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. 

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.