Monday, October 16, 2017

Attack of Tonsillitis

Attack of Tonsillitis

No matter how trivial, when you find a date of an event, you must add it to your timeline, your genealogy records and analyze it.

When I was about 6, I had my tonsils out at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. This was common for us baby boomers and most everyone I knew had their tonsils out. I was horrified because they put me in a crib with no way to get out and no adult supervision. After the surgery, I woke up in the dark and couldn't talk. I banged on the metal hospital crib until I started to wake up other kids who started to cry. It is still an effective was to get attention in a hospital. I threw blood up on the nurse who came to see what all the noise was about. I'll bet she was sorry she went out for a "smoke."  

When I was allowed to go home, I wondered why my grandfather was so worried. He was very sick from kidney disease and was on dialysis. My mother kept me in bed at home. I got presents and a lot of ice cream.  Now, I know why Grandpa was worried. I'd bet he thought that this attack of his might have been the cause of his kidney problems. He might have been right.

This newspaper article confirms the date and location he was living in 1913. He was living in Westerly, RI on 8 Narragansett Ave. with his parents and his younger brother. He was commuting to Providence to start up the family business of dry cleaning as he had been doing since 1907.  Sometime in 1912, he and his family moved from nearby Pawcatuck, CT to Westerly, RI. He joined a Masonic Lodge around then too.

I wonder if his girlfriend, my grandmother, bought him ice cream for his sore throat?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Mystery of the Chinese Box

The Chinese Box, 2017, photo by Midge Frazel
The Mystery of the Chinese Box
Who doesn't love a good mystery?

This family heirloom, given to me by my grandmother, was a favorite thing of mine to play with whenever I visited my grandparent's home.The top has a storage area not easily shown in this photo. A locked drawer (with a key) and two storage drawer make it a useful and fun heirloom.

Before she died, my mother wanted me to write down whatever I could remember about things that my grandmother or grandfather owned. Fortunately for me, I knew my mother had an ulterior motive, she wanted me to appreciate and keep all of the family antiques. As this is a common problem of all genealogists, I pulled out the notes I took those days I interviewed her. 

Most all of that furniture I sold when my mother died because it would never have fit in my small house. My grandmother, not a sentimental person would have understood. My mother would have been very angry.

I enjoyed talking to Grandma about some of the things and when I got to this box, she told me to put it out in our car. My mother saw me do that and interrupted me when I asked my grandmother about it. She thought it ugly so why would I want that? The answer was simple, I used to play with it when I stayed at my grandparents house. My parents went to parties and I stayed with my grandmother.  I never asked where they went and never mentioned what I did. 

What I wrote down that day was that this box was "owned by Mrs. Morgan of Westerly". Until this week, I have not know who that might have been. While researching houses that my maternal family lived in, I found out that my great uncle Harold's wife, Martha Blanchard was a housekeeper for Mrs. Charles A. Morgan and his wife Clara. 

When Uncle Harold (my grandmother's oldest sibling) married Martha, Harold moved in and they lived with this Morgan family. Clara died in 1912. The Chinese box may have been a wedding gift for my grandparents who married in 1914. The Morgans had no children and neither did Harold and his wife Martha. It takes time to find women's maiden names but between Martha's family and my Westerly contacts, I started to piece it together.


Norwich bulletin. (Norwich, Conn.),
27 Dec. 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82014086/1912-12-27/ed-1/seq-6/>
This box must have been given to my grandparents in 1914 by my grandmother's brother, Harold Schofield Barber and his wife Martha Blanchard.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Planning to Write

EC Planner, photo by Midge Frazel, 2017
Planning to Write
with a 5x8 size
Erin Condren Life Planner (7-2017 to 12-2018)

When Erin Condren announced that they were going to offer a hardbound planner, I was a bit skeptical. I love the versatility of my Coiled Planner with its myriad of accessories but wondered whether I was going to have to eventually switch to a hardbound type planner. So, I went to my nearby Staples that carries EC products and took a look. They only carried the huge and heavy 8x10 size and I was immediately disappointed. I left the store without buying one.

At home, I turned to Amazon to see what was offered there and was pleasantly surprised to see a smaller version that was lighter weight. To be fair, Amazon also carried the 8x10 for a more reasonable price than at Staples.

The paper is not the new high-grade paper but since this is going to be a planner just for the family history book I am working on and not my regular planner, I looked at the price and decided it was worth it. 

 As I didn't need it personalized and I like the mid-century circles design, I bought it from Amazon instead of ordering it from the EC Web site. When it arrived two days later, I was pleased with the size and weight. I proceeded to break it in as I learned from my librarian friends. I doesn't lie completely flat as I had hoped but that is fine for my current project as it may flatten out as I use it. The silver foil edge is very pretty and as I wouldn't have added that to a planner at the EC Web site, I think I got a bargain.

My first EC planner was a Monthly Planner and it was this colorful style, which I didn't really like so when I switched to a EC Life Planner, I chose the neutral (black/white/gray) version, but again, for planning a book, it doesn't really matter.  

I took this photo to show where the weekly layout changes from one month to the next to show that the colors are not traditional. I put an EC sticker on the left page to show the size of the space.

Right away I noticed that the dividing line on the right of the layout is gone. That gives me more room to write. (I have been decorating that area with my EC Life Planner with DEK Design stickers, which is my favorite company for stickers.) For the purpose of this blog post, I have chosen to show a week that I have not written on as yet.

Does this make me want to switch to a hardbound EC LifePlanner? Probably not. Time will tell.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fined for Speeding

Photo of Great Uncle Harold, undated, held privately by Midge Frazel, 2017
Great Uncle Harold(1890-1944)

Fined for Speeding
Norwich bulletin. (Norwich, Conn.), 23 Sept. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.
 Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82014086/1913-09-23/ed-1/seq-6/>


My maternal grandmother's oldest sibling Harold Schofield Barber, was her playmate and someone I heard about growing up in Rhode Island. Grandmother was three years younger and quite the tomboy and loved her big brother immensely. 

I love finding out that people in my family were not perfect and while researching Harold, I discovered that he got caught speeding at the age of 22. Harold loved automobiles and worked for his father in the car repair business after leaving school in the 8th grade. 

He was lucky that he didn't lose his license for this offense as driving was part of his job at J. Fred & Son in downtown Westerly. My grandmother told me that her father allowed her to drive at an early age because there were no driver's licenses in those days so perhaps this is why losing his license was not an option for this speeding offense. 

I am on the hunt to find out exactly when Great Uncle Harold married and I have not found out as yet, but I have found out a lot more about his life than was told to me as a young genealogist. Family stories make genealogy fun, don't they?


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Just Like My Old Man

Westerly High School Yearbook, 1935
"Just Like My Old Man"

Family stories can be a lot of fun to tell especially when you suspect that you are the only person in the whole world that knows about them.

My late father told me that he had a part in his high school play but he didn't get up immediately and show me his Westerly High School Yearbook to see the photo so I can't be absolutely positive that this is the right picture but I can tell you that this picture appears in his class yearbook. I just found it online.

In 1935, my dad was a senior in high school and the only person in his family to finish high school. My grandfather, also named Tom, sent his two daughters, Annie and Ada, to work and that left my uncle, his disabled son, to be put to work part time with an 8th grade education (source: 1940 census).

My grandmother died in 1934 of heart failure, leaving my grandfather alone. He had a drinking problem and was not consistently employed.  He died in 1937. 

So, I am sure the whole family went on this Thursday night to see my father in his school play. Dad told me that when he walked out on the stage with white hair and fake beard, my grandfather stood up and said, "He looks just like my old man!".  Everyone laughed.

It was many years later that my second cousins in California sent me a photo of my great grandfather in Scotland. I do see that this man does look like my father in the class photo. What do you think?

John Broadfoot, 1923, just before his death, in Scotland


Friday, September 1, 2017

Close to Home: Events of Our Wedding


Wedding Album by Hallmark

Events of Our Wedding
This past month, we attended the wedding of a friend.  I thought to myself, "This could be the last time I attend a wedding". I might be too old to go to my grandsons weddings. Our parents did not make it to my daughter's wedding. (Steve's parents were alive and declined to go.)

It occurred to me that I really didn't have a timeline of our own wedding. I wrote in my planner that over this Labor Day weekend, I should search for the wedding album that I purchased in 1971 to keep wedding information in. I found it, still packed from when we made the move to Stow, 7 years ago. 
As part of a good disaster plan, I realized that I needed to at least write down events from when my husband came home from the Vietnam War to the time we married. (30 March 1971 to 6 Nov 1971) 

I found out that I didn't remember much about any of it until I started this project. It took that book, my personal calendar journal and the photographs of that time for me to put together, in some kind of order, a timeline. I have just spend 4 hours trying to gather data!

Since our wedding, nearly 46 years have passed. Most family members have died. We have no idea where my husband's best man has gone. Even as a life-long genealogist, there is a lot I can't remember and there is no one to ask. Even some of my friends didn't even remember they attended. I am grateful to those who took snapshots. No one took any photos of the rehearsal or the rehearsal dinner at the location that no longer exists with the right name.

Learn from my mistake. Start a timeline and start asking people who attended. I couldn't have relied on photographs alone. 

Hargreaves Studio ( Photo of me in the lower level of the church) 6 Nov 1971.

One thing that I did write down was the time we arrived to the reception from the church and when the reception was over. The lady at the hotel "running the show", booked another reception after ours and never told me we had a time limit. 

2:50 PM to 5:15 is what I wrote down. It is dark in New England at 5:15 and everyone was glad to leave.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dealing with DNA

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2017
Dealing with DNA

Recently, I tested with 23andMe and discovered some things I didn't know about myself and one major thing that I suspected but was not sure about.

When my daughter was pregnant with her first child, I encouraged her to take the genetic testing because you can never know enough about your own health or your future health. It is a good thing she did because the doctor immediately sent my son-in-law to be tested too. After our initial panic that everything was going to be fine, I sat down with my family health information, talked to my own doctor and decided to find out who was the carrier for the disease. 

I think now that I have been tested, it was as I suspected, I carry the "bad gene" and it might be the reason why I have such health issues. My family is the carrier of cystic fibrosis. I have a variant detected in my report.

I repeat. I do not have cystic fibrosis. I just carry the variant. This is the page suggested to be read by 23andMe. Cystic Fibrosis

At the same time, I discovered that the child that my maternal great aunt (supposedly) gave birth to might be one of my matches in my DNA at AncestryDNA.

This morning, I pulled out the book that came with my first version of genealogy software for Windows and went back to reading how to chart out any medical pedigree chart.

In the meantime, I continue to review what I know about my great aunt...