Mystery solved?

by chuckofish

My father’s family has always posed something of a mystery. So far, we can trace the line back to 1744 when John Chamberlin married Mary Wood on March 14th. Their son, John, married Abigail Nichols on November 23, 1768 and their son, Rufus, married Lydia Atherton in 1793. Their son, Asa Leander married Nancy Stiles in 1835 and their son, Arthur Newell (named after Newell, brother of Nancy Stiles), was my great grandfather. I have the birth and death dates and siblings of all these generations, but until this summer, we were a bit confused about my great grandfather’s marriages. We knew that he married Anna Hendren, but family lore had it that she was his second wife, his first wife being Anna’s sister. It turns out that was true. Earlier this summer I sent off to NYC for both marriage certificates. Eventually, the city responded and this is what I received:

May Hendren Marriageand May Hendren marriage 2The first wife, mother of Ethel Chamberlin, was named May (it looks like Mary in one place but she clearly signs May), daughter of John Hendren and Margaret Russell (which explains Guy’s middle name). So far, I have not been able to find John and Margaret anywhere, but I’ll keep looking. Here’s Ethel in about 1916.


When May died (of what I do not know), her sister, Anna, came to help with young Ethel. Soon after, in 1891, Arthur married Anna.

Anna Hendren marriageArthur and Anna had three children: Arthur Newell (II), shown here at 11 months,

Arthur Newell i baby pic

Caroline (named after Arthur’s sister),


Leander, who died of meningitis at the age of 1,

Leander's death

and Guy Russell, who was killed in WWI. So there you have it. Next on the list of mysteries to solve is, of all things, the exact date and place of my grandparents’ (ANC II and Mira Sargent) marriage.

As a non-family-related aside, I went to see “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” last night and thoroughly enjoyed it.


It was stylish, well paced, suitably PG-13 and frequently made me laugh out loud. I managed to capture something of the original show and I thought Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill worked well together. If you’re in for fun entertainment, it’s well worth it.

Have a wonderful weekend!