Porter-Holden’s,  I was surprised to look back and see that I haven’t really written about Chapin Holden. I’ve mentioned him, but never actually focused a post on him.

C B Holden headstoneToday marks the 165th Anniversary of the birth of my 3rd Great Grandfather Chapin Balean Holden. He was born 1st February 1849 to Dr. Charles Morrill and Sarah Ann (Skiff) Holden in Reading Center, New York, the fifth of their twelve children.  The family moved to Michigan in about 1852 and settled in Courtland Township, Kent County where Doctor Holden served the community and farmed.

At the age of 20, Chapin married Phebe Jenny Tefft, the daughter of Lewis and Phebe (Sweet) Tefft, in Courtland Township on 30 June 1869. At the time of the 1870 Census the couple lived with his parents. On 6 May 1872 they had a son Herman Russell Holden. Jenny died at only 21 on 5 February 1875. In May of the following year Chapin married my 3rd Great Grandmother Lois Adell Blakeslee (the daughter of Aaron and Julia Ann (Tanner) Blakeslee). Lois and Chapin had five children Glen Walton in 1877, Jennie D. in 1882, my 2nd Great Grandmother Lula Vanche in 1886, Erie D. in 1888 and Minnie Lee in 1891.

From what I can find I don’t believe Glen married. Jennie married George Raymer around  1900. Lulu married Charles Erwin Porter in 1904. Erie married Elizabeth A. Sourbutts in 1908. And Minnie Lee died at the age of 16 of appendicitis.

Chapin died on Christmas Eve in 1931 after a lingering illness. According to his obituary he farmed in Courtland Township for about 60 years in addition to serving his community. Other sources note that in 1904 he was elected Constable for Courtland Township. By 1920 he and Lois had retired to Cedar Springs Village in Solon Township. Chapin was buried in Courtland Cemetery.

I know there are more sources for information on Chapin’s life in the collection of the Rockford Historical Museum–notes in Farm Books, mentions in the Rockford Register, etc. Another mini goal is for me this year is to get out to see the new museum and look into how their move has effected research at the museum.

Happy hunting,

Jess

Sarah Ann (Skiff) HoldenSomeone’s birthday is today—she knows who she is! But it’s also the 191st Anniversary of our shared 4th Great Grandmother’s birth. Sarah Ann Skiff was born 20 September 1822 in Schuyler County, NY to Russell and Sarah (Davis) Skiff. She married Charles Morrill Holden in November of 1842 in Yates County, NY. The couple moved their family to Michigan in the mid-1850s where Charles worked as a doctor and farmed. They had 12 children with a wide range of fun names. My 3rd Great Grandfather Chapin was their 5th child, and his daughter was the recently featured Lula (Holden) Porter.

Happy hunting,

Jess

The month has gotten away from me and I apologize for my miss of Not Quite Wordless Wednesday last week… but I’m trying to get back ahead!

Lula V. (Holden) Porter & Mother, 1952Today’s photo features my 2nd Great Grandmother Lula Vanche (Holden) Porter.

Today marks the 127th anniversary of her birth in Osceola County, Michigan. She was the third child of Chapin and Lois (Blakeslee) Holden and she married my 2nd Great Grandfather Charles Erwin “Win” Porter in September of 1904 in Courtland Township, Kent County, Michigan. My Great Grandmother Crystal was her third child of seven.

This photograph is from my Gran’s collection. It was taken in April or May of 1952 and falls into a great run of pictures of my mother with everyone who could get their hands on her. Lula was widowed within a month or two of this photo–Win died in June. My Gran remembers her fondly–especially as a great source for gossip (they were kindred spirits). Lula died in June of 1973.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Lorna HoldenSo, as I was running through anniversaries related to this date I came upon the fact that today is the 114 anniversary of the birth of my 1st cousin 4 times removed, Lorna Holden DeBoer. She was the daughter of Kendric Charles Holden (son of Charles and my Chapin’s youngest sibling) and Minnie Isabel Porter (George’s middle sibling). She married John DeBoer in 1921 and they had two children Gaylord and Eleanor. Eleanor in turn married my Great Uncle Darcy (my Great Grandmother Crystal’s brother).

And it seems a great time to express my thanks to the Holden and Porter family who have shown an interest in our common relatives and inspired me to continue researching. As I’ve mentioned before, Lorna penned a book on her aunt, Xantippe, which fellow researchers pointed out to me early on. In my early days as a librarian in Rockford I had the great luck to reconnect with Phyllis (Porter) Dolislager as well as take an informative life writing workshop from her. And the Porters and Holden’s have been tremendous donors to the Rockford Area Historical Museum—where I found countless bits of family memorabilia, family history, and photographs. So many of you have come forward to help with, share, or just be a great audience for my research and I really appreciate it. And that includes Carole, Janet, Uncle Aaron, Uncle Louis, Kathy and my original Porter source, Grandpa Bailey.

Thank you all!

Happy hunting,

Jess

This photo was copied from the Rockford Area Historical Museum and is a picture of Lorna Holden.

Eugene Robert Baker, My 1st Cousin Thrice Removed

To all the many who didn’t make it back home and the families they left behind. We remember.

In my family that includes:

Two of my first cousins thrice removed…

Lt. Eugene Robert Baker, 370th and 401st Fighter Squadrons of the U.S. Air Corps, the son of Ethan Rex and Grace (Van Vyven) Baker—named for his grandfather (and my 3rd Great Grandfather), Eugene Smith Baker. He was killed in action 13 Aug 1944 in Chartres, France.

Sgt. Robert S. Baker, Co M 119th Infantry 30th Division, the son of Hollis Lapham and Nora (Beers) Baker, died 13 Sep 1944 also in France.

And my 3rd Great Grand Uncle, Americus G. Holden, Co H, 21st Infantry Regiment of Michigan, the son of Charles and Sarah (Skiff) Holden. He was sent home sick from his post in Tennessee and died of his illness 30 Aug 1864.

All three have military headstones at Rockford Cemetery, Rockford, Michigan.

Happy hunting,

Jess

P.s. I made a large error at the end there… Americus Holden is buried in Courtland Cemetery. Thank you for the correction, Carole!

This is another find from the Rockford Area Historical Museum.

Today marks 170 years since my 4th Great Grandparents Dr. Charles Morrill Holden and Sarah Ann Skiff married in Reading Center, Yates County, New York. This is an invitation to their 40th anniversary party but they celebrated 56 years of marriage before Charles died in 1898.

Happy hunting,

Jess

Today is the 126th Anniversary of my Grandma Porter’s birth. This makes her and Grandpa Porter’s headstone the perfect pick for this week’s Tombstone Tuesday. This is the resting place of Lula Vanche (Holden) Porter and her husband Charles Erwin “Winn” Porter. The photo is from Courtland Cemetery in Courtland Township, Michigan the final resting place of many members of the Holden and Porter families. It was taken by me in the winter of 2002.

Happy Hunting,

Jess

I had the chance to head back to Rockford, MI on Saturday to meet up with some of the ladies I used to volunteer with at the Rockford Historical Museum as well as do a little research. I’ve mentioned it before but I have got to repeat… It is absolutely amazing what you can find in small local museum collections.

One of my goals on Saturday was to look at some of the society related holdings—like the membership ledger of Rockford’s Odd Fellows or the Rockford Garden Club—and a few of the old farm and mill ledgers. Both types of ledgers offer a snapshot of something important to the men and women involved.

With societies and fraternal  orders it shows you something they believed in the importance of—for humanitarian or social status reasons—enough to pay dues. And each comes with its own elements of bureaucracy, for example, in the case of the I. O. O. F. ledger, entries gave the occupation, age, and dates of advancements within the society for its members along with the credits and debits associated with tracking dues. The page below is for my 5th Great Uncle Embree Lapham.

The farm and mill ledgers give an interesting—if hard to read—look at the day-to-day commitments of this hardworking lot. The shot below is a random page that just happened to include a payment to Dr. Charles Holden (my 4th Great Grandfather) for medical attendance. As you flip through the pages there are a number of people mentioned but in 1867 alone there are a number of mentions of Dr Holden as well as his sons Horatio and Chapin (my 3rd Great Grandfather ).

What else might you find in those out-of-the-way and under promoted museums? Pictures, surname files, genealogies, cemetery records, artifacts, bibles, etc. Sometimes families want to pare down their collections, share their history, or promote their towns. All of that fabulous treasure has the potential to end up in community collections. So, it is totally worth checking them out, asking questions, and (dare I add) helping out at your local museum.

Happy hunting,

Jess

My second day away was split between the Local History Collection at the Krause Memorial Branch of the Kent District Library and the Rockford Historical Museum. Both are places I used to all but live, but it’s been years since I’ve spent much time at either.

At the library I worked exclusively with Microfilm of the Rockford Register which, though a substantial amount is indexed through the Western Michigan Genealogical Newspaper Society’s Index, is housed solely at the Rockford Library. It’s been forever since I’ve been able to even visit the branch so I was thrilled to see the improvements that have been made. My old shared office is now a wireless lounge on one side and the local history collection and microfilm reader/printer on the other. And even though this is a long narrow room in the middle of one wing of the building, it was more comfortable than it’s ever been—at least for me. The other occupants of the lounge might not have approved of the sound of the microfilm reader.

It was a very successful trip though, further cementing a series of family connections through obits. I had been on the fence about Sarah Deer Helsel being related to Hannah Deer Reinshagen. But I was able to find their obituaries–right in a row (they died 24 hours apart). Hannah’s plainly names her sister, Sarah Helsel and mentioned her death the day before. With the remainder of my time I worked through a few different family names in the index and filled in gaps.

I only had a brief time at the Museum—I really want to go back soon—and so I spent it entirely looking for updates in the Surname Files. As I’ve mentioned before, Rockford is a community that has been home for my family for almost 170 years. And while not all my family has made it into the files—most have. The Laphams, Gilberts, Porters, and Holden’s have a tremendous amount of coverage in the archives but the Helsels, Morningstars, Groves, and Baileys have interesting files as well. And it’s totally worth going back and checking for updates. In this case, someone had reproduces the vital record pages from Dr. Charles Holden’s Family Bible. Someone had tucked a tintype of Seth Porter’s daughters Melissa Emeline and Minnie Isabel in the Porter file. And in the Bailey file I found a handwritten letter from Lizzie Bailey to her younger sister, Bertha Groner.

The Rockford Historical Museum is a goldmine of information. It’s also in the process of raising money to fund a renovation and move into the old city courthouse. If you have any family in the area consider looking into ways to help support the new museum!

Progress made!

Happy hunting, all!

Jess

I’m finding that one of my major uses of ACPL collection is tracking down published articles on my allied lines using the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) in HeritageQuest.

I have taken huge steps forward in my research starting with clues found in articles I never would have tracked down if not for working with the database. And it’s not because I have famous family the someone has written about—though I’ve been occasionally lucky to find articles featuring relatives—but PERSI has been great for tracking down transcribed records and articles relating to places important to my ancestors. My most notable find were records leading to my Irish Cop in Detroit.

But this trip, I was focusing on family names—doing general searchers on a number of surnames. I located articles on the Lapham family included a multi-issues article on the descendants on John Lapham, my Smith’s 4th great grandfather. I located a number of articles on Rev. George Burroughs who may be an ancestor through our Holden line. Then in I tried a couple of different searches looking for clues to verify some researchers’ claims that his 2nd great granddaughter, Elizabeth Parmenter, by way of his daughter, Hannah Burroughs Fox married into the Holden family.

I didn’t find anything relevant on the Parmenter line—though in hindsight I didn’t try a variety of spellings. I found citations for a number of interesting articles on the Lawrence family—not all of which I had time to track down—as well as a few on the Whitney/Shattuck line that connect to all of the allied Holden families from Martha’s Vineyard.  But what I thought would be the most useful search, turned out to be impossible.

I had hoped that the Fox line would be well-documented enough that I would be able to track down more solid sources for the suggested connection. Hannah Burroughs had married Jabez Fox the son of an early Harvard Grad and the 2nd minister at Woburn, Massachusetts. And the family is intertwined in the histories of Cambridge, Groton, and Woburn in Massachusetts. So I first went to PERSI and typed in Fox in a Surname Search. I got the very annoying response, “No results were found that matched your request.” I couldn’t believe that no one had ever written about the family. So I tried again, same answer. And on a hunch I tried a couple of other 3-letter surnames, all with the same answer.

It would seem that you cannot do a PERSI surname search on 3-letter names—at least through HeritageQuest. I played with it for a while before approaching one of the ACPL librarians who came up with the same results. Now, on the plus side, she did come to me later to let me know that you can search PERSI through Ancestry fairly successfully. I was able to work with that for the remainder of my trip. But I have the ulterior motive of being a co-database trainer at my home library—and all library editions of Ancestry are not equal. PERSI isn’t available at all in my library’s version.

All that said HeritageQuest is a resource I use a great deal. What I couldn’t find in PERSI was almost made up for with what I found in the Books section of the website including genealogies on the Fox, Lawrence and Whitney families that give me a little more faith in the Burroughs claims. But the issue with 3-letter surnames seems to be a glaring error.

Happy hunting,

Jess

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 356 other followers