Saturday, July 22, 2017

Plan to Remember

Photo by Midge Frazel, privately held, 2017
ErinCondren.com Products Shown Here
Plan To Remember
(2017-2018)

For a year I have been working on a plan to manage my genealogy investigations in a new way. I am working only part-time now as I am "supposed" to be retired. I can hear my readers laughing.

In the last few years, I have learned so much about researching and citation that the Genealogy Do-Over and Genealogy Go-Over have really helped me review and manage the records that I found in past years plus keep up with my blog writing and personal writing. 

As I am a life long planner and journal writer, I needed to find a non-computer based system to help be remember where I stopped working and to plan from that point forward. Since I write mostly about my own family now, I am calling my work from this point on Plan To Remember. I am not waiting to start in 2018. The time is now.

To accomplish my writing goals, I needed a planner, a modified "bullet" style research journal with a log of my daily accomplishments and a notebook to write in. I decided on the Erin Condren Life Planner system of planners and notebooks. After a bumpy start, it is working for me. My research methods are improving and I find I can still remember what I was doing if I take a few days break.

Yes, this system is expensive and takes time to adapt to but I am trying to be patient with myself. I find that reading online how others plan is helping me decide what works for me, without self-stressing. Managing your work and life together is harder that it looks. There are a lot of distractions.

I am working with Pilot Frixion erasable pens. If I make a mistake, it is easy to erase my "messiness" and rework what I wrote. These pens are not permanent and are erased by friction and temperature, so I am thinking that typing in Scrivener will be the next step.

Erin Condren's system is attractive and allows for creativity. As I come from a family line of artists, I found out that I needed creativity to be part of my life. I think thematically as a part of project based learning. There is no one right way to do your genealogy but learning what is successful for others can help you decide what works for you.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Tom Broadfoot's Birthday Remembrance


100th Birthday Remembrance (1917-2017) 


My father, Thomas Harcomb Broadfoot
(21 July 1917 to 12 Sept 1998)


Devoted son and brother, uncle to my cousins, great athlete, first in his family to graduate from high school, hard worker, outstanding husband, father and grandfather. Fought bravely in World War II and succumbed to lung cancer peacefully in his easy chair at home. A life well lived. We put a flag out for you every Memorial Day, July 4th and Veteran's Day so that we never forget and always miss you. Happy Birthday.


Favorite photos of Tom, 2017

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Finding Grandfather's High School Graduation

Masthead of The Westerly Sun newspaper courtesy of the Westerly Public Library, 11 July 2017
Cost of the paper on this day was one cent.

Finding Grandfather's High School Graduation:
A One Cent Solution

For many months now, I have been trying to find out where and when my maternal grandfather went to high school. Since, the area in which the family lived encompassed both the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut, I knew it might be a challenge and I was going to need the help of my genealogy friends who live and work in the Westerly (RI) and Pawcatuck (CT) geographic location. In the middle of this investigation, a family historian found my Ancestry.com public tree and a mention of her grandfather's name on one of my family photographs! 

The newspaper articles for my grandparent's wedding hinted that my grandfather went to a public high school. His father went to private high schools, one in Rhode Island and one in Connecticut, so I could not be sure that my great grandfather didn't want for his only living son, the same type of experience and that we might never find out.

My grandmother told me that she met her husband in Peters Brothers Ice Cream Shop in Westerly, Rhode Island where she worked after high school. He waited until she was off and walked her home. I didn't think of it at the time but it meant that they both lived in Rhode Island in 1912.
Grandfather Evans was seven years old than his wife. That's a lot of time at the age that they were. Grandmother told me that he had been working for his father for a number of years. They married in 1914, so my grandmother was two years out of high school. She worked, standing on her feet all of that time, "wearing ill fitting shoes".  Her feet always hurt and she lived to be 98 years old. 

Cousin and genealogist, Barbara Fallon, loves a mystery and since she is retired and volunteers in the Westerly Public Library, took on the mystery of my grandfather's high school and found his name in the Pawcatuck High School graduating class of 1905.  The Westerly Sun published the high school graduation article in the Sunday evening edition of June 11, 1905. She took screen shots of the article with her iPad and sent it to me in sections and asked the library to print out and save in .JPG format from the microfilm so I could see all that was mentioned.  I gained a lot of information from this one source and would not have found out any of this if it wasn't for her expert help. (More to follow...)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wedding Newspaper Announcements

Previous Posts
Weather for a Wedding
Grandparent's Marriage Certificate
Grandmother's Wedding Ring


Newspaper Accounts of the Wedding

The Day (28 Jan 1914) and The Westerly Sun, Westerly, RI (28 January 1914)



Some time ago, I decided to search the Google News Archive for newspaper accounts of my family since GenealogyBank searches yields little information because Rhode Island is a state dominated by the Providence Journal and they are no longer a Rhode Island based company. 

Much to my delight, my grandparent's wedding was covered in the New London, CT based newspaper called, "The Day". My great grandfather, Charles E. Stewart was a prominent businessman having a growing and thriving laundry and dry cleaning business that was based both in Rhode Island and Connecticut in 1914. My grandfather went into business with his father and his brother, and being ambitious, he grew the business by expanding into big city of Providence. 

At the time of their marriage, by using city directories and the federal census, I knew where both sets of my maternal great grandparents lived. That's very important to the story of my grandparent's wedding.

My grandmother graduated from Westerly High School in 1912 and went to work in downtown Westerly, where she met my grandfather. I enjoyed reading that she had "many friends". It also confirmed that her sister was bridesmaid and my grandfather's brother was groomsman and that the wedding was a "simple affair", as I was told. I didn't know they left for a "honeymoon" to Boston after the service.

When Barbara Fallon found the article that is slanted to the bride in her hometown, it gives me the time of the service as 11 o'clock, which means if they ate, it was probably a wedding breakfast. From my research, I knew the location of my great grandparent's houses and this is another confirmation of a non-census year location.

Now, we see they left on the noon train to Boston from Westerly. It also eludes to my grandmother being popular with young people. She worked in Peters Bros Ice Cream Shop which was on Main St. in Westerly  Wouldn't that make you popular? My grandmother wouldn't eat anything but chocolate ice cream.

The Westerly Sun announcement also confirms that at that time, the Westerly laundry was on the West Side near the Connecticut line. More data for my family business timeline.

I was always impressed that my grandmother was only twenty years old when she married and my grandfather, an established businessman, was seven years older. 

They lived with my grandfather's parents in Westerly according to the 1915 Rhode Island census. 

Rev. William F. Williams lived on Elm St. and was an Episcopalian minister. (1920 federal census)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Weather for a Wedding

The New London Day (CT), January 26, 1914, Google News Archive.
The Westerly Sun, (RI), obtained by Barbara Fallon, June, 2017

The Weather and the Wedding

I didn't enjoy a lot of the wedding planning for my own wedding. I wanted it small and simple. My mother had other ideas, and they were big fancy ideas that my father didn't want to pay for. I considered eloping. When I complained to my grandmother, she laughed and told me weddings were much simpler in the past. "Weddings are for the bride and groom to remember and not for anyone else."  What do you think?

She told me she and grandpa, put on their best clothes, took her sister and his brother went to the church rectory, got married and had something to eat together. She didn't remember what she wore and no one took a photograph. "It was a foggy day.", she recalled.

A few years later, I used a date calculator at work to figure out my grandparents wedding was a Tuesday. I was surprised. I called her on the phone.

Grandmother told me that ministers did not marry people on weekends as they were too busy with church services on weekend days. Another generation later, my parents were married on a Sunday afternoon. I was married on a Saturday and it was hard to find a location for the reception that didn't involve a big expensive meal. If it wasn't for the photographs, I wouldn't remember what was served.

Trying to prove the possible weather, was easier than I thought. I went back a day for the newspaper, "The Day" and learned it was "Unsettled".   Barbara Fallon looked in the Westerly Library archive and discovered the same forecast. At least it wasn't snowy and cold.

The newspaper announcements were similar but not exactly the same. The perspective from each account was slanted to the family of the bride in her state and the groom in his. That's the next piece of evidence to be analyzed.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Grandparent's Marriage Certificate


Grandparent's Marriage Certificate 

Evans and H. Josephine (Barber) Stewart Marriage Certificate, 2004, privately held
link to larger version
Along the road to becoming a professional genealogist, I was given the wonderful advice to send for as many certified copies of the vital records of birth, marriage and death as they are proof for joining many lineage societies and to have authentic records. I made a list of the ones I needed to send for, read the directions at the state and town level and sent my requests for certified copies. 

For purposes of this blog post, I blurred the name of the town clerk certifying the record.

When I received this one from the town of Westerly, I was disappointed by the lack of information provided. Although it gives the full name of the bride and groom and the place of marriage, I knew it could not be all of the information. The book and page number were given. 

Barbara Fallon, genealogist who lives in Westerly, who is a distant cousin, offered to stop by the town hall and look at the record. Fortunately for me, she was well known to them and they allowed her to copy down the information and she emailed me (the screen shot on the right) what she learned. 

You can't beat this kind of service. 

All of the information was correct as far as I knew from my oral family interviews, the Family Bible and the inscription in my grandmother's ring

But, the town clerk should have entered the additional information on the certificate or in a letter to me for the fee I paid. Luckily, I have never had this questioned when I needed this certificate but I have included the additional information on my applications.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Grandmother's Wedding Ring

Grandmother's Wedding Ring, Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015

Grandmother's Wedding Ring

When I became a grandparent in 2009, I knew it was time to spend more time thoroughly researching my (maternal) grandparents because, as all genealogists know, the key to understanding the firm foundation of your family begins with the grandparents. I owe it to my grandparents to be able to tell my family and future generations their story.

My grandmother lived to be 98 years 3 months and 15 days and my daughter remembers her well. I have spent many months now researching them, their homes, the family business and their ancestral families. It has been worth my time.

The questions I asked my grandmother must have seemed endless and she answered them patiently and, as it turns out, accurately. I was surprised at how much she remembered and I discovered that she told me things that even my mother never knew. When she began to fail, I knew I must keep my notes, enter them into my genealogy database and tell her story.

She was the heart of my maternal family and the keeper of the family valuables of my grandfather's family. 

It is only recently that I realized, with one sentence and with one geographic location, that my maternal and paternal charts pivot in Westerly, Rhode Island with her, because my grandmothers knew each other, because as young women, they lived and worked in that small area. I know I am lucky to have this information.

I won't be blogging all that I have learned but I hope this will remind others to research and write down information about their grandparents.

The photo in this post was created with my Flip-Pal scanner. I can't take a good photo of the inscription, which reads, "ES to HJB 1-27-'14" and to which I added, "S-M 11-6-71".

When my husband and I decided to marry, I asked my grandmother if I could borrow her ring to take to a jeweler to replicate. She took it off, held it for a moment and told me that my grandfather would have been pleased that I liked the only ring he could afford in 1914. It is rose-gold and cost $27.00. She told me to keep it and to do with it as I wished. I had it sized to my finger, added my inscription and was married in it. I've been wearing it for 45 years. 

Update! I found the inventory card of my grandparents belongings. The ring cost $5.00. 
The story of my grandparent's wedding is one I can now begin to tell.

Photo of us showing her wedding ring on my finger, 6 Nov 1971
Original photo, privately held, taken by Hargraves Studio in Riverside, RI

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Crompton Family in 1911


James William Crompton
1911 Census

Find My Past, 2017 (used with permission as an Ambassador)

This is the only UK census that lists my Uncle Jack's whole family living in Kearsley, England.

It is learned from this census record that his parents had two children that did not live.  Census lists "born alive" as a choice, eliminating children stillborn. Family has 5 living children. Where they fit in the birth order of this family can't be determined without oral history which I don't have.

James is 44 and Rebecca is 45 and they live at 14 Victoria Lane having moved from 3 Tasker's Lane as listed in the 1901 UK census. From my research on the coal mining industry in this area, that street was where the coal miner's lived because people either worked in the coal mining industry or in the textile mills. It is easy to forget that they walked to work.

Jack's oldest sibling Fred is an adult as he is 17 and employed as a Cotton Peicer/Piecer. 

This investigation now involves the Coal Mining Industry and to help me with that I first had to find out about Mining Occupations.

Mining is dirty, dangerous hard work. In an earlier post, I mentioned that Uncle Jack's father was missing a finger and that's how I was sure of a passenger list? 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

School Days at Kearsley Moor School

Uncle Jack's School Records|
The Crown Register

While searching for information about my late Uncle Jack's baptism, I was stunned to see his school enrollment records in a database called "National School Admission Registers & Log-books, 1870-1914 Transcription" at Find My Past. (As a Find My Past Ambassador, I like to report on interesting records I find there.) 

This is the title page of the 1893 book of school records. Since Jack was not born until 1902, I took a closer look at this record. Notice it says, "infant department". 
Find My Past, 2017
(original image I downloaded)
(record page I downloaded
This is a crop of the record page: It lists Jack correctly as John Crompton, with a student number of 880, with a registration date of 5/6/05 (which is June 5, 1905), and his birth date as 8/7/02 (which is correct as July 8, 1902). This indicates that he was registered for school when he was only 3. The full name of the school is Kearsley Moor Church of England School. If he had not been baptized in the Church of England, then there would have been an exemption checked for the religious classes taught with the academic subjects.


The 1940 US Federal Census reported that Jack went to school through the 8th grade, indicating that he was about 13 or 14 years old when he left school and probably went to work before coming to America.

The next record I located was one whose book cover (shown here) says "school register" and is for admissions, progresses and withdrawal.
Find My Past, 2017
Find My Past, 2017
(Full image posted here)

Most of the students listed are withdrawing from school and going to work. Jack is listed as student #793, with his father's name as James William, 25/7/10 (July 25, 1910) as "date of admission or re-admission", with the correct birth date. 

The 1911 English census doesn't say he is at work like his older brother. I am assuming he was still a student as of 1911. In 1911. Jack is 9 years old. 

St. Stephen's Kearsley Moor School Today

I am going to continue to try to find a record that indicates he withdraws from school. At age 19, he is traveling to Ellis Island.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Uncle Jack's Family


Uncle Jack's Family in England

In 1901, the year before Jack was born, the population of Kearsley, England was 9,218 people. His parents, having been married in 1893, already had two children when Jack was born on July 8, 1902.  British History Online was a big help with understanding the place names and what places used to be called.

Kearsley's description is important to knowing about a family and helps to understand why people came to America.

"The township is a busy industrial place. There are collieries, iron foundries, paper mills, powerloom mills, spindle works, and chemical works;  bricks and tiles are made and cotton-spinning carried on." Except for mining (collieries), most of these occupations were common in New England. 

Of all of the children of James William Crompton and his wife Rebecca, only their daughter, Doris, married and remained in England all of her life. All of the sons came to America. Uncle Jack was only 19 when he traveled through Ellis Island with his father.


Fred (1893-1952), Doris (1899-1974), John (Jack) (1902-1985), Frank Crompton (1904-1988) and Harry (1906-1965)

When my father talked about Uncle Jack, he always said that Uncle Jack was more like a father to him than his own father. To a genealogist, that tells me a lot about what my father thought about his brother-in-law. He told me he met Uncle Jack's father and mother and James William Crompton was missing a finger. That small fact helped me to identify the right record in the Ellis Island passenger lists.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Marriage of Uncle Jack's Parents

Ancestry.com. Manchester, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

James William Crompton
 and Rebecca Wolstenholme Marriage
I learned about Uncle Jack's parents in my oral interview and I was delighted to see their marriage at Ancestry.com. I had learned to read English marriage records while working on my own ancestors and I find the marriage and banns records from the Church of England to be wonderfully complete.  Parish names change over time as in 1893, Ringley was in the parish of Prestwich in Lancashire county. 

Original record replicas like this one, contain the signatures of those who married, the witness signatures and the clergy that married them. Notice that everyone can write their own name since no X in the signature line appears. 

The charming terms bachelor and spinster tell me that neither person has been married before. The bride and groom's fathers are recorded (with their occupations) and the occupation of the groom and sometimes the bride are listed. 

The record indicates that it was "after banns", so everyone had time to be assured that no one would come forward to dispute that neither was married to someone else at that time. Read aloud at church service, mostly on consecutive Sundays, they are carefully recorded as in this document. 


Banns listed with dates from Ancestry,.com
I have learned over time, to examine closely the names of the witnesses because oftentimes, they are family members and delightfully further research tells me Harriet was Rebecca's sister and Edwin was James's brother. 

Married on the 2nd of January in 1893, James was born 10 Feb 1867 in Whitefield and Rebecca was born 27 July 1866 in Ringley. Most brides chose to be married in their home area and that seems to be the case because the place they were married is Ringley Chapel in the Church of St. Saviour. 

We are so lucky to be able to see online information about this place of worship. If I wanted to visit there, this would tell me the location and the church history. If the handwriting wasn't clear, then, the names of the places may be easier to trace. The web site lists the marriage and banns and who read them and a transcription of the records.

From this transcription, I can see that the place Rebecca was living is called Outwood which I was unsure of while making my own transcription. Outwood is a hamlet.



"RINGLEY, a chapelry, chiefly in the parish of Prestwich, partly in the union of Bolton and partly in that of Bury, hundred of Salford, S. division of Lancashire, 4 miles (S. E.) from Bolton." (Source: Family Search)

Research and recording of these records took over a week but was a rewarding adventure. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Blog Stats


I write three blogs. People are reading them. 

Granite in My Blood Today's Stats

The Highly Caffeinated Genealogist Today's Stats
Beyond the Horizon Today's Stats 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Oral History Interviews


Oral History Interviews
1969-1971

Screen shot of scan of handwritten interviews by Midge Frazel, 2017
When I was in my twenties, I decided that it was time for me to interview my paternal family since my father and I had been working on designing a family tree. My soon to be father-in-law, an engineer, gave me a few pieces of huge blueprint paper and keeping that in reserve, Dad and I wrote down just names, dates and relationships of what we knew. 

Cousins from California came one summer and after Aunt Annie fed them, I put them to work adding names and handing out self addressed envelopes. They were happy to help and they still help me today, only through email and via Facebook. Now that those people who came are gone from this earth and the next generations have taken over, three have tested their atDNA and and they match. (Phew!)

One Thanksgiving afternoon, probably in 1970, I brought over a hand designed family group sheet, pens/pencils, and erasers and asked the women to fill in the blanks. It went well. My favorite moment was when I asked Aunt Annie to fill out hers and Uncle Jack's. She did hers and my grandparents and I passed that page around to my father, my aunt and my uncle to read and they discussed my paternal grandparents for a few minutes. 

My paternal grandfather was an alcoholic and committed suicide and I didn't know that then. It explains their sadness and their quiet moments that day.

Aunt Annie filled out her own and they turned it over to fill out Uncle Jack's. She got stuck and my dad went in the kitchen to get him. He sat down and spelled the maiden name of his mother and the place name where he was born and then filled out the paper himself. That is important as I now have his handwriting sample.

Everyone was riveted. I looked at their faces and that of my father and we could tell that they did not know much about Uncle Jack and where he came from. My father told me on the way home that Jack's parents came for a visit and that Jack's father was missing a finger. 

If you are a genealogist reading this then you know that that is how I was sure I found them at Ellis Island. More about that later.

This may be a pivotal date in my life as a genealogist. I am going to go through my calendars and look for a note that we went there after Thanksgiving at my maternal grandmother's apartment.

I could have asked more but dessert was ready and you know how much everyone wanted dessert.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

St. John the Evangelist Baptism

St. John the Evangelist Baptism

Our earliest vital records are not something we usually remember and we only discover the originals if our parents kept them for us. Genealogists locate and pay for having copies of original records as they are the best proof.

As Uncle Jack came to America when he was a teenager, I am sure he did not think he would need his baptismal record. 

John Crompton was always called Jack by his wife and friends. I easily found his baptismal index (this is not a record but an index to the church records) I checked every database I subscribe to and only found the index at FamilySearch and at Ancestry. I was hoping to find the actual record at Find MY Past but it does not seem to be there. I will continue to look. I almost forgot that uncle Jack's name was John even though his name is written there in my tree. 


"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N1SM-QF2 : 6 December 2014), John Crompton, 23 Jul 1902; citing Deane, Lancashire, England, reference item 4 p 62; FHL microfilm 1,538,439.

Ancestry Index
As you can see Jack was baptized on 23 July 1902 when he was 15 days old. The Anglican or Episcopal Church practices infant baptism. St. John the Evangelist  is a "Church of England" church which is near Kearsley. The church records do hint that there would be more information on the actual certificate.  Since this transcription gives us the name of the location of where they lived, the father's occupation and the name of who baptized him (who was not the vicar: 1900-1912 Robert Whittaker Gordon)



It is important to read the history of an area while looking for records. History

Jack Crompton: Twice Blessed

Still from my parent's home movies, undated, but before 1957
Person in the movie in this segment died that year.
Privately held by the author

John Crompton
1902-1985
I am twice blessed to have this man in my life. He's not my ancestor, because he was my uncle. He's also my godfather. 

An ancestor is defined as somebody that is "directly related" in your lineage line. They are what we used to call blood relatives. Terms are helpful to place people in in charts but not in your heart. Uncle Jack was married to my father's oldest sister. Therefore, he had a life and ancestors of his own that have nothing to do with me. But, I feel like I know them after all my research. That's what counts.

A stand out memory of Uncle Jack is when we went to the Woodridge Congregational Church for what I thought was my baptism. 

The church was not even built yet, so the ceremony was to be held in the upper room in the Parish Hall. I had a new dress and my mother curled my hair. I was excited to be the person of honor. It was December 11, 1955. I was 8 years old. 

But, the adult chatter around me was about Uncle Jack and his baptism. That's right. Not about me at all. 

Uncle Jack couldn't remember if he had been baptized, so the minister baptized him first so he could be my godparent and so my aunt and uncle and mother and father could join the church. 

Some years later, I had need for my certificate of baptism and since it could not be found, I made my Dad go to the church and pay the fee for a replacement. I think now that because it was such a new church and everything was confusing, they forgot to give my parents the certificate.

Yes, I got presents. A Bible and a necklace. The necklace had a cross and when my daughter was baptized, I gave it to her.

Here's a present day photo of the church. The Parish hall is to the right. 


Woodridge Congregation Church, Cranston, RI
photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
Scan of the replacement copy of my baptism 

But, was Uncle Jack baptized as a child? Stay tuned...

Friday, April 28, 2017

Go-Over What You Know

Crompton Binder with Ellis Island Passenger Record
Photo by Midge Frazel, 2017. 


Go-Over What You Know
I staged this photo this morning to motivate me to work on this binder today, so that my research will be kept in order. Staying focused is my goal, no matter what this next week brings. As the weather improves, it will get harder to stay put it my office and get this project to a certain point.

Yesterday, I pulled out some worksheets and some information on immigration and naturalization to make my "go-over" process move along smoothly. The article, Passenger Lists, to the left of the binder was authored by my friend, Lisa Alzo. It will help me work on the printout on the right side of the binder from the Ellis Island Web site showing my subject's passage through Ellis Island. This is an important part of the story and I want to make sure I have it analyzed correctly, as this record was found before I kept a research log. I can find no transcription of this document, so I will have to do that first. These worksheets will help me. They are sold on CD by Family Tree Magazine. Many are forms you type into and keep in your research binder or in your computer folder in PDF. I write on them, first and then type them into the form to be kept electronically. I find that I read the documents more completely with this system. Then, I shred the handwritten forms.

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2017
The "Be Brave" card by Erin Condren, who created the notebook I am keeping my ancestor profile checklists in, is in this blog post, to remind me to tell you that when you find an immigrant ancestor that CHOSE to come to America, you should remember that they left behind family and friends and all they knew before. 

Could you do that? Put yourself inside their shoes. The passage to America was listed as $50 paid for my my relative's father. I have twice that in my own wallet today.

Writing a Profile: Joy and Tears Ahead

42 Dedham Ave, Providence, Providence, RI
Photo from the collection of Hannah Tucker Champlin Broadfoot, 1954
Inherited and privately held, by the author,
Writing a Profile
Joy and Tears Ahead


In my ongoing "Close to Home" series of blog posts, I have noticed that by using the Genealogy Go-Over Method (as defined by Thomas MacEntee), I am having a great deal of success researching the people that I knew who were alive in my lifetime. When the 1950 census is released, I hope I am still able to spend hours and hours investigating ancestors and relatives because I was nearly 3 years old when the census taker came to call. 

Most people want to write an ancestor profile because they want future generations to know the person above and beyond the vital records. Photographs of the people and places they lived play a strong role in that (when possible). I am convinced even more today, that blog posts need at least one screen shot or photo clip in order to be interesting and inviting to read.

Recently, a 1st cousin once removed, who lives in England, asked me to tell him where our mutual relative lived before he came to America. It turns out that the place is within driving distance for him and he has been there and noticed signs with the relative's family surname. Immediately, after sending him the location of the birth, I became re-engaged in the quest to know more about the relative in question.

Writing a profile is like making a photo collage. It blends photos, names, places and events into one and has to be carefully crafted to engage the reader. Although the writer must have all the facts and the proof behind them, the writing of the profile must be engaging to read and not necessarily sequential.

The more you remember about a person, it can be hard to write about because it becomes about you and your memories and not about the person who is the subject. Fortunately for me I have a whole surname book devoted to this one person and his family. I pulled it out from the wall of binders and drank my daily iced coffee while looking over what I knew. Then, I spent 4 days more of research using records at places like Ancestry.com, Ellis Island and Find My Past. As I am a Find My Past Ambassador, I knew there would be records I had not looked at before that would make writing this worthwhile for my readers. 

I hope you will enjoy following along with me as I make this Profile Collage and learn, as I have, how spending hours on just one person can ease the heartache of losing them forever. Steps in research can be boring to write about, but as I am a life-long teacher, I need for others to learn how my adventures can help others follow the steps to find their own family.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Changing My Mind: New Planner

My New Erin Condren LifePlanner Plan

2017 Erin Condren Life Planner
Last fall, I purchased a Deluxe Monthly planner from Erin Condren and I quickly learned how to use it. However, there really wasn't enough for me to write in as a daily view. So, when the offer was made to purchase a Life Planner for 50% off, I decided that it was time to buy one and salvage what I could from the old one. I uncoiled it, removed the pages I wanted to save and put them in a Erin Condren notebook. Uncoiling is tricky and it took some time to get it right but I saved most of the pages and some of the stickers.

I decided that I wanted the neutral version with a horizontal weekly layout so that there was more room for keeping track of my blogs and research. While I was waiting for it to arrive, I read in a Facebook Group  how to make a "temporary" page to clip in by using tape on the reverse side and adhering a coil clip to that. It will be my "To-Do List". I like the satisfaction of crossing off tasks completed and changing to a new page whenever I feel like it.  See the right side of this photo (above).

Another tip I gained was to put stickers on Avery Removable labels so they can be moved as the months progress. Avery 5418, 6728, 5444 will be holding my smaller stickers. (The larger ones I will sparingly use) I set the monthly page view up for this May and I love it so far. In May the 2018 planners will be released and I will be ready to order it after the initial rush of customers. 



Saturday, April 22, 2017

A New Wrinkle: 2 Year Blogiversary


A New Wrinkle
Two Year Blogiversary 

Keeping an Eye on my Readers, 22 April 2017


My mother used to tell me that she didn't get any wrinkles until she turned 70. Of course, that wasn't really true because we all get wrinkles before that. Exposure to sun, stress and smoking gives everyone wrinkles. As I recall, she had cataract surgery around then and because of that she could see more clearly, so she could see her face better.  She was a sun lover and she did smoke. She thought that I should do those things too because it was thought smoking could dull your appetite so you wouldn't gain unsightly fat and being a sun lover gave you a lovely tan and she thought that made her look younger. As a artist, it was all about how everything looked and since I was her creation, she should have influence over me and how I looked. 

Coincidentally, I have a new wrinkle near my eye. It hurts and I am hoping it is caused by the excessive pollen that I am allergic to. I'm keeping an eye on it by applying dry eye tears and eye cream. I will be 70 in December. 

The Wrinkle Age.

Also this week, my friend who is a recent widow came to visit. She doing OK but she is experiencing the stress of being alone. She will throw herself into her work. She is ten years younger than I am and she mentioned my age twice. It's the shock of grief. 

Genealogists are talking about how blogging is over. It's NOT. It is just that it takes a lot of time to do research, make blog posts interesting and find the time to write. I admit that this got under my skin. Maybe that is what's causing my wrinkle?

I am planning to write more this year; not less. Maybe my readers won't see it all because some of the work I do is not exciting enough to publish but that doesn't mean I'm not doing it.

When I started this blog, I had been writing my other two blogs for many years. I have "stick-to-it-iveness", says Family Tree Magazine. The day I started this blog, I did so to separate my genealogy research from my gravestone work. I am not going to tell you how many hits I have because that is not my motivation to continue writing. Posting my blog posts to Facebook and Twitter is part of my job and increases my traffic because not all blog post are read via RSS in a aggregate blog reader like Feedly.

I write because I have something to say, something to share, something to keep me connected to life.  

I celebrate this blogiversary even more because of my planning method and my journaling, which is working for me. I'm keeping an eye on what people say but I am not focusing on the wrinkles.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Blogging in the Past, Present and Future

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2017

Blogging in the Past, Present and Future 

With an iced coffee in hand, I thought today about my past, present and future as a genealogy blogger. I decided to begin by creating a new logo for this blog, by using some stickers I have been using to motivate me in my Erin Condren Planner. As I am forgoing attendance at the 2017 NERGC conference, held next week, I reviewed my commitment to blogging about the work I have been doing in genealogy research. In the past, I wrote about my adventures in gravestone hunting in Granite-in-My-Blood, in the present, I am writing about planning and bullet journaling, and in the future, I strive to write about my personal family research and the ancestor profiles I am working on. 

I hope you have been enjoying my writing and my photographs. Some blogs have returned to being just text narratives and links for easy mobile blogging but I feel that the photos and screenshots are important too. Hoping that you stick with me as I continue to research and write, please visit my blogs and share your thoughts with me.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Marched on the Alarm of the Revolution

Statue to the Men of Sudbury, photo by Midge Frazel, 11 April, 2011

My husband's ancestors lived in this part of Massachusetts, so when we moved here I went in search of the gravestones of his family. This statue overlooks a churchyard and church in Sudbury Center. The churchyard is called the Revolutionary Cemetery. It looks squashed together by the roadway and the paved parking lot. I imagine many of the graves are unmarked but it is filled with gravestones you can see.

Up on the hill where this statue was erected, there is another cemetery and only some of the gravestones are of the old style.

In nearby Southborough, there is a very old graveyard with many unmarked graves, but I was able to find Nathan Fay and his wife Lucy Beamas Fay.  Nathan was a Revolutionary soldier. Their gravestones are set close together for eternity. I have thought about this man and his wife more than my own because we are so near to where this War began.

Hubs with his ancestors, Nathan and Lucy Fay
Nathan Fay, marched on the alarm
Corporal Nathan Fay served 15 days in Capt. Elijah Bellows's Co.   and marched in the Lexington Alarm. Nathan and Lucy had a dozen children.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Working On: Robert Williams of Roxbury

Ancestry.com, Tree of Midge Frazel, 2017
(larger view)

Working On: Robert Williams of Roxbury, MA

I find it a daunting task to work on my earliest New England Ancestors. I decided that I would spend some time working on Robert Williams (1607-1694) of Roxbury, MA to see if I could do a better job than 10 years ago with finding sources instead of relying on Wheeler's History of Stonington, CT for information.

Because this is NOT a Williams family which includes Roger Williams of Rhode Island (not my ancestor), I decided to see what the brief (4 generations) genealogy of Robert Williams of Roxbury, Massachusetts, had to say, because I think that this genealogy is the source of Wheeler's chapter on the Robert Williams family. I found the right genealogy easily at the Internet Archive and downloaded it as a PDF and compared it to the information in Wheeler's History. 

As the gravestone of Col. John Williams is one that I want to write about in my Granite-in-MY-Blood blog, I wondered if it was possible to find out where Robert Williams came from in England now that some parish records have been digitized. 

I found a baptismal record at Ancestry.com. I was very surprised and pleased. Facebook friends may also be descended from him so I thought it worth my time to look into this before I write about Col. John Williams and his wife Desire Denison who are one set of my 6th great grandparents. They are buried at Whitehall Cemetery in Mystic, CT. Their daughter, Thankful Williams, wife of Avery Denison, china is on display at the Denison Homestead. 

https://archive.org/details/robertwilliamsof00will
In addition to this resource, I have Martin Hollick's expanded version of his book, New Englanders in the 1600s to use as a reference. Martin's book gives me hope that I will be able to understand my earliest ancestors who came to America. His books and his emails have been a big help to me thorough the years.

I would never have thought that I could research immigrant (New England) ancestors with any luck when I started looking for gravestones. 

Finding the baptismal record with a date of 11 Dec 1608 in St. Nicholas Parish Church in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England presented a new challenge of big able to actually read it and see that it matches the transcription provided by Ancestry. It worked!

In another one of those "not so rare genealogy date events", that is the day and month in which my only child was born in 1975.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Funny Friday: Roman Numerals

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2 Mar 2017

Photo by Midge Frazel, 1 Mar 2017
Funny Friday: Roman Numerals

My husband's ancestors came from several nearby towns in Massachusetts. One day, a few years ago, we drove past this building that looks like a castle. Since he was driving, and it is in downtown Hudson, he didn't get a clear look at the building that only I could see at the passenger window.

I noticed that the building had a M V M over the door. I thought it was a year, so I used my iPhone to try to figure out what the Roman Numerals meant. After a few minutes, and it wasn't working out, I searched for those letters and the name of the town. That worked and I laughed at us not realizing that the building was an ARMORY. 

At that time, I came home and pulled the little local history book we found in the box of his father's belongings and easily found the photo in it. Here's the book. It is out of copyright and I searched for it and found it (link).

Photo by Midge Frazel, 3 Mar 2017
Yesterday, we went to the new McDonald's to get a Shamrock Shake and we stopped at the light in front of the "Castle". I quickly took the two photos at the top of this post and we laughed again at not knowing that MVM meant Massachusetts Volunteer Militia.

State Armory, Company M. Fifth Regiment, Washington and Park Street, Hudson, MA
Built in 1910, the present day area doesn't have anywhere the same amount of land around it as shown in this photo scanned from the book. Wikipedia entry of present day.

It will always make us laugh as we drive by, remembering that when we moved here in 2010, we had no idea of where we were going.  Just a few years later, as businesses move out of the downtown areas, no one will even drive by historic buildings anymore. That's not funny, is it?