Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The House on the Corner

Notice of Funeral
The House on the Corner
Corner of Beach St. and Elm St. Westerly, Rhode Island

City directories (1911, 1913, 1915) for my maternal 2nd great grandparents, Joseph and Sarah (Gardiner) Schofield, state that they lived in a house on the corner of Elm and Beach Streets in Westerly and that he ran a variety store out of his home. As the house is no longer there and the property is owned by a business, I can't be sure that the house was turned into that business.  Corner properties are a valuable piece of real estate.

What I did learn from the newspaper article about his funeral (posted here) was that the funeral was held in his home. Land evidence records in Westerly tell me that on the 14 of December in 1910 ( Book 40 page 203), that the property was sold to them by a man named Orville G. Barber. 


Joseph Schofield was a very personable and smart man. In addition to serving in the Civil War, he was an engineer and a bicycle repairer. I learned from this article that he was the foreman of the fire company called the Rhode Island Ones. I expect he maintained the fire equipment. My grandmother told me he could fix anything.

In 1910 when he bought this home he was 67 years old. My grandmother told me that he was stout, loved rich food and had gout.  He died in 1917 and his wife continued to live in that house. 

Joseph and Sarah only had one child, Nellie (Ellen) who married James Frederick Barber in 1890 and their first child, my maternal grandmother was born in 1893. My grandparents married in 1914 and moved sometime in 1916 after my mother was born but came back to Westerly for my uncle to be born in 1917. 

Now, my job is to figure out who lived in this house until it was sold.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Little Gloria Josephine Bliven

Gloria Josephine Bliven, privately held by Midge Frazel, 2017
First Cousin, Once Removed
1923-1933
10 years, 1 month and 24 Days

This is the only known photo of Gloria, who died before I was born. Her mother, Dorothy Palmer, Bliven, was her mother. Dorothy was my maternal grandmother's sister and someone I knew quite well and loved.  I altered the photo to look more carefully at her face and her clothes. It is undated, but I would say she is between two and three years old.

Gloria's middle name was Josephine which was my grandmother's middle name. Everyone called my grandmother, Jo or Josephine and not Hannah, which was her first name. My mother was named Dorothy after little Gloria's mother. 

Gloria's father was Harry Manuel Bliven. He was handsome, dark haired and loved to drive fast cars. My mother was scared or him but my uncle thought he was cool. At the time of their marriage, my aunt worked for her father who was in the automotive business and smooth talking Harry sold automotive parts. My Mother destroyed the photo of him in a boat with her and her brother but not before I looked at it. Little Gloria's mother was petite, blonde and blue eyed. 

My mother told me that Harry and Dorothy divorced. I don't know for sure if that was before Gloria died, but I do know after years of research, that he married again, to a woman from New York named Mildred Britton and they had 4 sons. The first one was born in 1929.

My mother was 17 when Gloria died, at home at 160 West Broad St. in Pawcatuck, CT of bronchial pneumonia and myocarditis.  

Fancy Goods: Mrs. Young's Gift Shop

Missing Puzzle Pieces

Fancy Goods

In genealogy, we try to make sure that we have every piece of evidence researched to the best of our ability. When my late mother gave me this pamphlet (1908-1958) on the family business, I was very surprised. How had I not seen this before? I read it out loud to her hoping to get her reaction on what was said. She just kept saying. "That's right!". I tucked in into my bag so she wouldn't discard it as she was prone to do.

I am still not sure who wrote this or if my mother did the vehicle drawings. They do look like her "style" of drawing. 

I assumed that the Mrs. Young mentioned was the woman who was my grandmother's friend so I went looking for that woman's granddaughter whose name I knew. I found her and she said that her grandmother never had a gift shop. So that puzzle piece went unsolved until this month. Using Providence City Directories, I found this gift "store" in Providence. At least I had now had a name to research.


Working backwards in time, I found that this gift store was once at another location. This clip that says Thayer is an earlier date of 1931. She must have done well in business to move from Thayer to Angell St. 


Women of this time who lived in that area, near Brown University,  frequented gift shops (like we go to HomeGoods today) to buy items to decorate their homes. They also sold toys and candy and I remember visiting some of them with my grandmother when I stayed with her.  

What my grandfather did was pick up items to be drycleaned, take them to the main plant in Pawcatuck/Westerly and then take them back to Mrs. Young for the ladies to pick them up. It must have been a terrible commute in the winter. That's why the cleaning and laundry business had drivers who did that in the 1940 and 1950s. 

Not long after they married, my grandparents (and great grandparents, too) moved from Westerly to the Providence/Cranston area. 

The Terrible Year 1944

Westerly City Directory 1944, Ancestry.com
Photo at Flickr
The Terrible Year, 1944

In my project I call "Close to Home", I am trying to do things to be ready for the 1950 Federal Census release. I am looking for evidence of death of as many family members as I can so that I can eliminate them from the list I have been building since the release of the 1940 Federal census. My search, limited to two areas, Westerly, RI and Stonington/Pawcatuck, CT sounds like it should be easy, right?

City directories and Newspaper articles are the key to success for getting exact locations of my family members on my maternal line.  But, as I gather the names, dates of death and burial locations, I discovered that one year stands out all too clearly. You can see by the orange highlighting, that this directory gives me the exact dates of death on two pages. My mother, described this year as the terrible year, and it certainly was correct.


29 May 1944
16 Jun 1944
10 July 1944


James Frederick Barber, my maternal grandfather, lives at 160 West Broad St. Pawcatuck, CT in 1945 and his wife Ellen ("Nellie") died 16 June 1944. 

Ellen ("Nellie") widowed mother lived with them at 160 West Broad St. Pawcatuck, CT died 29 May 1944.

Harold S. Barber, my great uncle, died 10 July 1944 and his wife Martha Blanchard was living at 12 Elm St. Westerly. 

Soon, two more family members would die. My maternal great grandfather, James Frederick Barber in 1949 and my uncle Evans Stewart, Jr. in 1951.

I have been with the help of Barbara Fallon, gathering causes of death. Trust me, you don't want to know about that.

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... 


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

Friday, August 18, 2017

Crossing the Pawcatuck River

Present Day Clip from Google Maps of the area between Rhode Island and Connecticut, 2017

Crossing the Pawcatuck River
When your family lives in a small geographic area that encompasses two states, you learn very quickly the value of knowing your geography. The states of Rhode Island and Connecticut come together in the middle of a river (the dotted line on this map) and that fact makes for interesting and complicated searching. That's why I needed two very smart ladies to help me with finding out what this area holds for me in my research. 

Knowing cranky New England folks as I do, I think that no one wanted to give up valuable land near this waterway and so it was decided that they'd put the state line in the water.

My great grandparents and second great grandparents lived and worked on West Broad Street, High St. and Main St. as shown on this map. It gives me a headache. Fortunately, they put the Westerly Library nearby. I decided this week to investigate the newspaper holdings of the Library of Congress to see if any newspapers covered this area better than the ones I know about. I also have a few obituaries that I can't find out the source of. I am getting cranky about that.

I was fortunate to find that the historical issues of the Norwich Bulletin in Norwich, CT could help. I like that this site gives you a URL for the citation and it will share findings to Facebook and other social media sites. I am saving articles in PDF format to work with. The first one I looked for, found my relative mentioned in a Facebook friend's ancestor's obituary. At least I can say that I am getting my money's worth from the government.

To solve a family "story" mystery, I still need my friend and cousin, Barbara Fallon, to find out more about my great aunt's somewhat complicated life. I could have an out-of-wedlock birth that could complicate my DNA investigations. 

I became very angry at my mother when she tried to keep this from me. (I was thirty-eight) This problem wasn't even in her own generation. Time will tell if I can find out more than what I was told. Just to give you an idea of how mad she was that she told me, she purposefully destroyed some photos from an album. 

Genealogy can really get your panties in a wedge.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Plumber, Engineer, Fireman and Tinsmith

Norwich Bulletin 12 March 1917, from Chronicling America


Joseph A. Schofield (1843-1917) 

My 2nd Great Grandfather

When I used the Web Hints and TreeShare Option from RootsMagic last month, I discovered a Web Hint that looked promising for my 2nd great grandfather, Joseph Schofield. He was a veteran of the Civil War.

However, it was from My Heritage, a subscription site that I do not have a subscription for. Right away, I noticed that the reference indicated was from Chronicling America newspaper collection which is held at the Library of Congress and free to use.  It took a few minutes to find it (and the death notice too) but when I did, I was thrilled to find information that I did not have. 

My family talked a lot about this man. My mother was only a few months old when he died but my mother adored his wife Sarah who didn't die until 1944.  Let's focus on what I didn't know.

He died of pneumonia.
He was a plumber.
He was a volunteer fireman of the Rhode Island Ones. (I don't know what that is...)
He died at home in a house on the corner of Beach and Elm St. (perhaps 83 Elm St.)
He was an engineer of the steam fire engine.
He was a GAR member of Hancock Post in Connecticut.
His Connecticut Regiment was called the Fighting Fifth.
Two of his family members lived in Massachusetts but they are buried in Rhode Island.

I gained information on his siblings that were still living. There were two brothers named William (one a teenage boy who died and one whose gravestone I found and I had them right. Hooray!)

I wish it had mentioned his bicycle business. He ran it with his son-in-law. His death notice was simple and to the point and was printed the next day.


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?