Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

PreMemorial Day Visit May 31, 2017

On the weekend before Memorial Day I was visiting home territory in Boston Massachusetts.  While there I visited the cemetery in Winchester where my father and my maternal grandparents and great aunt are buried.  I had been wanting to do this for a long time.  My last and only previous visit to the Winchester cemetery had been 60 years ago in August 1957, the day of my grandfather’s funeral.



My Grandmother Mary Elizabeth Murdock, Another Snippet April 11, 2017


In 1882 at age 19 my grandmother married Major Charles Dana Miller.  There was a big difference in their ages.  At 46 he was old enough to be her father.  They went on to have 5 children – Myrtle in 1884, Ruth in 1886, Dana in 1887, Joseph in 1891, and Roy in 1893.  Major Miller, though in ill health as a result of injuries incurred in the Civil War, was an active member in their local community of Mt. Vernon Ohio.  For health reasons, they spent a certain amount of time in Florida.  Was this an asthmatic condition?  But it was in Mt. Vernon where he died at the still young age of 61 in 1898.  Mary became a widow with 5 young children.

I recall being told that he had an encounter with a burglar in the cellar of their home in Mt. Vernon.  Gun shots were exchanged and a bullet shattered a glass jar used to preserve fruits and vegetables.  He was cut by a piece of glass, blood poisoning developed, proving to be fatal.  That’s the story in my memory.

Alternatively I have subsequently read that his death was due to skin cancer.  Quite different.  That is the cause of death given in the book about his service in the Civil War – Struggle for the Life of the Republic.

Reading the obituary published following his death, the writer indicates that Charles was a man of small stature/light frame and nervous temperament.  This implies that he was not 100% healthy at the time of his enlistment in 1861, at age 25.  Despite this he served valiantly until his honorable discharge in 1964.  Over the years  he went on to father 7 children.  In later life he spent time in Florida, for health reasons.  Near the end he returned to Newark and failed  more rapidly.     I think this sounds like cancer.  Or possibly his problems with asthma and chronic bronchitis just lead to an early death.

Questions – family mysteries.


My Grandfather’s Obituary January 10, 2016

Filed under: Ancestors,Genealogy,Grandfathers,Grandma Miller,Grandparents — Janet @ 3:59 am

A long obituary for my father’s father – July 1898, Newark Daily Advocate

Major Charles Dana Miller

Civil War Veteran

I can’t upload this obituary at the moment – technical problems.  Tech support is coming tomorrow watch the big football game.  Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings.  Go Seahawks!  Brr.

Charles Dana Miller Cedar Hill Cemetery turn this photo 90 degrees to the right


Ancestors From Scotland July 27, 2015

Filed under: Ancestors,Genealogy,Grandfathers,Scotland — Janet @ 6:17 pm

My latest discoveries in the exploration of my ancestry – people who lived in Scotland in the 1500’s.  These names in the Miller chain are new to me.  In a glass door bookcase in our house in Belmont Mass. where I grew up, there were 2 blue genealogical books.  One for the Miller line, the other for the Murdock line – both lines on my father’s side.  I had a fascination for browsing these books and reading about the ancestors recorded therein.  One record that always stuck in my mind was that of an ancestor named Sen Miller who emigrated from Scotland to come to North America.  He settled in Charlestown.  His son either came with him or followed.  Also I had the impression that they had originated on the Isle of Skye.  Now thanks to Ancestry.com I have discovered additional evidence of Scottish ancestry.    James and John Melvin are my  8x and 9x Great Grandfathers.

From Ancestry.com

This name MELVIN derives its name from a place ‘Melville’ in Midlothian. These lands were the earliest possession of the family, from where they took their name. Early records of the name mention Hugh de Malleville, 1202, Scotland. Gregory de Malville, granted the monks of Newbattle, the passage through his lands of Retrevyn in the year 1264. On August 31st 1786, the Admiralty announced the first fleet of Convicts were to be taken to Australia. There were in all eleven vessels. It was an eight month passage, and 1,500 people were to travel. It was overcrowded, the prisoner’s quarters had no portholes or sidelights, the lower decks were as dark as the grave, and lanterns were banned for fear of fire. The first convicts were loaded from Woolwich docks on 6th January 1787, men and women separated. They were kept on board for several months, mostly all petty criminals, forced to crime by a pitiful necessity. It was not until the evening of May 12th, 1787, the first ship weighed anchor, and the ships finally sailed on Sunday May 13th at 3 am. A gentleman called Robert Melville from London, had a book stolen from him, and a small boy named William Francis, was one of the young men sent for 7 years transportation. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. Rear Admiral George W Melville (1841-1912) U.S.N. Artic Explorer, was the grandson of a Scot from Stirling. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.


My Grandfathers April 29, 2015

Filed under: Family history,Family photographs,Genealogy,Grandfathers — Janet @ 6:15 pm

  Charles Dana Miller, 1836-1898        IMG_0013Dad's childhood home Buena Vista Hill Newark Ohio  my grandfather’s home, 285 Buena Vista, Newark Ohio





IMG_0001  Fred – Alfred William Friend, July 4, 1874 – August 4, 1957      photo taken winter 1939-40 (?)  age 66?


IMG_0001  shoveling snow, Winchester Mass.

IMG_0004  my grandfather’s handwriting  about his 3 daughters Elizabeth, Dorothy, and Alice, 1930