Corroborating Frank Watts (aka "Frank Withers")


Sethian sleuths!

Well, 1 child of Frank Watt’s 3 children died at 3, so the question is whether there are high school records to be found for Doris Watts and Edward Watts.

A side note re: Ms. C.:

I read the 1st free page ($39 for the digital 3-page article–Miss Callaghan was an educational maverick, it turns out–advocating the teaching plan approach which is used everywhere these days). There could be details in it that might help but maybe not. I couldn’t find, at present, a free version when I sought it online.


Here’s a Southside High School yearbook from 1950. There actually is a Doris Watts mentioned (probably need a Ctrl-F search to find it):

But if Frank died in 1942 and was 74, this surely can’t be the right one, unless frank was in his late 50s or 60s when Doris was born, and had died by the time she was in high school. If Doris was say 11 when she started at Southside in 1942 and left 1950, Frank would have died the year she started (guessing here as I only know normal high school ages for UK schools, as far as I know you start around 11 and leave when you reach 18?). If Doris was 11 circa 1942, and Ursula her mother was born 1888, she would have given birth to Doris at the age of around 42.

Possible I guess but unlikely, were older parents more common then? Does seem odd that a Doris Watts has come up though at the right school at kind of the right time, surely it’s not that common a name.


Mentioned earlier:

born 1885
wife born 1888
frank died 1942
wife died in 1954
frank was 74 when he died
Franks’ wife was 75 when she died
at the time of the session frank had been dead for 32 years

The numbers don’t add up and can’t be relied upon. Likelihood is that the children were had while Frank was in his mid-20s or so.

I think folks remember better when they were born and how old they were when they died–the former because the date us repeated over and over during life and less likely to be distorted than the death year which is usually only known after dying. Among the dying, most folks wait, if they are near a birthday, to die after that–just to say I lived 74 years in challenging physical reality, not 73!

His birth date plus age at death does bring the total to 1962 which is pretty close, considering the year was 1963 when this session happened.

Based on this possibility, the two children, likely only 1 to 2 years apart in age as was typical, would have been born no earlier than 1910 or so up until about 1920-ish.


If anyone is near an American university, check it’s library for the Quarterly Journal of Speech for 1946. You can read it for free there, probably copy it too if you want. Being that old it may have been retired, but it might be worth looking. Taylor and Francis was the publisher of the journal and they’re squeezing every cent of revenue they can.


The years and age’s frank gave dont match up on their own so I wouldnt throw anything out based solely on that. Good job finding a Doris Watts. I admit, the same school, same name, fits the timeframe and in elmira. I like her for this, lol.


Even though the yearbook is from 1950, on that page, her name on the list of kids graduating in 1952


So even later than we thought then. Still, she could be the one, the dates were out of whack like you said. I don’t think we’ll get much further without access to information that’s probably not freely available. If we could track that Doris Watts’ family history though, it might get very interesting…


If we are at a financial impasse, maybe put it the current scenario/development on the Facebook site. Some have $ and might be interested to probe further.

After all, although records will more come online, there may be people living who are contactable once their identity is established. Communicating directly with a descendant of either child could yield a treasure trove, one that might not be preserved in future since the family would have no clue that, say, their grandpappy was…Seth!


I have NO experience in historical record hunting, but am enjoying all the finds others have posted.
The Mormons are good at family records and should be consulted.
Mary Dillman is also an avid Seth researcher and might have some insite.
This is all a good start. Carry on!


I would be willing to put money down if fairly sure we were looking in the right place. I wonder if seeing the Doris Watts yearbook would actually tell us anything though, or if any of these people are on the usual online ancestry sites. A better line of enquiry might be local records offices in Elmira, etc. Bit of a long trek for me though, around 3000 miles… :smile:


I can’t think what a yearbook might offer that would lead to other clues whereas the genealogical pursuit might tell us of grandchildren that still live. If we find their names, then we likely will find one or more on the Internet, perhaps even Facebook or LinkedIn, etc.

When (let’s create this!) we find them, I bet they would be interested that their grandfather could be (an aspect) of Seth who wrote numerous books while dead that have sold millions. The corroboration re: the Ouija board info would be a lovely thing. :smiley:


I’ve searched for both Frank & Francis and Doris Watts in Elmira, Chemung County, New York in the 1940 census ( Nothing in New York state at all.


so, should the search continue for ‘withers’?



“Withers” is a made-up name by Jane for the purposes of publication.

We found that a Doris Watts graduated in 1952 from South Side High School in Elmira, N.Y.

If it is her, she could still be alive, actually.

Being of her generation, if she married, she most probably took her husband’s name. In the '50s, if you were female and 30 years old, you were an old maid and considered unlikely to find a marriage suitor. There was a lot of pressure to marry in one’s 20s back then.

Perhaps a good avenue of enquiry is to see whether further mention of Doris Watts can be found (at least during the when she may have been single). We can concentrate on the Elmira-ish area. There may be newspaper notices. It was common at the time for print, of course, to tell who is doing what–social committees, performances, events, marriage notices or mentions, etc. We may get a lead as to who she might have married…

It might be important to remember that digital archival websites only have a small fraction of what is to be digitized, still. They continue that process and databases expand over time. :smile:

THREE lines of enquiry:

  1. People who went to high school with Doris are still alive and live in the Elmira area. Find online groups comprised of individuals in that area (Meetup group, etc.) Ask if anyone knows her.

  2. Since she may still be alive, find government offices and call them. Speaking to a person can help enormously. People in small towns usually are friendly on the phone and willing to chat a bit to help out. Such a person might know her or suggest how to find her–organizations she might be a part of–say, a senior citizen’s group or other avenues we, not living in that area, are unaware of.

  3. Place an ad in the Elmira newspaper. Older folks in smaller towns usually do read this (and are less savvy and connected to the Internet).

This would require a bit of work but are good leads. We could divvy up the work between us.



Perhaps we should use more sethian/Framework 2 approaches–think upon it, invite information, do predream suggestion, automatic writing, etc., and see whether anything comes up. Even if nothing does consciously, it may lead to a dream that induces an impulse that leads us into the right direction. :smiley:


Some good ideas @anon38262219, both the Framework 1 and 2 ones! Of the three F1 lines of enquiry, I could only realistically help with the first one, being a foreigner. The rest I will have to leave to our American members.

In fact are there any non-American members except me?..


I’m a Canuck!

This message insists I MUST write 20 CHARACTERS or more. Grr… I was happy with that short answer. With regard to answering such a question as to member country of origin, it would be nice to give short answers when appropriate…


I’m glad there’s another Commonwealth citizen here! :crown:

Maybe its a setting @chris could alter with his admin privileges?


I tried to get help from my sis, who is an Ancestry member, but she is also a Christian and wanted little to do with our favorite ghost! :smirk:


She has merely postponed the inevitable enlightenment. Her teacher is waiting and there is no rush…ron