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.