Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

A Proud Grandma February 3, 2018

IMG_5122    Grandson Ethan is in third grade and he and his 150+ classmates had an assignment where they had to interview a senior relative about what their life was like when they were in third grade.  Well today was presentation day where proud parents and grandparents gathered to see the results.  Our grandson Ethan interviewed me as his senior relative and here is his presentation of the results.  I thought he was quite clever in his presentation and his interpretation –  but no cleverer than his many classmates of such a variety of ethnicities.  it was a fun day for all concerned – especially the sampling of favorite recipes from the many countries represented.  Ethan’s favorite recipe was for Irish Apple Cake which he and his mom made.

IMG_5118  Ethan explaining his project to his mom/mum Susan.  If he had asked me what was my favorite recipe I would have said Apple Crisp – which is kind of like Irish Apple Cake.  But Apple Crisp is straight out of Betty Crocker.  Ethan has a mixed heritage from Ireland and North America.


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.


Connecting The Generations July 10, 2016

Filed under: Ancestors,Grandparents,Great Great Grandparents — Janet @ 4:44 pm

iconic image by grant wood

I like to think of the generations stretching back from my grandparents.  Three of my 4 grandparents were alive when I was born.  I have memories of two of them – my maternal grandfather and my paternal grandmother.  So the Great Greats somehow do not seem so remote if people I knew could remember their grandparents etc.  Oh the questions I could have asked.


May 1 – My Maternal Grandmother’s Birth Date May 1, 2016

My maternal grandmother was born in Boston Massachusetts on May 1 1872 and was accordingly named May Belle.  Sounds as if her parents, James D. K. Willis and Ellen Cummings, were delighted.

  May Belle as a young mother in Minneapolis Minnesota, April or May 1912

May Belle and Auntie with Betsy and JanetGrandmother May Belle (on the right)  in Spring 1940, shortly before she died in July 1940 – Winchester Mass  The 2 little girls are her grand daughters, and the other woman is her sister-in-law “Auntie”

  my grandmother May Belle in later years, the 1930’s, in Winchester Massachusetts


A Family Comes To North America February 29, 2016

Yes, it was in the 1600’s.  An English family was just one of many to gather their belongings and board a ship bound for North America.  My ancestors.  It gives me a thrill to find named ancestors – my ancestors – part of this wave of people from the British Isles.  Hopes and dreams, in pursuit of religious freedom?  Why did each person come?  Can I put myself in their shoes knowing that I am a direct descendent?

Richard Woodward and Rose Stewart on board the Elizabeth of Ipswich

John Ufford, just a boy coming to the New World

Sir James Miller and Lady Janet Melvin

Judge Samuel Hawley

Captain William French and Mary White

William Jones and Hannah Eaton

Richard Booth

Alce Mousall

Immigrant Ancestor Ship 3-1


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


Wedding Anniversary December 28, 2015

Filed under: Family history,Family Photos,Grandparents — Janet @ 2:33 pm

I’m thinking of my parents today.  They were married 80 years ago today on December 28 1935.  My sisters and brother were in attendance.  It was a home wedding in my grandmother and grandfather’s home in Winchester Massachusetts.  They went to the nearby Oakley Country Club to spend their wedding night.  I must ask my sisters who looked after them while my parents were away. They tell me that during the wedding festivities my grandmother made sure they were well looked after.  She was a very loving woman.  My mother was the middle daughter, the youngest daughter had had a big church wedding not long before, and the oldest daughter married not long after in 1936.  My sisters were flower girls for that wedding.

I don’t have any photos of my parents’ wedding but this photo would have been taken near the time.


and this photo one year laterIMG_0002

my grandmother and grandfather and auntie, my grandfather’s sister


our home in Belmont MassachusettsIMG_0004

A bit about Oakley Country Club where my mother and father met.

In November of 1898, the one hundred fifty members of the Cambridge Golf and Country Club changed its name to Oakley Country Club. Oakley was founded upon two principles: First, to provide an opportunity for outdoor sports and second, to provide a congenial meeting place for friends. Although many changes have occurred during the past century, the principal purposes remain the foundation of Oakley’s reputation and success.

Our original Charles Bulfinch-designed clubhouse was built as a residence in 1808 and as Oakley’s clubhouse became the focal point for all activities for 65 years. Shortly after the club was founded, a young golfer arrived from Scotland to redesign Oakley’s golf course and to compete professionally in America. Donald Ross would grow from his initial employment at Oakley as a golf pro, to greenkeeper and club maker, to become one of the legendary golf course architects of the twentieth century.

While any “Donald Ross” course is distinctive and distinguished, the uniqueness of Oakley Country Club’s Golf Course is that it represents the very first Ross golf course design in America.

banner_AM oakley



Genealogy – Blog 3A – Reflections on the Life of Grandma Miller July 10, 2015

Filed under: Grandmothers,Grandparents,Mary Elizabeth Murdock — Janet @ 1:23 am

Grandma Miller – Mary Elizabeth Murdock, 1863-1954      Her life spanned nearly a century.  Born a farm girl in Crown Point, New York, on the shores of Lake Champlain – not far from where I went to college in Middlebury Vermont.   Born shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation in the middle of the Civil War.  She grew up in Crown Point and after finishing high school, she went away to Albany New York to attend the Normal School/College there, a distance of a little over 100 miles, an estimated 2 hour drive in 2015.  In the l870’s how would Mary have travelled?  Was there train service?  She pursued a 2 year course of studies so she was probably only 16 or 17 when she graduated with her teaching qualification.

Back in Crown Point, Mary Elizabeth’s mother, Lucy Anna Warner, died on March 2, 1878.  She was only 35 years old.

Mary had a younger sister, Isabella born in 1869.  Isabella had a short life – sadly she died at age 11 0r 12 some time after the U.S. Census in June 1880.

Mary was trained to be a teacher, about the only occupation for educated women, at that time.  Family rumour has it that Mary responded to an advertisement for a woman to look after the 2 children of Charles Dana Miller, a widower in Newark Ohio.  The children were in their early teens.  Presumably the advertisement was for a tutor and the teaching duties could be combined with housekeeping.  The father in question had been a widower for some time since 1867 or 1868.  The 2 infant children were subsequently looked after by one of his sisters.

IMG_0014     Mary Elizabeth Murdock, 1880?

to be continued


Not Neglecting The Knitting July 9, 2015

Cat on Lofoten    Before I write about knitting, I can’t resist the latest photo from the Lofoten Islands in Norway.  My daughter-in-law Susan is nearing the end of her trip to Norway.  In the Lofoten Islands she found this cat enjoying some fish cake scraps.

Below are 2 photos of my latest scarf.

latest scarf 001         latest scarf 003

I’m trying to concentrate on my genealogy project but just to show you other things are going on also.

Here is my part of my attempt to keep the generations straight.  The yellow tags are my grandparents, reading from the left: Charles Dana Miller, Mary Elizabeth Murdock, Alfred William Friend, May Belle Willis

latest scarf 002     latest scarf 006