The Single Most Favorite Double in the World

1979 Doublemint twins ad from YouTube.

This week the theme is ‘multiples’. This theme was almost too broad for me to decide what to write about! After some debate I narrowed it down to two topics. After looking at the 2021 weekly topics list I felt the other story would fit into an October theme and this particular story for this week didn’t really fit anywhere else. So, this week we’re talking about multiple births. I’m going to look into something I’ve always wondered: how many sets of twins did my direct-line ancestors have? I’ll be going back as far as my 2nd great grandparents. I chose that as a stopping point so this blog doesn’t get too lengthy. Out of the 8 pairs of my 2nd great grandparents, 3 of the couples had twins.

Dad’s Family: Double Your Sentiment

90’s Doublemint twins ad.

In the 21st century the statistical probability of having twins is about 3%, or 3 in 100. That is a higher probability than previous generations. In my family (in that 2nd-great-grandparent generation) mixed sets of twins were more popular (mixed meaning a boy-girl set of twins versus same-sex twins). Out of my dad’s great grandmothers, he had one who had twins. Eliza Emoline BELL WILLIAMS (and her husband, Samuel Morris WILLIAMS) had a set of twins in 1900- two boys named Lorenzo Dall and William Sherman WILLIAMS. Neither baby survived. I’m guessing the babies are probably buried in Oakland Cemetery in Success, Texas County, Missouri since the family lived in that area and other family members are buried in that cemetery but I can’t say for certain where the babies were buried. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this family today because I’ve written about them quite a bit. You can find previous posts at:

Mom’s Family: Double Good

Early iteration of the Doublemint twins ads.

My 2nd great grandmother, Sarah C. DAVIS REITER, and her husband Nicholas Wilhelm REITER had a set of twins in 1864. My mom thinks Sarah’s twins were mixed – one boy and one girl. She can’t remember their names but is going to try to find that information for me. I’ve not found their names anywhere but if mom locates that information I’ll be sure to let you know. The babies did not survive. I don’t know where they’re buried but I’m sure it’s in Illinois, in the area of Perry, Pike County, Illinois since that’s where the family lived. This is another family I’ve written about quite a bit so I won’t spend a lot of time on them today. You can read more about Sarah and her family at:

My 2nd great grandmother, Druziller Mahala LATTY BULLOCK (and her husband James Mathaniel BULLOCK), also had a set of twins born in 1892. For this grandma though, both twins survived – one girl named Alice May and one boy named Oscar Morris.

1982 Wrigley’s Doublemint gum twins ad.

Alice May and Oscar Morris BULLOCK were born 17 April 1892 in Benton County, Arkansas. They remained in Benton County, Arkansas until after they married. Alice married Martin Rotramel when she was 17 years old. Together, Alice and Martin and had 8 children – and no twins. Here is Alice in her later years with her dog, Major. I love this photo.

Alice BULLOCK ROTRAMEL and her dog, Major.

Alice lived to be 92 years old! The last 52 years or so of her life she lived in Delaware County, Oklahoma. Alice passed away on 1 December 1984 in Jay, Delaware County, Oklahoma. She’s buried in Hillcrest Cemetery beside her husband in Gravette, Benton County, Arkansas where her parents are buried.

Oscar Morris BULLOCK grew up with his family in Benton County, Arkansas. He served as a Private in the U.S. Army as evidence by the Army transport document below.

Army Passenger List.

I don’t fully understand that document. It looks like perhaps he was transported to a Veterinary Hospital. It would be interesting to know what he did in the Army. Oscar fought in World War I. I do know he arrived in New York in June of 1919 on his way to fight in France.

Army transport document.

According to military records, Oscar was serving with Veterinary Hospital #16 MR. as a Private V.C.. Oscar served in France in 1919. During that time, the final US deaths of the war happened and the Treaty of Versailles was drawn up. The treaty was signed the day after Oscar arrived back on US soil. Oscar shipped out from Marseille, France on the ship Taormina and arrived home at New York, USA on 27 June 1919.

Some researchers say that at age 27 Oscar married Stella BROWN. He lived in California at the time but the marriage certificate was in Arkansas. I haven’t done extensive research on this line so I can’t say what really happened. I know that in his obituary no children or wife were listed. Oscar passed away at 80 years of age. He died on 17 February 1973 in Fayetteville, Washington County, Arkansas. He was buried in the Fayetteville National Cemetery in Fayetteville, Washington County, Arkansas.

Doing the Numbers

So, let’s bring this all together. I looked at all my direct line ancestors from my parents up through all of my 2nd great grandparents. The only generation that included twins were my 2nd great grandparents’. Out of 8 sets of 2nd great grandparents, only 3 couples (2 on my mother’s side and 1 on my father’s side) had twins. The paternal set of twins passed away or were stillborn; their names were Lorenzo and William. One set of maternal twins also passed away or were stillborn and included one girl and one boy; I don’t know their names but they were given names. The final set of maternal twins (Alice and Oscar) lived to adulthood and at least one of them had their own offspring but did not have their own set of twins.

According to official statistics:

The gender chances of a fraternal twin pregnancy are; 25% chance that a mother will have two boys, 25% chance that a mother will have two girls, and 50% chance that a mother will have a boy and a girl. On the other hand, identical twins are always the same gender., accessed 28 Feb 2021.

So, according to Health Research Funding, Alice and Oscar were fraternal twins as were the DAVIS twins. Only the paternal twins- Lorenzo and William WILLIAMS- had a chance at being identical twins. I found that very interesting.

I was wondering about what my chances of having twins might have been in my childbearing years. Since 3 out of 8 couples in my 2nd great grandparents’ generation had twins, I felt like statistically I stood a better chance of having twins in my child bearing years. confirms it as does Washington State Twin Registry. Turns out, fraternal twins- especially if they occur on the mother’s side- are associated with an increased likelihood of twins being hereditary in families. I searched some more and I hit some good information:

A family history of identical twins does not necessarily make it more likely you’ll have multiples, although the offspring of male identical twins may be more likely to have their own identical twins. However, if you have fraternal twins (non-identical) in your family, your chances of conceiving twins rise. If there are fraternal twins on both the mother and father’s side, your odds for twins goes up even higher.

Lazarov S, Lazarov L, Lazarov N. Multiple pregnancy and birth: Twins, triplets and high-order multiples. OverviewTrakia J Sci. 2016;1:103-107. doi:10.15547/tjs.2016.01.015 

There are other factors that play a role as well. As it turns out, having children when you’re older increases your odds of having multiple births from one pregnancy. So I went back to my charts to check ages of the mothers. Eliza Emoline was 28 years old when she had Lorenzo and William. Sarah C. was 27 years old when she had her twins. Druziller Mahala was 34 years old when she had Alice and Oscar.

Final Thoughts

One last statistic about twins from Health Research Funding.

A woman named Mary Jonas, who died in 1899 had 15 sets of fraternal twins.

24 Interesting Fraternal Twins Gender Statistics – HRF (

I found that tidbit interesting since two sets of the twins I talked about today were born during the 1890’s. I will spare you one last Doublemint commercial. Hopefully the song is now stuck in your head so I don’t have to suffer that fate alone now.

If you’d like to learn more about the BULLOCK family, you can find more of my posts at:

If you’re looking for more blogs to read later in the week, you can go to:

If you’re interested in joining me on this family history writing adventure, well…the more the merrier! You can join at Amy Johnson Crow’s website. There’s a Facebook page that goes along with the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. The only rules are the rules you make up for yourself on this writing adventure. Anything you get down in writing is more than you had before so get writing! Don’t miss out on Amy’s blog and podcast either. Both are very good.

Enjoy your week and make the most of it!

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives Genealogy blog

There’s Power in Numbers

I had totally intended to write about my Power family this week but it seemed everyone else was and I prefer to do something different. My thoughts went in a few different directions: “power in the blood” (i.e.- the life of one of my several Reverends) or “power in numbers” (i.e.- many offspring), etc. About the middle of the week though, something happened and I wrote about neither. I wrote nothing but emails…but I’m getting ahead of myself. About the middle of the week RootsTech conference started and of course, due to Covid it’s virtual. One of the few things I’ve been grateful that Covid changed…one of the few things Covid changed for the better…is a free and virtual conference! So I got busy with RootsTech and they have this amazing online tool this year where you can see who is at the conference that you’re related to so I started finding all these cousins and messaging them through the FamilySearch system and folks, that’s all the family history writing I’ve done this week! It’s been fun, though! A few have responded back and some I’ve asked to guest write or co-write some blog posts. We’ll see if anyone is willing to do that…fingers crossed, knock on wood, rub the lucky rabbit’s foot, pray-pray-pray!! I love guest writers on the blog and haven’t had one for a long time! Anyway…I decided to combine “power in the blood” and “power in numbers” and revamp them a little so that today I’m not telling the story of an ancestor so much as I’m telling the story of who I’ve been in touch with this week. I hope you’ll stick around and read this one and then come back next week for an ancestor story.

It’s funny how knowing that someone is related to you changes how you feel about them. It changes how much leeway you’ll give them and changes how you interact with them. Even if you don’t think it does…it does. There’s something about a blood connection that changes the way you think about and interact with someone initially. Now…after you get to know them that might change, but initially it seems to make a difference. Not only does it make you more open to introducing yourself to strangers, it’s an eye-opening, visual experience in genetics. It’s been very interesting to see which lines of my families have lots of researchers at the genealogy conference and which have seemingly no one at all. I’m not a statistics person but surely the number of researchers in a specific line makes a difference in which lines of the family get preserved (as far as information, stories, and pictures) and which don’t. I thought it would be interesting to let you see who/which family lines I’ve been in touch with so far.

Power in the Blood AND the Numbers

Dad’s Lines

  • Braxton DRAKE/Martha Patsy GREER line: 1 person.
  • Mordecai MITCHELL/Lucretia HUTCHISON: 5 people.
  • Jesse BAKER/Mary BAIR: 1person.
  • John HUBBARD/Nancy CHAMBERS: 1 person.
  • Levi HUBBARD/Nancy Indiana WHITE: 21 people!
  • John HUBBARD/Nancy WEDDLE: 2 people.
  • Josep LARKIN/Mary LANE: 1 person.
  • Bartlett UNDERWOOD/Minerva BRINSFIELD/BRINCEFIELD: 1 person.
  • James LANE/Nancy CONKWRIGHT/CONKRITE: 1 person.
  • John WEDDING/Mary McAfee/McAtee: 1 person.
  • John WILLIAMS/Nancy WALLS(?): 1 person.
  • John BELL Jr./Sarah HARDIN: 4 people
  • Hardy HARDIN/Tabitha ROBERTS: 1 person.

Mom’s Lines

  • John BATES/Mary MOBLEY: 1 person.
  • Charles G. SEELY/Synthia FOSTER: 3 people.
  • George SEELY/Elizabeth SHELLY: 3 people.
  • Frederick FOSTER/Mary BURNETT/PICKENS: 5 people.
  • John SEELY/Katherine BRINKER: 1 person.
  • James GIBSON/Lucinda DOW: 2 people.
  • Samuel GIBSON/Lucinda BELL PETTIT: 7 people!
  • Henry DOW/Rebecca WHITE: 1 person.
  • James GIBSON/Sarah PHILLIPS: 5 people.
  • John DOW/Harty ELLIS: 2 people.
  • Benjamin WHITE/Mary ELSTON/WALDROP: 6 people!
  • James BULLOCK/Cynthia DALE: 4 people.
  • James Squire DALE/Elizabeth SMITH: 3 people.
  • John LATTY/Martha Frances SCOTT: 4 people.
  • Edwin WALLS/Delilah UNKNOWN: 1 person.

Each person I contacted was only counted once. That’s 89 people I’ve connected with so far! Some people are connections for lines I struggle with so that’s very exciting. There are several people I’ve asked to guest write or co-write a blog post about their branch of the family (or about our common ancestor, either way). Some have already given me leads to resources I didn’t know existed for our family! The computer only shows me 300 relatives out of a whopping 45,000+ that are registered for the conference!!! I probably won’t even get through all 300 but I got as far as 5th cousins as of this evening. I’ve also learned how I connect to several professional genealogists I follow. Amy JOHNSON CROW, one of my favorite genealogists, is my 7th cousin through my mom’s FOSTER line. Thomas MacENTEE, another genealogist is my 10th cousin twice removed through my dad’s LARKIN line. Michele Simmons LEWIS, another genealogy friend, is my 11th cousin through my dad’s GREER line. Not all of my favorite genealogists have shown up on RootsTech and some have been no relationship at all. It’s been fun to find out though and I love this online tool.

This is certainly an exciting weekend. It’s been dampened a little by the fact that my computer has decided it no longer wants to live but I’m going tomorrow to get a new one so the adventure can continue! (By the way, I apologize if this post is unreadable or has lots of errors. I was fighting a dying computer that was randomly deleting entire paragraphs and other crazy things.) Over the remainder of the weekend I will likely begin looking up DNA matches to see if I can find any connections there. I hope you have a fun, exciting weekend. Do something for yourself!

Until next weekend,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Unusual Sources, Part 1

I LOVE unusual sources for family history! I love that moment when you find family history in a completely unexpected place – something that makes you want to do the happy dance and get online to tell all your geni friends what you just found and where so they can look up that resource too to see if they can hit a jackpot like you did. So to see that this was included as a theme for 2021’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks was a bonus for me. I’m going for gold and trying to post one unusual resource I’ve found for both my paternal and maternal families in part 1. In part 2, I will post unusual sources I’ve used for my husband’s paternal and maternal families. I love this topic so much I may do parts 3 and 4 where I post unusual sources for my grandsons’ parents who aren’t my biological children. Since I don’t have one specific family to introduce, I’ll just jump right in.

Dad’s family

It’s been difficult to determine which governmental record to pull out and show you for my Dad’s family. I really wanted to talk about my 3rd great grand uncle Theodore “Clay” LARKIN and the pardon he received in 1906 from the governor, but it would take some explanation to tell you why I used the Annual Report of the Attorney General to the Governor of the State of Ohio to write Clay’s story. I could tell you about my 2nd great grand uncle Willard “Red” Nelson DRAKE and show you the Ft. Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary inmate case file that was kept on Red. I could tell you about finding my Dad’s doctoral thesis paper online at a university library. I could even tell you about documents I used to help me unravel the occupational story of my 2nd great grandfather who worked for Tulsa Vitrified Brick and Tile Company in the old Greenwood section of Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma or the documents crucial to fleshing out the story of my 3rd great grandfather who had a run-in with the short-lived Liberal Republican Party in 1870.

I could tell you all those things but instead, I’m going to tell you about some unusual records I found at the National Archives facility in Fort Worth, Texas. I was researching my great grandfather, Ralph LARKIN. Another researcher had posted a photo identification on Ancestry for Ralph and I wanted a copy of the identification plus the health records that went with it. I couldn’t get a response from the other researcher so I began to look around for who might hold records like that. I found out National Archives in Fort Worth held Bureau of Mine records for Oklahoma. That’s what prompted a trip to NARA in Fort Worth, Texas. You can read more about that trip here. I didn’t find the photo identification I wanted but I did find some other very unique records. One of those was a hand-drawn chart tracking medical checkups/conditions for various mine workers in the Picher, Ottawa County, Oklahoma area.

nara picher clinic ralph larkin doc 2
A hand-tabulated medical chart for a clinical study conducted by Dr. Frank V. MERIWETHER for Bureau of Mines’ Picher, Ottawa County, Oklahoma Clinic.
nara picher clinic ralph larkin doc
Close-up of Dr. MERIWETHER’s hand-tabulated chart showing entry for Ralph Larkin.

This one record was so unique and personal to my 2nd great-grandfather that it made the whole research portion of the trip worth going. Never underestimate the amount and type of information the government keeps on people. If you know how to find that information you will find some very unique and valuable records.

Bonus round for Dad’s family: While putting together this post, I learned that our John Bell Sr. was known for the suspicion that he was killed by the Bell Witch. Yes- THAT Bell witch. You can get a short synopsis of the Bell Witch legend at Wikipedia and then research it further from there. For whoever’s keeping count…that means I have witches/witch stories on both sides of my family!

Mom’s family

As with my Dad’s family, I could tell you about lots of unusual records I’ve found that tell me about my mom’s family history. School records hold a lot of data on a family with young children- families such as my grandparents’, Troy “Lum” and Jessie (RITER) BATES. Native American records hold a lot of valuable information you can’t find elsewhere and I treasure the records I’ve found for my 3rd great grandfather, Jefferson LATTY, and his mom Martha Frances “Fanny” (SCOTT) LATTY. I’ve even found the preacher’s license for my 3rd great-grandfather, Reverend Charles George SEELY, as well as receiving the church history records from the church he helped found and for which he was the first preacher. I’ve even found museum exhibits that gave me information about my REITER family history. I’m going to save all those records for another blog post because I want to tell you about one of the more interesting maps I’ve been able to use.

One resource that I’ve used from time to time are property maps. However, while recently searching for my mom’s family I found one that isn’t like any other property map I’ve found. It’s a “Settlement Map” for Franklin County, Virginia. Not only is it unusual, I was able to locate two lines of my mom’s family – the family of William TONEY (my 7th great-grandfather) and the family of Isaac BATES (my 6th great-grandfather). On the same map, I also located a line from my dad’s family – my 8th great-grandfather John GREER’s sons – along with a location named after my 7th great-grandfather Aquilla GREER)! Surprise!

Franklin County, Virginia Settlement Map


If you haven’t yet searched for maps online, I encourage you to look for them. There are so many interesting and unique maps online these days. Try searching for locations instead of people. One search term hint: try searching for a location plus the word map or a location plus a surname. Like this:

“Franklin County, Virginia” AND map


“Franklin County, Virginia” AND Toney

Using the quotation marks tells the search engine that every word inside the quotation marks must be found within a couple of words of each other instead of anywhere on the page in any combination. Adding the capitalized word ‘AND’ tells the computer that not only must it find the phrase in quotation marks, it must also find the other word on the same page. So for the first query, the search engine must find the phrase “Franklin County, Virginia” all together and your search results should only include pages that have that phrase PLUS the word ‘map’. Likewise on the second example except the word ‘Toney’ must be on the same page as “Franklin County, Virginia”. Learning to create better search terms helps you find information you would not otherwise find.

I’m wishing you all the best in your online searches this week! Try the examples above and see how it works for you. This will work on any search you do, not just genealogy searches. Try it out! If you find something wonderful- come back here and tell me about it!

Until next week,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Valentines in the Catskills

The theme for week 6 is ‘valentine’. I vaguely remembered seeing the name Valentine when working on our family histories. It turns out my husband has a paternal 8th great-granduncle named Valentine Felter KELDER that will work perfectly for this week’s ’52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks’ theme. My husband is related to Valentine through his paternal DEWITT line which is interesting because the DEWITT name unexpectedly (at least, unexpectedly for me) entered into Valentine’s story. The line of ascent is my husband’s great grandmother Lucille DEWITT WILLIAMS CULLOM to her father Milo, to Milo’s father Frances, to Frances’ father Richard, to Richard’s father John, to John’s father Peter, to Peter’s mother Maria KELLER DEWITT, to Maria’s father Jacob KELDER, and to Jacob’s parents Franz KELDER and Anna Barbara ADAM KELDER who are also the parents of Valentine Felter KELDER. Valentine apparently went by the name Felter, at least later in life. In this post though, I will refer to him as Valentine. His grandson who was his namesake also went by Felter and will be referenced later in the post.

Valentine Felter KELDER was born in 1720 in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York. Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York is located on the banks of the Hudson River. Dutchess County was only about 37 years old when Valentine was born there. Dutchess County was named for Mary of Modena, Duchess of York. (Wikipedia) Before being settled by the Dutch, this area of New York was home to the Native American Wappinger people – “an Eastern Algonquian-speaking tribe from New York and Connecticut”. (Wikipedia) The town of Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York got it’s name both from Rhineland in Germany and also from a local man of influence named Wilhelmus BEEKMAN. Once the Dutch settled in the area, the next wave to inhabit the location were Germans from about 1715-1730. From 1730-1775 it was mostly New Englanders who settled in the area. The KELDER family were among the Germans who settled in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York but they were early immigrants, arriving in New York City in 1710. The KELDERs came from Germany- some say Hesse-Darmstadt and some say Darmstadt-Dieburg. I don’t know enough about German geography to say one way or the other nor do I have the documents to prove either argument. I do suspect though, based on the devotion of the family to the Dutch Reformed Church, that a few generations before Franz KELDER the family was probably living in the Netherlands. The surname KELDER is of Dutch origin and comes from the Middle Dutch word ‘kelder’ which means ‘cellar’. KELDER is considered an occupational surname stemming from the occupation of ‘keepers of the cellar’ or a ‘waiter in a cellar’, particularly in a wine cellar. KELLER (the surname of later generations of the family) is a related name to KELDER. (Ancestry)

Images from Wikipedia showing the exterior and interior of the Old Dutch Church.

How the KELDERs Ended Up in Rochester, Ulster County, New York

In 1731 Valentine’s father, Franz, was granted 300 acres of land by the trustees of Rochester, Ulster County, New York and the family moved there and established themselves. The land was located “northwest of the Kings Highway extending to the Marbletown line”. (Town of Rochester Historic Farmstead Inventory. Marbletown is in Ulster County, New York.)

According to a variety of descriptions I found online, it appears that Franz KELDER’s 300 acres fell between the two black arrows. One description stated the property was bounded on one side by the Marbletown town line and on the other by the Rochester town line. All the property lies within Ulster County in New York and is at the edge of the Catskill Mountains.

Franz’s “homestead was located on Whitfield Road where the stone house on the Accord Speedway stands today”.

I believe this may be Franz KELDER’s stone house near Accord Speedway. There is another stone house nearby but it is slightly further from the speedway. Based on descriptions, I believe this one to be Franz KELDER’s home. Franz was Valentine and Jacob KELDER’s father.

According to the farmstead inventory, Franz also “operated a mill there”. (Town of Rochester Historic Farmstead Inventory) We know this was a sawmill because the sawmill was given to Joseph KELDER (Franz’ grandson and Valentine’s son) in Valentine’s 1796 will. (See below.) Franz’ heirs inherited pieces of the property. The property now known as Arrowhead Farm became the property of Valentine and Christine KELDER. The property is now considered a Rochester “Historic Farmstead” and is part of the KELDER-RIDER-DEWITT Farm. The official Historic Farmstead Inventory describes the whole of the property (including Arrowhead Farm) as “a distinctive example of an 18th-century farmstead”. (Town of Rochester Historic Farmstead Inventory)

Valentine and Christine SCHMIDT KELDER

In 1741 in Ulster County, New York, Valentine married Christine SCHMIDT. Valentine and Christine had 9 known children together- 7 boys and 2 girls. Just as a side note, Valentine’s father-in-law was Valentine SCHMIDT. Valentine KELDER also had at least one grandson named after him. Generations of the KELDER/KELLER/KELLAR family were members of the Dutch Reformed Church. My husband’s 8th great grandparents, Jacob and Barbara (HEIN) KELDER, along with Jacob’s brother Valentine and Valentine’s wife Christine, (and many other family members) were members of the Dutch Reformed Church in the various places they lived over the years in Ulster County, New York.

In 1796, Valentine wrote his will. It says he was in good health and of sound mind at the time so I’m not certain what prompted him to write the will other than for that time period, he was past what was considered an average lifespan. Wills are always interesting to look at in detail and I’d like to take a look at Valentine’s. In the research I’ve found, there is always a daughter listed as the first child of Valentine and Christine and her name was Mareitje. She isn’t mentioned in his will so perhaps she died prior to him passing away. I don’t know for sure since I haven’t found any information about her. It’s possible she wasn’t his child since in his will he refers to Joseph as his firstborn. As the recognized firstborn, Joseph received his father’s “fowling piece”. A fowling piece is a specific gun used for shooting birds and other small animals.

This is a fancy example of a fowling piece found at

Joseph also received the farm and woodland near Rochester, Ulster County, New York where he was then residing plus the house, barn, outhouses, sawmill, streams and “appurtenances” that went along with that property.

Many researchers list a son named Isaac that was supposedly the second-born son but he was not mentioned in Valentine’s will nor have I found information about him.

Valentine’s next child, Elizabeth KELDER CRISPELL received the bed and bedding that belonged to her deceased mother Christine plus 10 pounds of lawful New York currency.

The next of Valentine’s children was Petrus but he had already died a few years prior to Valentine. Valentine left his 2 daughters and Jenny (Petrus’ widow and the mother of his girls) a piece of land known as “Callepriest” (I’m not sure this is the name of it- the handwriting was very difficult to read). This was a piece of land Valentine had bought from Jacob DEWITT and consisted of 40 acres near Rochester, Ulster County, New York. The land was situated between Marbletown, Ulster County, New York and Rochester, Ulster County, New York. Petrus’ two daughters were also to receive one milk cow each to be procured by their uncles- Joseph and William- and delivered to the girls immediately upon Valentine’s death.

The next child was Johannes Smith KELDER. Valentine left his son Johannes a farm and the lot of land where Johannes was then residing near Rochester, Ulster County, New York. Johannes was named the administrator of Valentine’s will. Johannes’ son Hendrick was given Valentine’s “negro man farmer”. Valentine indicated that after his debts were paid and the funeral was paid for and after everyone received their property, whatever remained of Valentine’s estate was to go to Johannes.

Next in line was Valentine’s son William. The way Valentine spoke of William and what he was leaving to William leads me to believe that he didn’t expect William to live much longer and, in fact, William did die about the same time Valentine did (about 1810). Nonetheless prior to his passing, Valentine left William the right to go freely in and out of land given to Jenny and to Joseph and to bring his oxen, horses, hays (?), and wagons in and out to cut and carry away firewood and timber for Williams own use. To Williams’ sons, Felter KELDER, Jr. and Petrus KELDER, Valentine left the farm where their father William was then living and they would receive it as Tenants in Common. Legally, this meant that Felter, Jr. and Petrus owned the property together and both had equal rights to the property. Neither could claim sole ownership of any particular piece of the property and when one of them died, their portion was passed to the deceased’s estate and not to the remaining ‘tenant in common’. Additionally, each was free to give or sell their portion of the property to someone else. There are other intricacies to tenancy in common but that’s the basic premise. (Legal Dictionary)

Many researchers list two remaining children – Henricus and Abraham- as being children of Valentine but he doesn’t name them in his will and I’ve found no information about them.

Valentine Felter KELDER’s mark- “FK”- on his will.

The People Who Helped Build Ulster County, New York

KELDERs and DEWITTs were influential in Ulster County, New York, and their properties have been well-preserved overall. If you’re interested in the KELDER, RIDER, or DEWITT families or their allied families, I highly recommend looking at the Town of Rochester Historic Farmstead Inventory papers I’ve linked to in this blog post. They are a goldmine! The papers give not only a history of the property but a genealogy and history of some of the families. I’ll link them here so you can find them easily:

The Arrowhead Farm & Domino Farm properties contain Whitfield Cemetery and Kelder Cemetery where many KELDER-DEWITT family members are buried. Domino Farm is the last operating dairy farm in Rochester, Ulster County, New York. Sadly, none of the original, complete buildings exist on these two farms but there are remnants of an early Dutch barn that survive inside of what was the hay barn in 2010. Many of the late 1800’s buildings do still exist and some are still in use such as the wagon house, granary, and a second hay barn. One photograph attached to the Domino Farm inventory indicates there is one building on that property that may have been in existence when Valentine KELDER died. It’s #5- Barn I.

Buildings located on “Domino Farm” section of the KELDER-RIDER-DEWITT Farm. Photo from the farmstead inventory.


KELDER-RIDER-DEWITT Barn I. The original barn was built about 1810. Sections of the original 1810 barn exist within this newer barn. Photo from the farmstead inventory.
KELDER-RIDER-DEWITT Barn I, different angle – from farmstead inventory.

Diagram of original 1810 Barn I:

Diagram of original 1810 Barn I.

The only building on the Arrowhead Farm section of the property that was identified as being old enough to have been in existence when Valentine was alive is the stone homestead which was built around 1760. See photo below.

1760 stone homestead on the Arrowhead Farm section of the KELDER-RIDER-DEWITT property – photo from farmstead inventory.

There is so much more to be said about the KELDER family but I’ll leave it at this for now. I’ve got a “future trip wish list” already started for the Catskills. One day we’ll get there. I hope that you’re using your “pandemic time” in a way that gives you hope for the future- like planning a trip you’d like to take one day. Today I’m wishing you hope and a bright and beautiful future.

Until next week,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

In the Kitchen

This week’s theme for 52 Ancestors is “in the kitchen”. I thought I could come up with a lot of photographs of my female ancestors in the kitchen. That’s where women spent a lot of time, right? Not as easy as it sounds. I found one photo of my great grandma Edith in the kitchen. One. That’s it. How is this possible?! I’m not so young that I can’t remember “dish lines” at my grandparents’ homes. You know, a big family meal and then who cleans up? Women. One washes, one rinses, one dries, one puts away…you get the picture. I remember that and yet I have no kitchen photographs. (By the way, I originally thought that was Edith’s mom with her in the picture but now I’m not so sure. Can anyone help me identify who is with Edith here?)

I spent so much of my life looking forward to the dishwasher years- a time when the kitchen cleans itself, in part a least. But I never gave a thought to what would be given up for the dishwasher years. Female companionship and conversation. Advice, warnings, sympathy, cooperation, teamwork. Time spent together that turned people into friends and loved ones. We gave up a lot for the dishwasher years. We lost time dedicated to teaching our young daughters about life.

Having a picture of Edith when she’s smiling makes me happy. By the time she met me she wasn’t smiling as much. I miss her very much. I think I’ll write more about this photo and maybe this topic in the future but today I have other responsibilities to take care of. So for now, I leave you in the capable hands of my paternal great grandmother Edith Cleo (HUBBARD) DRAKE.

Edith Cleo HUBBARD DRAKE on the left.

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

How My Path Crossed with Ray Keeter’s

Yesterday I received a call and a message on my work phone from a woman I’ve never met. Only, I didn’t know I’d received a call or a message. Yesterday was crazy busy at school and then I stayed after school to work concessions at the basketball homecoming game so I didn’t get home until maybe 9:00 or 9:30. This morning I didn’t go in to work because I had a doctor appointment. So about 12:30-ish this afternoon I stepped into my office for the first time in almost 24 hours. As soon as I entered my office, my phone started ringing. I picked up the phone and found myself speaking to Elizabeth. She introduced herself and explained that she was looking for the Lisa Williams who was related to Ray Keeter. I told her I didn’t recognize the name but maybe if she told me a little of her story I might recognize who she was talking about. It turns out I didn’t recognize the name but I was touched because Elizabeth had a painting that had come out of her father’s office and she felt it needed to be returned to the painter’s family so they could love, enjoy, and care for it. Well…you guys know me. I was hooked! I told her I would help her find the family if I could. So at the end of the day when things were calm I took a few minutes and found a family member of Ray Keeter- his granddaughter, Lisa. Lisa took care of Ray in his final years- much respect to her! I liked her already! So I called the number I found for Lisa, not knowing if it was really her number or maybe disconnected, etc. As it turned out it was Lisa’s number and she called back within just a few minutes. I explained to her that Elizabeth had called me but I wasn’t the right Lisa and I believed she was the right Lisa. She confirmed she was Ray’s granddaughter so I connected her with Elizabeth. It was momentarily satisfying and fun to be a part of that adventure and I love the thought of Ray’s painting being returned to his family. However, the storyteller in me could not stop thinking about this. So this evening I contacted both Lisa and Elizabeth again and asked if I could tell the story of Elizabeth’s dad and of Lisa’s grandfather Ray.

I’m looking forward to their responses and I’m hoping they agree. Just a sneak peek at Ray Keeter, painter. Ray’s final job was Superintendent at the Nuyaka School System southwest of Beggs, Okmulgee County, Oklahoma. If you know me well, you know my dad was a Superintendent for many years in Oklahoma. The connections don’t stop there but I haven’t heard from Lisa about whether she wants to tell her grandfather’s story so I’ll stop there. You wouldn’t believe how many of these kinds of connections I’ve found with Ray in just a couple of hours. In any case, I’ll close here. When you get the chance to do a good deed this week, do it. Helping others helps you.

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog