Monday, May 22, 2017

Marriage of Uncle Jack's Parents Manchester, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: 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 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

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 ( : 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
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, 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.