52 Ancestors 2014, ancestor story

Ancestor Story – Jane Zina Petrina Folkman Skeen – 52 Ancestors

Jane Zina Petrina FolkmanJane Zina Petrina Folkman – June 1897 – age 21

Jane Zina Petrina Folkman is my 2nd great grandmother.  Let me tell you about her.

Jane Zina Petrina Folkman

  • Born – 30 March 1876 in Plain City, Weber, Utah to Jens Peter Folkman and Maren Catherine Thomasen.
  • Married – 10 June 1897 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah to Joseph Skeen.
  • Mother of 8 children – Zina Electa Skeen, Lyman Lamont Skeen, Joseph Maurice Skeen, Naomi Skeen, Melba Trina Skeen, Mae Skeen, Elda Skeen, and Evan Folkman Skeen.
  • Died – 9 December 1953 in Ogden, Weber, Utah.

A few tid-bits about Grandma Skeen:

  • She was tiny, about 5 feet tall.
  • She kept her hair long, waist length, and pinned it up in a bun.
  • She went by Petrina.  Her husband called her Mother or Teenie.
  • She had an 8th grade education.
  • She loved to read and would stay up late at night reading.
  • She was an excellent cook – everyone says so.
  • She liked flowers, fruits, and vegetables and tried to have good gardens.
  • She was raised in poor circumstances.
  • She served as a Relief Society President for 14 years.



Seven months before her death she dictated her life story to her daughter Melba Trina Skeen Lee.  I am grateful this short document made it’s way to me.  From it come these gems:

“My father was a merchant and also had a small farm, but with this large family it was necessary for the older children to be employed in what work that was available.  I helped some of the neighbors with house work and also in Ogden.  The wages were from 35 cents a day to $2.50 a week.”

“Cosmetics were unknown to girls in my day, but I can remember using a little cornstarch on my nose for powder.  My cheeks were naturally rosy.  Our courting was done in horse and buggy and a group in a “white top”.  We mostly walked where we wanted to go.”

“One night at a dance Joe Skeen was home from school at the university.  He looked so nice in a suit and his hair combed in a pompadour and I felt proud when he asked me to dance.  From then on I dated with him.  I can recall how bashful he was and timid of the dark.  I would often hear his feet running down the hard walk after he had taken me home at night.”

She married Joe Skeen and they lived first near Rigby, Idaho; then in Plain City, Utah; then near Blackfoot, Idaho; then Tooele, Utah; then they bought a farm in Warren, Utah.  Of her daughter Naomi {my great-grandmother} she writes, “A baby girl, Naomi, was born April 27, 1905.  She was such a patient, good baby, that Father was often tempted to stick her with a pin so I would give her some attention.”

Of her children she wrote, “One would think I had lots of help with 5 daughters, but with only one older son living they were needed on the farm.  They started helping or bothering as soon as they could sit on horse, as young as the age of three.  They helped outside in the beets, hay, herding cows etc.”

Of Petrina’s eight children two died before their mother.  Lyman Lamont Skeen and Zina Electa Skeen.  Of their deaths she said, “Great sorrow came to our home when our son Lamont passed away with spinal meningitis on June 24, 1912 at the age of 10.  We mourned the death of our oldest daughter Zina in October 1925.  She had been left with a weak heart because of complications from Scarlet Fever in childhood.  She had been in poor health and her activities limited.”

One of my favorite stories about Petrina was shared at a family reunion by my grandfather.  “Grandma always took care of the chickens and there were quite a bunch of them – she’d clean the eggs and she’d take them into town and trade them for groceries at Central Market and she’d sell some so she’d have money.  I remember she bought an Ice Box from Boyles Furniture and they came out to deliver it (she hadn’t told Grandpa about it) and Grandpa, not being aware of it came as they were unloading it and told them to load it back up because he hadn’t ordered it.  Grandma came out and said, “Joe this is none of your business – I bought the Ice Box”, and she told the men to put it in the house.”  She sounds like a spunky little lady!


Many of the family stories I have come from Family Reunions.  Does your family have reunions?

6 thoughts on “Ancestor Story – Jane Zina Petrina Folkman Skeen – 52 Ancestors”

  1. Oh I love this! It is so nice to have things written by family like that, to know things you would never normally know! So very sweet! And loving the names! I think I might have to start a separate genealogy blog to start doing something similar!

    1. Thank you. When I can find something personal like this it truly is a treasure! You said, ‘And loving the names!’, I am a huge fan of the name Jane Zina. When I had my last baby that name was the top contender if we had a girl but we had a boy so he is named for her husband instead. If you start a family history blog let me know, it’s always nice to read about family history adventures.

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