represented with respect to the general public in farming occupations in 1880. This is probably due to the many people of the Grant surname in the mostly rural southern states of Georgia and South Carolina, as well as the mostly rural state of Maine. By 1880, most of my Grant ancestors had moved from farming and were working as spinners in the Rhode Island mill towns. has a large index for Civil War soldiers. From its Civil War Service Records index, there were 2845 men with the Grant surname in the Civil War. Twice as many served in the Union Army as the Confederate Army - the numbers were 1881 for the Union and 964 for the Confederates. All of my known Grant ancestor Civil War soldiers were in the Union Army. This is not surprising since they all came from Rhode Island and Massachusetts!

And lastly, Ancestry maintains the message boards on Rootsweb. There are 34 messages on 2347 threads. Some might have been posted by me way back when I first started looking into my family history about the year 2000. Now social media is used much more for querying about ancestors.

All in all, this was an interesting project. I think I need to do it also soon for my maternal  line of Veith. I suspect there will be far fewer individuals with that surname, and possibly more useful information can be gleamed.

Thanks Randy for a fun project!.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Harwich, MA World War I & World War II Memorial

In honor of Veteran's Day 2013 -

There is a rock with a memorial plaque in Doane Park in Harwich Port, Massachusetts. This small park lies in between Main Street (Route 28) and Lower County Road, and is across the street from the Harwich Port Post Office.

In Memory of the Men of
Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice

                         World War I                                                         World War II

                    Valmer H Bassett                                                    Raymond A Arsenault
                    Clarence L Berry                                                     Donald H Barrett
                    J Wilton Berry                                                         George R Dreher
                    Earle M Chase                                                        Watson B Eldredge, Jr
                    Leslie M Clark                                                         Robert H Megathlin
                    Scott C Nickerson                                                    Robert V Paine
                    Josiah D Nickerson                                                  Clarence C Peters

                                                              Dedicated 1948