Taking a step back, I was bitten by the genealogical bug about 25 years ago -- when Liz and I first began using this cottage we found it contained a wealth of family history kept by my great aunt Esther Mead. Some of it she got from her mother, my great grandmother Grace Goodrich, who was a member of the DAR.
I also had the model of Liz's mother Margery, who had published two books on her own ancestry -- one on her father's family and one on her mother's. Margery's books tell the stories both of her research and of the families she was tracing. Her results are presented in her own way and do not follow a usual genealogical pattern. In fact, they are more readable than many genealogical books.
As a result of the find in this cottage, most of my work has been on the family of my maternal grandmother, born Ruth Goodrich. I also have some material on the ancestry of my maternal grandfather, Victor Brink -- most of that is second hand.
My father's family presented more problems. Here is what I knew in the early 1980's when I started trying to record genealogy information.
I was always told that my grandfather, Sidney Allen Mellen, was a descendant of Ethan Allen, the Green Mountain Boy. My grandmother certainly belived that, and that is why my father was named Ethan Allen Mellen. I am named after my father.
I knew that my grandfather was raised by his grandmother because his mother had died. I also think I knew then that there had been some kind of a rift between my grandfather and his father. I did not know his father's name, and I thought his mother had been an Allen.
My grandmother, born Jessie Mae Green, had been married very young and had a son, Glenn, from her first marriage, who later took the name Mellen. I knew that my father had been born in Wisconsin, and that he had two younger sisters, Edith and Joyce. I knew one of my grandmother's brothers, my fathers Uncle Oscar Green. I also knew that before the family moved to Binghamton when my father was twelve, he had lived in both Sullivan, Indiana and Dayton, Ohio.
My grandmother lived the last years of her life in my parents' house, but also spent time with my Aunt Edith in Maryland and in Florida both with my Aunt Joyce and visiting her brothers' families. (At that time, I wasn't clear about how many brothers she had.) Her papers and pictures were in my parents' house when she died in 1975, but I didn't get to see them until much later -- some not until Liz and I cleaned out the house last summer.
Sometime not long after my father died in the summer of 1981, I found a note in my handwriting that says:
Gt Gt GM Mary Elizabeth AllenI have no recollection of writing this, and I don't know when I wrote it or where the information comes from. However, it was a starting point for my Mellen research.
b Milford Connecticut
m Peter Mellen
b Isle of Man
lived in St. Louis.
For my grandmother's family, I was fortunate to find a locket sized picture of her father:
Wrapped around the picture is this note, in my grandmother's handwriting:
This is James Green (son of Ira & Pamela Green,) my father. He died in May 1898 at age about 35 years in Columbus, Ohio. -- Jessie Mae Green Mellen. His brother Will, and wife, Amanda, raised me. He had three other brothers, John and Lew and Leonard. Our family ran to boys - I had no sisters - just four brothers Ira, born the day Papa was buried, Jim, Oscar & Charles who died in infancy - Ira was renamed Charles in his memory.I found a few other genealogically significant things early on, but the picture remained sketchy until recently. The online resources, particularly the census, at Ancestry.com have been invaluable to me as I try to make sense of some of the notes I have.
So let's begin with the note wrapped around my great grandfather James Green's picture. The not does not give the name of my great grandmother, but among my grandmother Jessie's papers is a copy of a the record of her marriage in 1913 to Alpheus Bowman. She gave her mother's maiden name as Viola Joyner. So I looked up Viola Green, in Columbus,Ohio, in the 1900 census.
Sure enough, there she is, living at 80 1/2 West Capital Street in Columbus, with four children. She was 24 years old, born April 1875 in Iowa. Her father was born in Scotland and her mother in Ohio. She was a laundress. The four children were all born in Ohio , as were their father and, strangely, their mother. There children are James, age 9, born February 1890, Oscar, age 8, born December 1892, Jessie, age 4, born March 1896, and Ira, age 2, born May, 1898.
So far so good -- there are a couple of anomalies. Ancestry's index shows James as 19, rather than 9, and the image appears to show that the 9 was written over an earlier 10. If he was born in February 1890, then he truly was 10 and not 9. It's odd that Viola' birthplace is reposrted as Iowa, but that of her children's mother as Ohio. There's more looking to be done.
Andt what about Uncle Will Green and Aunt Amanda raising Jessie? Well, there is a report card from 1908-1909 for Jessie signed by W R Green. The school is in Columbus.