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... 


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Working to Tighten a Timeline


In order to find out exactly when my maternal grandparents moved from Westerly, RI to Cranston, RI, I have been searching the Norwich, CT Bulletin available at the Library of Congress digitized newspapers online. I am very glad this is online because this is so tedious I can't imagine reading this at an archive on microfilm.

I quickly learned that I also needed to use a search for my grandmother's sister, who was still unmarried in 1916. I found two mentions of my family in the October and November papers in that year.

From family records, city directories and the Rhode Island state census of 1915, I might be able study the visiting habits of my family. After my grandparents married in 1914, I know they lived with my great grandparents while my grandfather commuted to build the business in Providence. Despite his young age, my grandfather convinced his father to move from laundry into drycleaning in the more urban Providence, RI. Eventually, my great grandfather sold his business to this younger son and moved to the Providence area and lived there until he and his wife died.

These two clips provide me with clues. Dorothy Barber, was a working woman at this time as a modern woman of her time. She was a stenographer and bookkeeper all her life and I knew her quite well. This clip shows that she was visiting my grandparents over the "Columbus Day" weekend. It probably wasn't a holiday but since she worked for her father in his automobile business, she could go visiting when she pleased. She probably came to visit for my grandmother's birthday which was October 11 and to see her baby niece, my mother.

The other clip tells me that Thanksgiving was spent in Westerly that year. The child was my mother and she was just a baby having been born in January of 1916. She was born in Westerly and my grandparents moved to Providence because the commute from Westerly in the winter was hard on family life.

I know my grandmother gave birth to a stillborn child after 8 months of pregnancy early in their marriage but my mother came along quickly after that. Amazingly, my uncle was born in 1917 so this growing family had to find somewhere to settle quickly.

My mother's first memory is of watching her brother wet his pants on the sidewalk in from of their home as they were moving in. I always thought that was funny.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Struck by a Car

Newspapers Tell the Story

Struck by a Car This Day in 1920

Younger brother to my great grandfather, Howard R. Barber was struck by a car and he must have died from his injuries on 23 Sept 1920. His wife, Jennie's maiden name is unknown and no stone marks their burial in Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut. They had no children. 

It is amazing to see this entry of August 21, 1920 which I found on August 21, 2017.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Another Account of Grandmother's Wedding


Morning Wedding at Westerly
This week, I spent some quality time researching the Connecticut Newspaper Holdings of the Norwich Bulletin to add some interesting events and date to the stories of my ancestors. I was surprised to find ANOTHER account of my maternal grandparent's wedding in Westerly, Rhode Island. This makes three accounts of the same event. None are exactly the same. (Link to the other two)

This one reports that there was a wedding breakfast at the home of the bride's parents (My great grandparents) and that they left on the 11:50 east bound (instead of noon) train for a short wedding trip.

There were no photographs of the event but I do have her portrait photo taken when she graduated from high school two years before.

"...Bride is one of the most attractive and lovable young ladies in Westerly..."

Portrait of Hannah Josephine Barber, 1912
Taken the year she graduated from Westerly High School