Grace (Coombs) Howes
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Grace Flora (Coombs) Howes (abt. 1887 - 1951)

Grace Flora Howes formerly Coombs
Born about in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 10 Jul 1909 in Somerville, Massachusetts, United Statesmap
Wife of — married 5 Mar 1913 in Beverly, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 64 [location unknown]
Profile last modified | Created 21 May 2015
This page has been accessed 917 times.


Grace Flora Coombs was born 17 December 1879 in Boston, Massachusetts to Eseck Washington Coombs and Jennie Sophia Weaver. [1] Her father was born in New Hampshire and her mother was born in Canada. Little else is known at this point about her early life.

On July 10, 1909, Grace married Ralph Milbury MacNeill in Somerville, Somerville, Lincoln, Massachusetts. [2]

The 1910 Census has Grace living in Somerville as a lodger with a Benjamin Lunkins and his family. She was working as a dressmaker. [3]

In her diary in December 1947 she wrote, "Pa and I have lived together 35 years." From this we'd inferred that they married about 1912. Records indicated that on March 13, 1913, she married John Woodward Howes.[4]

We next see her in the 1920 census living in Everett, Mass., with Jack, their four-year-old son Paul, and a two-year-old daughter named Jane. [5]

In the 1930 census the family is in Cambridge. Now they have 14-year-old Paul, nine-year-old James, and Grace's 78-year-old mother Jennie Coombs living with them. [6]

In 1940, Grace and John were in Bedford, with their now three children: 24 year old Paul; 19 year old James and 16 year old Harriet. Jennie, Grace's mom, no longer lived with them as she passed away in 1931. [7]

Elsie Howes once wrote to Donna: "You would have loved Nanna Howes - she was a very giving person ... she would hate the non-family way we live now - she loved family gatherings and very much loved to wait on everybody. ... she came from the Cape - Brewster, I believe."

According to Peg (Oldford) Nelson, Elsie (Oldford) Howes had papers somewhere giving the info of Jack and Grace's engagement, including the newspaper picture. In the 1930 census it says they were married at age 22.

Peg also writes, "My friends from Tempe Arizona must have history that will link. They are the Robert & Dede Coombs (they told me the name was spelled both ways) and have relatives in Vermont, but Bob died not too long ago."

Her granddaughter Donna Grace (Howes) Whitten is named for her.


  1. * "Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915," database, FamilySearch ( : 4 December 2014), Grace Flora Coombs, 17 Dec 1879; citing Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, ; FHL microfilm 594,915.
  2. "Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 January 2017), Ralph Milbury Macneill and Grace Florence Coombs, 10 Jul 1909; citing Marriage, Somerville, Somerville, Lincoln, Massachusetts Bay, British Colonial America, 379, town clerk offices, Massachusetts; FHL microfilm 2,436,158.
  3. US Federal Census; Year: 1910; Census Place: Somerville Ward 4, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: T624_604; Page: 21A; Enumeration District: 1001; FHL microfilm: 1374617;; Accessed 30 July 2017
  4. "Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 May 2015), John Woodward Howes and Grace Florence Coombs, 05 Mar 1913; citing p 721 no 119, Beverly, , Massachusetts, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 2,409,945
  5. US Federal Census; Year: 1920; Census Place: Everett Ward 6, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_710; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 144;; Accessed 30 July 2017
  6. US Federal Census; Year: 1930; Census Place: Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: 917; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0072; Image: 474.0; FHL microfilm: 2340652;; Accessed 30 July 2017
  7. US Federal, Census; Year: 1940; Census Place: Bedford, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: T627_1602; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 9-47;; Accessed 30 July 2017

Note: There is a Social Security death record for a Grace Howes (022-36-9087) in Massachusetts, Birth Date: 31 Oct 1887, Death Date: 15 May 1968. This does not seem to be Grace F. Howes.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Grace by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with Grace:

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Peg (Oldford) Nelson wrote, "My friends from Tempe Arizona must have history that will link. They are the Robert & Dede Coombs (they told me the name was spelled both ways) and have relatives in Vermont, but Bob died not too long ago."
posted by Chris Whitten

Rejected matches › Flora M Howe (1885-)

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