Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Another Old Homestead May 30, 2017

IMG_3236  This is the house in Winchester where my grandparents and great aunt lived from the mid 1920’s to early 1940.  They moved from Omaha Nebraska back to the Boston area when my mother was 12 years old.  Her sisters were 17 and 11.

I was told by the present owner that the house is 100 years old – first built in 1917.  My mother and father were married in this house in December 1935.

  My Great Aunt Gussie(Auntie) and my Grandfather (Fred) and Grandmother May on the front porch of the Winchester house, 1939


The Old Homestead May 29, 2017

IMG_3259  the house where I grew up in Belmont Massachusetts, photo taken in May 2017

This is how the house looked when I visited this past week during my trip to Boston.  I don’t know the present owners.  My mother sold the house in the late 1960’s when she moved to Hawaii and I was in Kenya.  My sisters and I have visited the neighborhood several times since then and just reminisced about all the good times we shared there.  My father was the first owner of the house, built in 1926-27.  This neighborhood was part of a new housing development built on the Benton Estate.  Belmont was still a rural town  with many farms not far from the center of Boston.

In May 2017 the house was looking pretty much the same as in the 1940’s when I was growing up.  The most striking difference to me was the landscaping around our house and in fact all around the neighborhood.  Everything was looking very crisp – and beautiful.  It had always been a nice looking neighborhood in earlier days but not quite so professionally done.

IMG Here I am standing in front of the house all ready for my first day of school in the early 1940’s

IMG_0004  an even earlier picture of the house


Laces of Ipswich January 4, 2017

A great find – this book, The Laces of Ipswich, The Art and Economics of an Early American Industry by Marta Cotterell Raffel is perfect for combining my interests in history, genealogy, and economics.  I am only marginally interested in lace making in that it relates to weaving…..but this is a thoroughly researched picture of an industry in early New England and just maybe some of my ancestors!

img_2172    The Laces of Ipswich


whipple-house  Whipple House, Ipswich Massachusetts – some of the work highlighted in this book are displayed in Whipple House.



Historic House December 16, 2016


The oldest House in Glastonbury was built in 1649, by Lt. John Hollister, and originally stood on the bank of the Connecticut River. Due to frequent flooding, it was moved to its current location, on Tryon Street, near Roaring Brook, in 1721. The rear lean-to, added around 1830, gave the house a saltbox shape. Hollister probably did not live in this house himself, as he maintained his main residence in Wethersfield, across the river. Instead, he rented it to three tenants, the brothers Josiah, Jonathan and John Gilbert, who farmed his land on the east side of the river. Hollister’s descendants would later make the house their ancestral home for many generations.



Genealogy Route From John Hollister, Builder of the Oldest House in Glastonbury Connecticut, My 9th Great Grandfather

The oldest house in Glastonbury Connecticut, built by Lt. John Hollister


My 9th Great Grandfather Lt. John Hollister 1612-1665

My 8th Great Grandmother  Mary Hollister 1650-1713

My 7th Great Grandfather  Capt. John Welles 1676-1735

My 6th Great Grandmother  Phebe Welles  1707-1770

My 5th Great Grandmother  Sarah Ufford 1728-1804

My 4th Great Grandfather Stiles Curtiss 1761-1827

My 3rd Great Grandmother Betsey Curtiss Wooton 1791-1877

My 2nd Great Grandfather Henry W. Warner 1815-1859

My Great Grandmother Lucy Anna Warner 1843-1878

My Grandmother Mary Elizabeth Murdoch 1863-1954

My father Joseph Buckingham Miller 1891-1949

Me Janet Willis Miller 1936-


Barkham Manor, Wokingham, Berkshire April 22, 2016

Barkham Manor  Birthplace of 16th century ancestors (possibly)

Here is an item I just found on Wikipedia

“Another prominent farming family, that of Ball, is erroneously said to be that of George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington. They lived in the parish from the late 15th to the mid-17th century, but William Ball, the man once thought to have emigrated to Virginia and become Mary’s great grandfather, may have actually died in London and his family lived in the East Berkshire area for at least two more generations. This is still disputed by American relatives of Mary Ball.[3]”

I am currently struggling to establish the facts about this ancestor who emigrated to Virginia.  I thought all my ancestors came to New England.  Research  continues.


Beautiful College Campuses September 13, 2011

Filed under: Architecture,Geography,Houses,Knitting — Janet @ 12:52 am

I started the day with a review of 14 college campuses.  These campuses were highlighted by MSN.  I didn’t get beyond campus no. 7 – yes you can guess – it was Middlebury College, Middlebury Vermont.  I perused numerous photos of the campus and activities related to Middlebury.  Then I just happened to find a couple of my old photos from 50+ years ago.

  my Aunt Libby, my cousin Betsy (class of 1960 to be), the proud graduate Class of 1958, my mother,  my sister-in-law Lil.  My brother Bob must have taken the photo

And then I carried on looking at the list of 14.  Much to my surprise I found Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois. 

  a photo from the internet, Deering Library, Northwestern University     I spent many hours in that library but my eyes were blind to the architectural beauty of that building.  The Northwestern campus was so different from Middlebury.  I can only appreciate it in retrospect.

And more recently I have been admiring the beauty of the buildings on the University of Washington campus here in Seattle.

  the scale of the buildings on the UW campus is so huge – my photo can’t do justice.  This photo was taken on a lovely evening in May of this year.

I don’t know if UW made it to the list of 14 – I stopped at Northwestern and now that list seems to have vanished from the MSN selection.

A footnote to my comment about Northwestern – I attended 1958-59 and lived in a private house on Sheridan Road.  I was within easy walking distance of the the campus and particularly the building where the Geography Department was located and Deering Library was not far beyond that.  The campus extended much further north along the shores of Lake Michigan and I didn’t wander in that direction often enough to have any memory of it.  Quite by chance I was talking just a couple of days ago about that house on Sheridan Road.  I’m told it’s still a private house – my source of information is Franklin (of The Panopticon blog) with whom I did a couple of knitting workshops.  Franklin used to work not far from that very house but when I was living there Franklin hadn’t even been born.


A Bit of a Surprise – Look Again August 20, 2011

Filed under: Belmont,Family history,Family memories,Houses — Janet @ 1:18 am

I was idly reading the emails and notices this morning, including a daily newspaper from my hometown.  Today is the real estate day and up popped a picture of a house that looked rather familiar.  Was that my old house?  the house I grew up in?

  it doesn’t look quite right but it looked sufficiently similar to make me investigate further

My sister has been sending me some old photos and so I looked at the one from the latest mailing.  A picture of our house probably taken in the late 1920’s.  The house was built in 1926.

Upon further investigation I found that the house that had caught my eye intitally was actually built 12 years later than our house and was in a totally different part of town.  The house that was just sold is located on Belmont Hill and in fact it was a much bigger house than ours.  But ours was solidly built and although not in the more exclusive part of Belmont known as Belmont Hill, it was still in a very nice neighbourhood and I hope that the current occupants are as happy living there as our family was all those years ago.  Our street had its own hill where we used to ski and sled and in other seasons we could rollerskate down the hill and around the block.


This idleness of comparing houses and looking up street addresses thanks to google maps lead to all sorts of mind wanderings.

Here is a photo of my father and my sister Ruth, not long before they moved from School Street to the newly built house on Old Middlesex Road, 1926.

  I particularly treasure this photo.  My father as a younger man, 10 years before I was born.