Porter-Holden’s,  I was surprised to look back and see that I haven’t really written about Chapin Holden. I’ve mentioned him, but never actually focused a post on him.

C B Holden headstoneToday marks the 165th Anniversary of the birth of my 3rd Great Grandfather Chapin Balean Holden. He was born 1st February 1849 to Dr. Charles Morrill and Sarah Ann (Skiff) Holden in Reading Center, New York, the fifth of their twelve children.  The family moved to Michigan in about 1852 and settled in Courtland Township, Kent County where Doctor Holden served the community and farmed.

At the age of 20, Chapin married Phebe Jenny Tefft, the daughter of Lewis and Phebe (Sweet) Tefft, in Courtland Township on 30 June 1869. At the time of the 1870 Census the couple lived with his parents. On 6 May 1872 they had a son Herman Russell Holden. Jenny died at only 21 on 5 February 1875. In May of the following year Chapin married my 3rd Great Grandmother Lois Adell Blakeslee (the daughter of Aaron and Julia Ann (Tanner) Blakeslee). Lois and Chapin had five children Glen Walton in 1877, Jennie D. in 1882, my 2nd Great Grandmother Lula Vanche in 1886, Erie D. in 1888 and Minnie Lee in 1891.

From what I can find I don’t believe Glen married. Jennie married George Raymer around  1900. Lulu married Charles Erwin Porter in 1904. Erie married Elizabeth A. Sourbutts in 1908. And Minnie Lee died at the age of 16 of appendicitis.

Chapin died on Christmas Eve in 1931 after a lingering illness. According to his obituary he farmed in Courtland Township for about 60 years in addition to serving his community. Other sources note that in 1904 he was elected Constable for Courtland Township. By 1920 he and Lois had retired to Cedar Springs Village in Solon Township. Chapin was buried in Courtland Cemetery.

I know there are more sources for information on Chapin’s life in the collection of the Rockford Historical Museum–notes in Farm Books, mentions in the Rockford Register, etc. Another mini goal is for me this year is to get out to see the new museum and look into how their move has effected research at the museum.

Happy hunting,


Sarah Ann (Skiff) HoldenSomeone’s birthday is today—she knows who she is! But it’s also the 191st Anniversary of our shared 4th Great Grandmother’s birth. Sarah Ann Skiff was born 20 September 1822 in Schuyler County, NY to Russell and Sarah (Davis) Skiff. She married Charles Morrill Holden in November of 1842 in Yates County, NY. The couple moved their family to Michigan in the mid-1850s where Charles worked as a doctor and farmed. They had 12 children with a wide range of fun names. My 3rd Great Grandfather Chapin was their 5th child, and his daughter was the recently featured Lula (Holden) Porter.

Happy hunting,


The month has gotten away from me and I apologize for my miss of Not Quite Wordless Wednesday last week… but I’m trying to get back ahead!

Lula V. (Holden) Porter & Mother, 1952Today’s photo features my 2nd Great Grandmother Lula Vanche (Holden) Porter.

Today marks the 127th anniversary of her birth in Osceola County, Michigan. She was the third child of Chapin and Lois (Blakeslee) Holden and she married my 2nd Great Grandfather Charles Erwin “Win” Porter in September of 1904 in Courtland Township, Kent County, Michigan. My Great Grandmother Crystal was her third child of seven.

This photograph is from my Gran’s collection. It was taken in April or May of 1952 and falls into a great run of pictures of my mother with everyone who could get their hands on her. Lula was widowed within a month or two of this photo–Win died in June. My Gran remembers her fondly–especially as a great source for gossip (they were kindred spirits). Lula died in June of 1973.

Happy hunting!


Lorna HoldenSo, as I was running through anniversaries related to this date I came upon the fact that today is the 114 anniversary of the birth of my 1st cousin 4 times removed, Lorna Holden DeBoer. She was the daughter of Kendric Charles Holden (son of Charles and my Chapin’s youngest sibling) and Minnie Isabel Porter (George’s middle sibling). She married John DeBoer in 1921 and they had two children Gaylord and Eleanor. Eleanor in turn married my Great Uncle Darcy (my Great Grandmother Crystal’s brother).

And it seems a great time to express my thanks to the Holden and Porter family who have shown an interest in our common relatives and inspired me to continue researching. As I’ve mentioned before, Lorna penned a book on her aunt, Xantippe, which fellow researchers pointed out to me early on. In my early days as a librarian in Rockford I had the great luck to reconnect with Phyllis (Porter) Dolislager as well as take an informative life writing workshop from her. And the Porters and Holden’s have been tremendous donors to the Rockford Area Historical Museum—where I found countless bits of family memorabilia, family history, and photographs. So many of you have come forward to help with, share, or just be a great audience for my research and I really appreciate it. And that includes Carole, Janet, Uncle Aaron, Uncle Louis, Kathy and my original Porter source, Grandpa Bailey.

Thank you all!

Happy hunting,


This photo was copied from the Rockford Area Historical Museum and is a picture of Lorna Holden.

Eugene Robert Baker, My 1st Cousin Thrice Removed

To all the many who didn’t make it back home and the families they left behind. We remember.

In my family that includes:

Two of my first cousins thrice removed…

Lt. Eugene Robert Baker, 370th and 401st Fighter Squadrons of the U.S. Air Corps, the son of Ethan Rex and Grace (Van Vyven) Baker—named for his grandfather (and my 3rd Great Grandfather), Eugene Smith Baker. He was killed in action 13 Aug 1944 in Chartres, France.

Sgt. Robert S. Baker, Co M 119th Infantry 30th Division, the son of Hollis Lapham and Nora (Beers) Baker, died 13 Sep 1944 also in France.

And my 3rd Great Grand Uncle, Americus G. Holden, Co H, 21st Infantry Regiment of Michigan, the son of Charles and Sarah (Skiff) Holden. He was sent home sick from his post in Tennessee and died of his illness 30 Aug 1864.

All three have military headstones at Rockford Cemetery, Rockford, Michigan.

Happy hunting,


P.s. I made a large error at the end there… Americus Holden is buried in Courtland Cemetery. Thank you for the correction, Carole!

This is another find from the Rockford Area Historical Museum.

Today marks 170 years since my 4th Great Grandparents Dr. Charles Morrill Holden and Sarah Ann Skiff married in Reading Center, Yates County, New York. This is an invitation to their 40th anniversary party but they celebrated 56 years of marriage before Charles died in 1898.

Happy hunting,


Today is the 126th Anniversary of my Grandma Porter’s birth. This makes her and Grandpa Porter’s headstone the perfect pick for this week’s Tombstone Tuesday. This is the resting place of Lula Vanche (Holden) Porter and her husband Charles Erwin “Winn” Porter. The photo is from Courtland Cemetery in Courtland Township, Michigan the final resting place of many members of the Holden and Porter families. It was taken by me in the winter of 2002.

Happy Hunting,