Category Archives: Misadventures of a Genealogist

Mrs. Rowe’s Cookbook

Since the last post was about Dad’s side of the family, this one will be about Mom’s. A few years back, my Mom was getting cookbooks from one of those mail order book clubs. This one was exclusively for cookbooks. This gem came in the mail at some point. I didn’t think anything of it at first. Then a light bulb went off in my head. Hey, the family name of Rowe!

To know the significance of the name Rowe, you have to be familiar with my family tree. Which you probably aren’t. That’s okay, I’ve done my research and I know my stuff! My mother’s family line is made up 90% of the surname Mays. They liked to have children and they didn’t stop at two or three. One thing I realized when I started trying to research the Mays’ was that they are very difficult to research. The surname can be construed as many different things, and it depends on who was spelling it. They not only were many, but they were spread out over a ton of country. They started in Virginia from what I can find, and they spread eventually to Kentucky. When I say Virginia and Kentucky I mean the whole state. So if your name is Mays and you live in Virginia or Kentucky… Hi, I just might be your cousin!

Back to the point. One of the things I realized was that the Mays family had lots of children, but those children married into the same families. So my Mays ancestors married many people from the Rowe, Whitt, Click, and Slusher. That’s just what I’ve proven. Who knows what else! Not to mention those I’m aware of but haven’t found proof of yet.

So when I sat down one day looking through cookbooks, I finally took a good look at what this one contained.

Do you notice that little nugget? The sister of Mildred Craft-Rowe? Bertha Mays. I have to be up front with you. I do not believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason and if something eerie happens, then that means listen up it’s important. So my little mind has been agonizing over this ever since. Not only does the cookbook show that the sisters married into both the Rowe and Mays families, it tells me that they are from an area of Virginia that my Mays line was very prevalent.

Even if I didn’t have a maybe family connection to this cookbook, I would still love this cookbook. It not only has lots of stories and photos from the family, it has great down home recipes. I’m going to try some of them very soon!

Visit Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Website

Get your own cookbook at!

I’ll let you guys know if I ever connect the dots on this mystery. 😉

Thorward Meat Market

When I first started to dig into my father’s side of the family, my first stop was my Grandfather. He’s a wealth of knowledge! Not only does he have a great memory, but he also had a wealth of documents and photos in his Columbus, Ohio basement! It took me a few years, but I finally got him to dig them out and let me pour through them… Okay, so I waited until I had not only my older brother, but also my father to do the grunt work.

What is so great about my father’s family is that while everyone had a small idea of who was who, no one really had any historical knowledge of the family. So I was starting with a blank slate! That may sound daunting to many, but to me that was a blessing! My Grandmother on my mother’s side gave me a copy of her family tree and starting with that actually left me very frustrated! Trying to verify that information is a task I’m still working on! So Grandpa Moore’s basement of goodies was a great starting point! He even found his birth certificate. 😉

The first thing that really started to get me involved in my Dad’s side of the family is that they picked a town, and they stayed there! These guys may have been immigrants, but they were by no means nomads. So Caldwell, New Jersey is a great place that I can go to, where I know there is probably a million different things that I can find. One of the things that immediately make me think of the Thorward family is the Thorward Meat Market. This was one of the first things my Grandpa Moore shared with me.

The market was originally opened in 1856 my Frank Dobbins. He then sold it to George H Vanderhoof (a maybe relative of mine). Mr. Vanderhoof then sold it to my ancestor George Thorward and his partner Mr. Van Duyne. The market operated as Thorward and Van Duyne’s Market for many years. Among many other great things, it also owned the first telephone in Caldwell! Here are some pictures I have of the market then and now to share with you.

Thorward Market

Lewis Thorward is the second man from the left.

This photo is from Dec 2007. It was taken for me by John, a Find-a-Grave volunteer, who went above and beyond for me! He was just as excited to help me as I was to receive his help!

This photo is from Dec 2009. Brent Thorward took it when he recently visited Caldwell. He discovered all kinds of Thorward information at the local library. I’m so jealous! I need to go there for a longer visit next time!

Excuse me while I cry that I didn’t inherit that beautiful piece of architecture!

Last but not least, I have two newspaper clippings that were among Grandpa Moore’s treasures. Sadly they were just clippings so I don’t know the date or paper they are from!

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