Sunday, June 2, 2013

Francis S. Dane Jr. Sails With the Byrd Expedition

Francis S. Dane Jr., Duke Dane with husky
This is the first in a series of articles regarding my grandfather, Francis S. “Duke” Dane Jr. and his trip to Antartica on the second polar expedition of Admiral Richard Byrd.  I am leaving the text as I found it so you have to blame the original author for any misspellings or grammar errors. 

Lexington Minute-man, October 11, 1933

Francis S. Dane Jr. Sails With the Byrd Expedition

Well Known Local Young Man Departs on the Jacob Rupert as One of the Dog Drivers.  Dane Spent the Summer at the Chinook Kennels at Wonolancet, N. H.

Francis S. Dane Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Francis S. Dane of 1 Bennington road, sailed Wednesday, October 11, on the Jacob Rupert, which left Boston Navy Yard for the first lap of its journey to the South Pole with the supplies and dogs for the second Byrd Antarctic Expedition.  Whether “Duke” Dane as he is popularly known, will go all the way to the South Pole is as yet uncertain, but he will go with the expedition at least through the Panama Canal, and probably to the “jumping-off-place” which at present appears to be Valporaiso, South America.
Since the middle of July Mr. Dane has been at the Chenook Kennels, in Wonolancet, N.H. assisting in the care and training of the huskie dogs for the expedition.  During a considerable part of August and September he was unofficial charge-d’affairs where Byrd’s dogs were concerned, in the absence of Norman Vaughan and Allen Taylor who have successively been responsible for this division of the expeditionary forces.  

The work at Wonolancet included the exercise and care of 150 dogs each of whom has to be given a run at least once each day besides being fed and supplied with water, the latter becoming one of the great problems owing to the continued drought in that section of New England.  With but four regular men on duty the dog drivers were kept busy often 12 to 13 hours a day.  Beside the work at the kennels trips had to be made to Canada to secure more dogs from time to time, as only those really fit can be taken on the expedition.  This meant driving hugh trucks to Canada, loading them with crated dogs, and making the return trip, the latter usually without stopping for sleep as the howling of the dogs is not welcomed in most towns and villages.  Mr. Dane made several such trips during the summer.  

Last Friday night the dogs were brought to Boston on trucks a journey which took from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and on Saturday they were put onto the dock at the Navy Yard, where several local people visited them over the week-end.  The crates were places in double rows on top of each other and once each day every dog was removed from the crate and given a chance to move about the deck at the end of a chain while his box was being cleaned.  The dog-drivers of the expedition, including Mr. Dane were in charge of this work.

On Monday each dog had to be taken from the crate, run up the gang plank and held on deck while the crates were being loaded over the side of the Ruppert by the crew.  Until the ship leaves Norfolk sometime next week the dogs must remain in their cages which are just large enough for them to turn around in.  They are oblong boxes, made of stout wood reinforced by three bands of metal and having a front door of stout iron and wire mesh secured with a metal latch.  When the ship leaves Norfolk the dogs will be taken from the crates and chained to the deck where they will have somewhat more freedom.  

On the trip through the tropics the dogs lie on the ship and pant; they do not want food, or even much water.  Some will not survive the trip, especially if the hot weather lasts over an extended period.  This is one of the reasons for taking so large a number as 153 which are at present on board.

The duties of a dog-driver on such as expedition as this planned by Admiral Richard E. Byrd are anything but a pleasant game.  It is the hardest type of physical labor, under often unbelievably trying conditions, but if one is not afraid of the work, likes the sea, and has a real love for and understanding of dogs it is one of the greatest adventures and opportunities which can come to a young man.  “Duke” Dane has the qualities which will make for success and has more over no illusions about the hardships into which he is going.  Not only has he worked with this particular Expedition all summer, he has also been with one of the North Polar Expeditions of Captain Donald B. MacMillan as far as the ice, and knows what to expect on a sea voyage.  Although somewhat tired from the lack of sleep during the past weeks, he is in excellent physical shape and is in everyway prepared for the great adventure.  His many friends wish him Bon Voyage and a safe return. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Family Tree Bloggers Google Plus Community

Family Tree Bloggers Google Plus Community
I have just set up a community on Google Plus that is designed to give family tree bloggers and genealogists a space to post and share their own images and links to blog posts.  It is a companion to my Pinterest Board of the same name.

I love connecting with other genealogists and bloggers and I've found that a great way to do that is to provide a forum for others (and myself, of course) to share their work.  My plan is to run the community similarly to a blogging group I have been part for the last couple of years ago that was not genealogy-related called Great Blogging Experience 2 (GBE2 for short).  On a weekly basis, the moderator of that group would post a prompt and ask everyone to post links to their blog posts on the prompt within a "thread" on the group based on the prompt.  Group members are also encouraged to post separately within the community on topics that do not fit the prompt.  Like that other group, comments are strongly encouraged.  I also hope that we'll find that some of us are researching the same family lines and are able to locate collaborators through forums like this one. 

My idea at this point is that these posts can be any genealogy-related link, whether it is a blog post or not.  But I also am going to moderate the group and the Pinterest board for the time being to ensure we don't end up with tons of stuff that other members won't want to read or see. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Family's Murder Mystery

Sarah Lucy Dane Murder Mystery, My Family's Murder Mystery

September 9, 1982.  A young woman is reported missing when she doesn’t arrive for work at Eskaton Monterey Hospital (now Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula).  She is a twenty six year old nurse in the prime of life with a promising career, a supportive family and a brand new fiancĂ©e.  She is also a river rafting guide who friends describe as “enthusiastic about everything,” and as someone who lights up a room when she walks in.   Later that same day of September 9th, the young woman’s station wagon is found in the center median of Highway One.  Beneath a pile of blankets, the young woman’s dead body is found, raped and strangled.  The young woman’s name was Sarah Lucy Dane and she was my Aunt.   

Suspicion immediately centered on Sarah’s brother-in-law, William Perkins.  The night before her murder, Sarah’s sister Meraud “Roadie” Perkins had told Mr. Perkins that she was filing for divorce.  Angered by her declaration, Mr. Perkins allegedly threatened to do something that would put him in jail for a long time.  He was known to have been away from his home during the time of the murder and didn’t arrive for his job at 5 A.M. that morning.  In fact, he didn’t arrive on the job site until noon.   However, when police investigated the crime in fall of 1982, they did not find enough evidence to prosecute Mr. Perkins for the murder.  Two long years would pass before the case would be re-examined by a new investigator. 

In September of 1984, the evidence in Sarah’s case was re-analyzed by state justice laboratories.  It’s not entirely clear why the case was re-opened, but certainly the tireless efforts of Sarah’s mother Sally Dane to ensure that the police continued to pursue the case played a part.  As a result of the re-analysis, William Perkins was again arrested.  While he was being held, Perkins had a fateful conversation with his cellmate, Joseph Neuhaus, where he confessed to the rape and murder.  On February 5, 1985, Perkins was tried and convicted of rape and murder.   Shortly after the trial, authorities learned that the man who testified as Joseph Neuhaus had lied about his identity and was actually a man named Marty Joe Nuttall.  This revelation threw the conviction and sentencing of Perkins into jeopardy, however the judge in the case decided that the conviction would stand and Perkins was sentenced to 25 years to life for First Degree Murder. 

All of this information was passed along to me recently by a member of the family who was close to Sarah Lucy.   Unfortunately for me, I never got to have a relationship with my Aunt.  That seems strange to say since she lived only about three hours’ drive from me for the first twelve years of my life.   But that has been part of the sad legacy of the broken family left behind by my grandparents’ divorce.  I met my grandfather only three or four times before he died in 1979, and no one on “our side of the family” was close with him or his daughter by his second wife.   This is yet another family member I get to meet only through the memories of others.  I feel a responsibility to remember these relatives and pass along what little I can of them so others can remember them a bit, too. 

Facts for this post were taken from articles from the Monterey Peninsula Herald regarding the murder case and trial from 9/24/1984, 10/25/1984, 1/29/1985, 1/30/1985, 2/5/1985, 2/27/1985, and 3/14/1985

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Obituary for Hon. Joseph Dane Jr.

This is the obituary for my 3X great grandfather's brother. 

Tuesday, March 18, 1884
PORTLAND, March 17--Hon. Joseph Dane died last evening at his home in Kennebunkport of inflammation of the bladder, aggravated by a severe cold, aged sixty-one. He was a most prominent man in York County.
He was born in Kennebunk, graduated from Bowdoin College in 1843 and immediately began the study of law in Kennebunk, and was admitted to practice in 1846. At the time of his death he was President of the Ocean National Bank, of the Kennebunk & Kennebunk Railroad, Treasurer of the Kennebunk Savings Bank, Overseer of Bowdoin College, President of the Maine Unitarian Association, besides holding other positions of trust. He was Democratic candidate in 1882 for Representative to Congress from the first district. He leaves a widow. Funeral Wednesday pm.

Thank you to an anonymous contributor on for passing this along to me - Kyle

Monday, April 22, 2013

Conrad Slideshow for my Flickr photos

I just saw this on someone else's website and was immediately excited by the possibility of being able to pass along my old family photos in such an accessible format. This first one is my Conrad photo set. To visit the photo set itself Conrad Family Photos

Created with flickr slideshow.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

South Pole Expedition II - Admiral Richard Byrd 1933-34

I've built a board on Pinterest (see the box below for the link and a sample of the images) to collect all the images, writings and anything else related to Admiral Byrd's Second South Pole Expedition from 1933 to 1934. My grandfather, Francis S "Duke" Dane II was a member of the expedition (the highlight of his life, really). He kept a multitude of things, including equipment from the trip, which I have stored at my house.

The photos also have their own set at Flickr here: Admiral Byrd's South Pole Expedition II

Friday, April 12, 2013

Dane Family History Board on Pinterest

One of my latest projects is to set up family history bulletin boards on Pinterest as a one-stop-shop to collect my family history images. The one below is the Dane Family Board.

The photo at right that goes along with this post is of my great aunt, Marcia Winter Anderson Dane. Probably taken in the 1920's when she was a teen or young woman.

The nifty box below is Pinterest's way of displaying just the Dane Family Board on this or any other website.  Pretty cool. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Family Tree Bloggers Board on Pinterest open to all Genealogy Bloggers

Family Tree Bloggers Pinterest Board open to all genealogy bloggersI have set up a board on Pinterest for all Family Tree and Genealogy bloggers to post links to their genealogy blogs, posts, resources, photos, etc. The board is a community bulletin board for all like-minded genealogists to share and comment and help each other with our passion for family history.  Follow this link to the Family Tree Bloggers Board or click on the board in the embedded Pinterest gadget below and you will see the board.

If you would like an invite to post to the Family Tree Bloggers Board, please follow the board, or comment on this blog post or repin or comment on any of my pins to the board and I will invite you to join the board.

I also have a companion Google Plus community called Family Tree Bloggers. Let me know if you'd like an invite. As of right now, it's not very busy at all, but hoping to gain some active members to build it up.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to find your ancestors on for Tombstone Tuesday

Find your ancestors at FindaGrave. Dane Genealogy and Family History BlogIn keeping with the concept of Tombstone Tuesday, I thought I'd share my experience with finding my own ancestors on First, what is It's basic function is to post photos of headstones and other grave markers. For each person the grave marker represents, there is a profile page. For example, here is the profile page for my grandmother, Maude Sutton (Conrad). The marker shows in the image at right:

The profile pages also tend to contain a great deal of information about the person as well. Often birth and death dates are listed (most often from the headstone itself, but sometimes from other sources). Sometimes there are brief histories posted and often there are additional photos. My own way of using the site is to post other non-headstone photos and biographies wherever I have them.

But let's say you didn't know exactly where your ancestor was buried. Let's say you just knew the state and the exact spelling of their name. In my experience, if you know this much, and the name isn't a common one, you are going to be able to find them through Findagrave's search function.... assuming they have a profile. For example, I recently went on the site and for some reason it occurred to me to search for my great great grandfather John Blumer. Here's a link to the search results that came up for John Blumer in California. Imagine my surprise when I found that only a month ago, someone added John Blumer, and his wife Edith Walford to Findagrave's index! There are thousands of volunteers who make a hobby of photographing these headstones. Some of them have made it their personal mission to photograph all of the headstones in certain cemeteries. So, like in the case of my great great grandfather, all I had to do was wait for one of these enterprising souls to get around to my relatives and I was able to see their shared headstone:

Another fantastic feature of Findagrave is that it allows the profiles of related individuals to be linked. I was able to find the headstones and grave markers for an entire line of ancestors through this feature by starting with my 3X great grandfather John Farwell Anderson. You'll notice that his parents are listed, with links to their profiles. If you follow the Anderson links from son to father, you'll see four full generations have profiles there, and the oldest, the elder Abraham Anderson's profile says the names of his parents as well. That's five generations in one quick chain of links.

One of my favorite recent developments is that is now linking to profiles through its hints feature. I have found numerous Findagrave profiles simply by following links that I didn't have to search for. Pretty cool.

I know these results aren't going to be typical and that my extensive years of research into my family tree give me a serious leg up. But I wanted to write about it anyway and provide some tips to those that might find it useful or interesting.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mystery Monday - Mystery Photos

Mystery History, Thacher Family Photo

For mystery Monday, I figured I might as well point to a board I've created on Pinterest called "Mystery History". This board houses a small number of photos that I have in my extensive collection which are unidentified and intriguing. Of course I have tons of photos that have unidentified people, but these are the most promising, best preserved and frankly the best looking of them all.

So here's the board:

The photo above is a great example. It is dated 1912 and I found it among the belongings of my grandmother Edith Thacher (Dane). I am pretty confident that it is a Thacher family photo. But there are some details that make me doubt it. For example, the man at the top left looks like my great grandfather William L Thacher, but he looks far too young. Certainly he looks much younger than he does in pictures shortly after my grandmother was born the next year. The other family members looks somewhat like William's brother Sherman Thacher and his family. But Sherman normally wore glasses, and in this shot the man at top right isn't wearing them. I could go on.

I've already had some success with this approach, which is described here in a post about a portrait that was identified when a family member found the photo on

Anyway, I'd love to know if anyone can identify these folks, or anyone else in the photos I've got posted to Pinterest.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past - the Goodwins

Following the lead of, I am going to start posting things that fit the daily blogging prompts that are suggested there. This first post is a great one. The photo is grainy and beat up around the edges, but it is important because it is the only image I have of Benjamin Franklin Goodwin and his wife Ann Robinson Millet (Goodwin), my 3X great grandparents. They flank their daughter Caroline Lydia Goodwin, my great great grandmother.
Benjamin Goodwin, Ann Millet, Caroline Goodwin

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I had hoped that I would be able to tie all my online family history and genealogy activities together in one blog, using my new Tumblr blog: Family Tree for KD
But it turns out that finding other folks who are interested in this subject seems to require a more wide-ranging approach. In other words, I have to be on Pinterest, Tumblr, Blogger, Twitter, (and more?). I don't know. Anyway, I'm going to keep posting to all of the above, while maintaining activity here as well. Crazy! Follow me wherever you can find me!