Saturday, February 15, 2014

52 Ancestors: #7 Kathleen Coffen Seavey (1905-1979)

Kathleen Coffen Seavey, my great Uncle Archie's wife, was born in Portland, Maine, on this date, in 1905, the youngest of  9 children born to Edmund Coffen and "Kate" Quain. Her father died just four months later, at age 39, of tuberculosis.

At the tender age of 17, she married William Francis Lancaster, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on March 20, 1920. He was 21 and worked in a canning factory.

She was married a second time, to James A. Moultson, but I have found no record of this marriage so far. The two of them had one child, a daughter named Dorothy. At the time of Dorothy's marriage in 1943, Kathleen stated her residence as New York. She was probably married to Uncle Archie by this time.

In the 1930 census, on April 24th of that year, my great uncle Archie was enumerated as single, and stationed at Fort Williams, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. 

I haven't yet found a marriage record for Archie and Kathleen. But even if they married later on in 1930, with Kathleen dying in 1979, it doesn't explain the writing on the top of this anniversary cake. As far as I can discern, it reads, "Happy 50th Anniversary Leenie and Archie". Maybe they were married in 1929? If so, this picture was taken shortly before Kathleen passed away.

I have very fond memories of Uncle Archie and Aunt Kathleen. As far as I knew, they always lived in an apartment in New Rochelle, New York. Usually once a year, the two of them would drive to Maine in Archie's very old flivver. They thought the world of my dad and his growing family, but we were always amazed that they made the trip in that car!

They faithfully sent Christmas money to all of us kids every year, and it was a Christmas vacation ritual to sit at the dining room table to write our thank-you notes to them. 

We made one trip as a family to New Rochelle, probably in the early 70's. We discovered how meager their living situation was, in a somewhat depressed neighborhood, but it was the only home they had ever shared. We met Kathleen's grand-daughter Roberta during this trip. It became obvious that Kathleen's daughter and family had drawn them to New York.

Kathleen died in New Rochelle on the 1st of October, 1979. She is buried in Forest City Cemetery, in South Portland, Maine, alongside her husband Archie, who followed her in death two years later.


1930 U.S . Census; Census Place: Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 830; Page: 7A; Image: 293.0, Archie L. Seavey.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 15 February 2014), memorial page for Kathleen A. Coffen Seavey (1905–1979), Find A Grave Memorial no. 58223179, citing Forest City Cemetery, South Portland, Maine. 

“Maine, Birth Records, 1621-1922,” database,, entry for Kathleen A. Coffen, 15 June 1905, Portland.

“New Hampshire, Marriage Records Index, 1637-1947,” database,, entry  for William Francis Lancaster and Katherine Arletta Coffen, 20 Mar 1920, Portsmouth.

“New Hampshire, Marriage Records Index, 1637-1947,” database,, entry for Robert Edmund Wilder and Dorothy Arletta Moultson, 12 Sep 1943, Hopkinton.

“U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current,” database,, entry for Kathleen Seavey, Oct 1979, New Rochelle, New York.


This is the seventh in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.

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