Category Archive: Remembering Ancestors

Ancestors of Linda Woodward Geiger

Jan 14

52 Ancestors: #3 Oscar H Woodward

Oscar and Sara (Waddell) Woodward

Oscar and Sara (Waddell) Woodward

“I watch my vegetables very carefully, I take a can off the shelf and look at them every day,” was one of my paternal grandfather’s favorite sayings. The truth of the matter was that he had a great dislike for many vegetables, but my mother frequently reminded him that he needed to eat them daily.

Grandfather’s passion was writing stories. He wrote them one after another and submitted them to magazines in hopes of getting one in print. I don’t think that every happened. I recall his dismay whenever he received one of those polite letters indicating that the story was not a good fit for the magazine. He also enjoyed singing in the church choir and was particular proud during the two years that my father and I participate in the choir as well at the Congregational Church in Walpole, New Hampshire.

O.H. Woodward was born 18 January 1880 in Franklin, New Hampshire, son of Daniel Russell and Laura (Davis) Woodward.  He married Sara Waddell on the 28th of September 1907, in Belmont, Massachusetts.[1] The ceremony was conducted by Charles U. Day a minister in Watertown. The marriage register indicates that he was working as a needle maker in Franklin, N.H., and she as a nurse.

1940 Reunion #1Oscar and Sara had four children all born in Franklin, Merrimack County, New Hampshire

  1. Virginia Woodward, born 15 October 1908 and died 7 March 2008 at York Harbor, Maine.[2] She married George Mason Smith.
  2. Richard M. Woodward, born 26 May 1910 and died 13 January 2007. He married Bernice Iris Ford.
  3. Douglas Russell Woodward, born 4 October 1911 and died 8 March 1970 at Rye, New Hampshire. He married 1st Geraldine Hayward and 2nd Mrs. Beverly Powell.[3]
  4. Oscar H. Woodward, Jr., born 1 January 1915, and died 4 June 1965.

My paternal grandparents also raised Jean Collins who was listed in their home in the 1930 census as five years old until her graduation from high school marriage in the 1940s.[4]

Grandfather took part in two selective service acts, but in each case dodged military service because he was too old.

On the 25th of April 1942 he registered with the World War II Selective Service at Local Board No. 8 in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, in what is now commonly called the “Old Man’s Draft. At that time he was a sixty-two year old working in the engineering department of the Boston and Maine Railroad in Concord.

When he registered with the World War I Selective Service on the 12th of September 1918, he was thirty-eight and working as an agent for the B&M Railroad at North Station in Boston.[5]

Following his retirement from the Boston & Maine, grandfather received a pension from the Railroad Retirement Board. His file[6] contains over one hundred pages. The file is considerable thicker than most of the files—didn’t take long to discover the reason. Whe he retired, my grandparents were residing in a studio apartment at 11 Green Street, Concord, New Hampshire. I barely remember it, but I remember thinking it was strange. One room with a tiny kitchen county with tiny stove and sink behind roll-away doors and a Murphy bed for sleeping. Maybe they were ready to head for more open spaces. Retirement meant traveling from the home of one relative to another (I believe they gave up their little studio apartment soon after retirement)…  back to the packet with the files of the Railroad Retirement Board. I’d guess that ninety-five percent of the pages consisted of letters from my grandfather to the retirement office, telling them a new address they needed to use to mail check or complaining that the check had not arrived even though he’d “given them plenty of notice.” None-the-less the file provides a detail of their visits a few months hear with that child, a few months there with a niece or nephew. It will take me a while to get the chronology together, but I’m excited to have images of this wonderful file!

By the 1950s, Oscar and Sara had given up their nomad life style and moved in with their daughter and son-in-law in West Hartford, Connecticut. Aunt Virginia and Uncle George lived in a tiny four room flat on Farmington Avenue. The apartment had a small kitchen, one bedroom, a bath, and a living room and dining room that were separated by a large arch. A daybed at one end of the dinning room served as the sleeping arrangements for my grandparents. Grandmother died in Hartford in 1955 and from that time on my grandfather divided his year into segments when he lived with my aunt and uncle in the small flat and Walpole, N.H. where my family lived. While in Walpole, grandfather sometimes rented a small apartment.

3 generations of Woodwards sang in the choir, 1959

3 generations of Woodwards sang in the choir, 1959

Oscar H. Woodward, Sr., passed away at the Rockingham Hospital in Bellows Falls, Vermont, 25 August 1962.[7]

[1] Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910. (From original records held by the Massachusetts Archives. Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004.)

[2] Obituary of Virginia W. Smith, Concord Monitor, Concord, New Hampshire, 14 March 2008.

[3]  Obituary of Lt. Col. Douglas Woodward, U.S. Army (Ret.), Manchester Union Leader, Manchester, New Hampshire, 17 January 2007.

[4] 1930 U.S. Census, Concord, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, Enumeration District 8-11, sheet 2A; dwelling  27, family 36; National Archives microfilm T626, reel 1304; and 1940 U.S. Census, Loudon, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, Enumeration District 7-57, sheet 3A,  household 43; National Archives microfilm T627, reel 2294.

[5] World War I Draft Registration of Oscar Herman Woodward, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, Selective Service Records, Record Group 163, National Archives-Southeast Region, East Point, Georgia.

[6] Railroad pension of Oscar H. Woodward, Sr., Claim #A249658; Railroad Retirement Board, Record Group 184; National Archives at Atlanta.

[7] Certificate of Death of Oscar H. Woodward, Sr., Rockingham Town Clerk’s Office, Rockingham, Vermont.

© 2014. Linda Woodward Geiger, CG, CGL. All Rights Reserved.

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Jan 13

52 Ancestors: #2 Joseph H Waddell

52 Ancestors: #2 Joseph Howe Waddell

The parents of Sara Waddell were Joseph H Waddell and Elizabeth (called Libbie) McDougall who were married in Windsor, Hants County, Nova Scotia, 1 June 1871.[1]

Children of Joseph and Libbie were[2]

  1. William John Waddell, born 23 February 1872
  2. Ruby Waddell, born 11 September 1874[3]
  3. Maude Waddell, born 23 September 1875
  4. Warren Waddell, born 26 January 1877[4]
  5. Gertrude Waddell, born 16 August 1880
  6. Sara Waddell, born 25 December 1881
  7. Bessie Waddell, born 18 July 1884
  8. Herman Waddell, born 18 July 1884 and died 26 June 1895.[5]
  9. Owen Waddell, born 20 January 1886
  10. Grace Waddell, born 17 November 886
  11. Joseph H Waddell, born 15 January 1889 or (15 February 1889)[6]

According to Joanna Currie and Jane Wile, Joseph Howe Waddell was born in Maitland, 25 October 1884, the second son of John and Mary Waddell; and died 30 June 1942 at the age of 98. [7]

The family of Joseph Waddell and Lizzie McDougall were enumerated in the 1881, 1891, and 1901 Census of Canada.[8]

On the 18th of April 1891, the family of Joseph Waddell, ship carpenter, was enumerated in the 35th District of Hants County.[9] The Waddell family was Presbyterian.

Elizabeth (McDougall) Waddell died, 18 April 1918, and was buried in the McDougall Cemetery in South Maitland.[10]

Sibling photographs

Waddell Sisters

Waddell Sisters

Waddell Sisters—back center is Sara (Waddell) Woodward, the others are Maud, Bessie and Gertrude, but I can’t match position with a name.

Owen Waddell

Owen Waddell

I had the pleasure of briefly meeting my great uncle, Owen Waddell, in July of 1975 when traveling through Nova Scotia. I took the photograph of him at that time.

Research of the records of Nova Scotia have barely begun, but will be a main focus when I’m in Salt Lake City in February. There is so much to learn.

[1] Marriage of Joseph H Waddell and Libbie McDougall, Nova Scotia, Canada, Marriages, 1763-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010, viewed 12 January 2014.

[2] Interview with Virginia Woodward Smith, granddaughter of Joseph H Waddell and Lizzie McDougall, 7 September 1991.

[3] Birth Record of Ruby Waddell, Births registered at Maitland, Hants County, Nova Scotia, 1874; FHL microfilm 1,319,533 (item 2)

[4] Birth record of Warren Waddell, Births Registered at Maitland, Hants County, Nova Scotia, 1877; FHL microfilm 1,319,554.

[5] McDougall Family Cemetery, South Maitland, transcribed by Glenda Clooney, 1987; viewed at Hants County, Nova Scotia GenWeb Project (, 8 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as McDougall Family Cemetery.

[6] Attestation Paper, Joseph Howard Waddell, Jr., #134214, Canadian Over-seas Expeditionary Force; Family History Library microfilm xxx.

[7] Joanna (MacLean) Currie and Jane (Currie) Wile, Genealogical Profile: Mathews [and] Waddells (Turo, Nova Scotia: privately printed, n.d.), 50. The organization is un-orthodox and frequently difficult to follow.

[8] 1881 Census of Canada, Maitland, Hants County, Nova Scotia, family 82, FHL microfilm 2,476,820; 1891 Census of Canada, Maitland, Hants County, Nova Scotia, family 94; Family History Library microfilm 1465741; and 1901 Census of Canada, Maitland, Hants County, Nova Scotia, family  ; Family History Library microfilm 2,854,645.

[9] 1891 Census of Canada, Maitland, Hants County, Nova Scotia, family 94; Family History Library microfilm 1465741.

[10] McDougall Family Cemetery.

© 2014. Linda Woodward Geiger, CG, CGL. All Rights reserved.

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Jan 12

52 Ancestors: #1 Sara Waddell

Sara Waddell

Sara Waddell

“You probably think of me (your grandmother) as a nice old lady living a very quiet and, in your opinion, a not very interesting life…” These words begin a letter to her grandchildren, which she related to my grandfather as he typed the letter for us.[1] That first sentence was “spot on.” As I recall Grandmother Woodward was a sedate, heavy set, matronly woman who enjoyed knitting and playing canasta. Unlike my maternal grandmother, she rarely spoke about her life growing up in Nova Scotia. That is why her letter to her grandchildren is so very special.

Sara Waddell is my only grandparent not born and raised in New England. Of Scottish ancestry, she was born in South Maitland, Hants County, Nova Scotia, in 1881 on Christmas day,[2] daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (McDougall) Waddell.

Grandmother related that she was impulsive and impatient in her early years.  She described her birthplace, South Maitland, Nova Scotia, as a small village with no store or railroad and the post office was in one room of a private dwelling.

Of her childhood, grandmother related

         When I was five or six years old, I went to stay with my grandmother and two aunts who lived in a big, two-story house, situated on a high know, just across the road from my home. This house was surrounded by a white picket fence. Grandmother’s maiden name was Sarah O’Brien… I do not remember much about my grandfather who was William MacDougall from Scotland. He passed away when I was quite young. I do remember that he built sailing vessels.

         Grandmother was a severe looking woman, strict, but just and good hearted. She always dressed in black, but whether this was intended to be perpetual, I don’t know. It never occurred to me to ask when I lived there. She was over 80 years old when she passed on and at that time she did not have a gray hair, it was as black as midnight, parted in the middle and combed down over her ears in sharp contrast to the classy permanents that adorn present day grandmothers.

         She was a fine cook and in the sixty years that have passed I have never forgotten her sour milk biscuits. How I used to lay into them, getting my full share if not more. Down in Nova Scotia we always had plenty to eat and I was blessed (to speak loosely) with a hearty appetite. Our children must have inherited from me their ravenous desire for nourishing food although your grandfather was never one to toy with his vittles, either at meal time or when he had a light snack or one or two sandwiches. Leftover included hash, chowder, or some similar dainty tidbit before going to bed. Perhaps it is because of a good appetite is one of the few traits of my youth I still retain, I am, let us say, reasonably well fitted. When we were married, I weighed only 13_ although I was five feet, seven inches tall….

 The letter continues to relate stories the family cows, a frightful thunderstorm, riding horseback, and childhood Christmases.

Sara, with her sisters Gertrude and Mode sailed from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on the S.S. Prince George, 14th of September 1900 and arrived in the port of Boston the following day. [3]was eighteen, she traveled from Nova Scotia to the suburbs of Boston where she worked in a variety of capacities. In 1902, their sister Bessie joined them in the United States.[4]

Orphanage, Franklin, N.H.

Orphanage, Franklin, N.H.

When she was about twenty-two she took a position with the Orphan’s Home in Franklin, New Hampshire. While she was employed there, she met Oscar H. Woodward. The couple wa wed on the 28th of September 1907, in Belmont, Massachusetts.[5]

Sara Waddell Woodward died at the age of seventy-three on the 1st of July 1955, in Hartford, Connecticut.[6]

[1] Grandfather Woodward loved to write and submitted many stories to various magazines, so since he adored weaving tales, I’m sure that many of the words and phrases that were written were not those of my grandmother. A copy of the letter is in the possession of the author.

[2] Death Certificate of Sara Waddell Woodward, #11435, Connecticut State Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Hartford, Connecticut; and undated letter from Sara Waddell Woodward to her grandchildren written about 1950.

[3] Manifest of Alien Immigrants for the Commissioner of Immigration, S.S. Prince George arriving in Boston, 15 September 1900, page 163, Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1917-1943; National Archives microfilm T938, reel 40; viewed on 12 January 2014.

[4] Manifest of Alien Immigrants from the Commissioner of Immigration, S.S. Boston, arriving in Boston 21 December 1902 page 118, Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1917-1943, National Archives and microfilm T938, Reel 57; viewed on 12 January 2014.

[5] Indexes to Marriages in Massachusetts, 1906-1910, Vol. 571:348

[6] Death Certificate of Sara Waddell Woodward, #11435, Connecticut State Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Hartford, Connecticut.

© Linda Woodward Geiger, CG, CGL. All rights reserved.

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Jul 05

Military Service of Lewis M. Davis

Searching for possible military service of my great uncle, Lewis M. Davis was not straightforward. My first go to for Civil War service is the National Park Service database of Soldiers and Sailors []. I’ve not used the site for quite a while and was greeted by a complete makeover since my last visit. I searched soldiers for “Lewis M. Davis” and “New Hampshire” with no result. Broadening the search I sought “Lewis Davis” and “New Hampshire with the following result:


NPS “Soldiers & Sailors” database

Who is this Lewis F. Davis serving in the 16th NH (middle entry). Could this entry have been miss-read by someone who interpreted the letter “M” as “F”?

Since I’m not physically located near a repository with the microfilm of New Hampshire service records, I needed to try another Online search tool. I turned to Ah Ha! Lewis M. Davis was located in the database “U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865. Like his brother-in-law, he had enlisted in Company E, New Hampshire 16th Infantry Regiment [Ancestry's source: Register of Soldiers and Sailors of New Hampshire].





Ancestry – “U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles

I found it interesting that this abstract indicates that Lewis M. was mustered out on the 20th of August 1863 at Concord, NH and died one day later.


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Jul 02

Davis Burials in Sawyer Cemetery, Merrimack County, NH

In September 1991, I was fortunate to have a road-trip with my uncle, Douglas Russell Woodward, while visiting in New Hampshire. Uncle Doug, 2nd child of Oscar H. Woodward and Sara Waddell, had spent much of his youth in West Franklin before his family removed to East Concord. We visited West Franklin where he pointed out the house his father rented on South Main Street while he was a young boy. He also showed me the house where he recalled his great grandmother Nancy (neé Glines) Davis resided and the cemetery, Sawyer Cemetery, where she was buried with her husband and at least two of her children. Alas, I had no GPS unit at the time, nor did I take careful note of the location of the two homes. What was I thinking?

A DeLorme map of New Hampshire, published in 1984, illustrates the location of Sawyer Cemetery.

1984 map showing location of Sawyer Cemetery.

Green Arrow Points to Sawyer Cemetery near the head of Webster Lake

Apparently, at one time the road on which the Davis family resided (in Andover just over the Franklin line) continued on past Sawyer Cemetery and on to the head of Webster Lake. That road had long since been impassable in 1991.

Davis Tombstones in Sawyer Cemetery

Davis Tombstones in Sawyer Cemetery

Lewis Davis

Lewis Davis


Nancy Davis

Nancy Davis














Lewis M. Davis

Lewis M. Davis

Catherine Davis

Catherine Davis














On that trip Uncle Doug also showed me the cemetery in Franklin where his paternal grandparents were buried the needle factory building were several of his uncles and great uncles worked. The needle factory will be discussed at a later date.


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Jul 01

From NH to Minnesota in a Conestoga Wagon?


Family Tradition…. Several family stories have been proven to be way off the mark and only apparent wishful thinking on the part of my grandfather and uncle. Consequently when my uncle told me that his great grandmother (Nancy Glines Davis) had gone to Minnesota in a Conestoga wagon, but had returned since they didn’t like living there, I was somewhat skeptical.

Many years later the memory and interest in the story was renewed when I found the will of Lewis M. Davis, written on10 November 1862 in Franklin, New Hampshire and probated in September 1963.[1] In his will, written while a soldier in service of the United States, “First One hundred and sixty acres of land situated in the town of Sauk Center Sterans County in the State of Minnesota….to Cora Judkins for her sole comfort and benefit she to come in possession at the age of eighteen the daughter of Horace and Esabeth Judkins…”




Lewis M. Davis, son of Lewis and Nancy (Glines) Davis,[2]  died  21 August 1863, at the age of 31.

I need to determine where and how he died. I suspect while he was serving with the Union forces.

Lewis is not a direct ancestor. His sister, Laura Davis, wife of Daniel R. Woodward, was my great grandmother. Daniel R. Woodward served in the Company E, 16th New Hampshire Volunteer Regiment.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Will of Lewis M. Davis, Probate Case #6128, Merrimack County, New Hampshire; Probate Clerk’s Office, Concord, New Hampshire.

[2] Tombstone of Lewis M. Davis, Sawyer Cemetery, located just off Hoyt Rd. near the Franklin and Andover town lines at the head of Webster Lake, Merrimack County, New Hampshire; viewed and photographed by Linda Woodward Geiger in September 1991.

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Dec 23

Bible of Alfred H Brown

Bible belonging to Alfred H. BrownThe Sunday School Class taught by Alfred H. Brown presented him with a Bible. Unfortunately, a date of publication has not been located.

The family records are sparse containing marriage and birth information for Alfred H. Brown and Miss Lizzie Gale and the birth dates fo their four children. The Bible also presented the opportunity for place of sixteen photographs, but only twelve have survived. It would be logical for the images to be those of family and close relatives. None of the images carry identification. Could some of the individuals be members of the Sunday School class?

I present you scans of the pages and will hope that someone will be able to identify some of the people.

Bible belonging to Alfred H. Brown

Bible belonging to Alfred H. Brown


Bible belonging to Alfred H. Brown













Bible belonging to Alfred H. Brown

Bible belonging to Alfred H. Brown


Bible belonging to Alfred H. Brown













The Bible is in the possession of Linda Geiger, Big Canoe, Georgia.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

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Jul 06

Your Story – Career

Scrapper’s Guide theme for the month of July is Career. I’ve completed two pages (teacher & genealogist), but have not yet completed the roles that were most important to me (#1 mother & #2 wife). I’ll be completing those pages later this month. But for now….


© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.


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Jun 29

Remembering Walpole High School

Three more scrapbook pages illustrating some of our high school activities. Can imagine growing up in a nicer community than Walpole, New Hampshire.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

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May 30

Family Scrapbook Pages

This is the fifth challenge of “Your Story. Brilliant!” offered as a class by Linda Sattgast of For this challenge I used paper & elements from Ever After kit by Krystal Hartley (Copyright 2010) and Scrappers Guide. The photographs are from my family collection.

The focus theme was “Early Childhood through Grade School.” Again the pages are not just about me, but about my twin (we were tighter than two peas in a pod). As usually, as the the month neared its end, I completed the task.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

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