Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year 2016

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016
With a new year comes new ideas and improvements on old ones. I am developing a new approach this year for a special project that I have been trying to get done for the five years since I moved to my new condo. It is beginning to be a struggle to manage new family information and still be devoted to my gravestone work.

I have given up my membership in the APG as I am now a retired professional genealogist. It is an organization that has given me new friends and a lot of support and is well worth the membership fee. I am continuing my memberships in the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists and the Rhode Island Genealogical Society and as those organizations continue to grow and improve they will be beneficial to my research.

I am a Find My Past Ambassador along with many other genealogists who blog so I am hope to spend more time searching for things to help my personal work as well as report on things that help others who read my blogs.

I also hope to help my fellow genealogists stay organized and use technology effectively in their work. This will take a lot of caffeine, I am sure. I am reading Thomas MacEntee's new workbook for the revamped and improved 12 month Genealogy Do-Over and Kerry Scott's How to Use Evernote for Genealogy to start my year. Stay safe this New Year's and enjoy your long weekend.

Did you see my new paper planner? 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: The Rest is Gravy

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
And the Rest is Gravy....
Family History in the Kitchen

(See the Milano Slices in this photo? Well, the rest about the gravy. You may substitute a glass of wine in your photo as the results would be the same. It's something to make cooking more enjoyable. Cooking, ugh.)

For several years, I cooked the full turkey dinner following the lead of my maternal ancestors. Now I like to call it "mtDNA" cooking. In my mother's composition book of family recipes, there is nothing about cooking large meals. My maternal grandmother, who lived to be 98, was a good cook and made the meals until she was too old to do so. Starting in 1989, I cooked turkeys. I did this, for Thanksgiving until 2006, when we bought a turkey breast or purchased the full dinner offered by the local grocery store. That turned out to be a good choice because it gave me exposure to what other people thought a Thanksgiving dinner SHOULD include.

Notes on Turkey cooking, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015.
But, since this is about gravy, I should stick to the topic. This is my mother's directions for making chicken gravy. Mom was an artist not a cook and many recipes are just this confusing. I think my grandmother told her what to do over the phone. My mom was the queen of the double boiler NOT the roasting pan.

Dot's Recipe Book, 1950 to 2002
The photo of Roche's Bros. Turkey gravy and the bottle of Kitchen Bouquet just keeps telling family stories forever. The gravy used to be labelled, "Holiday Gravy" I thought that was pretty funny, don't you? Well, they are back to turkey gravy now because there is no meat called Holiday. Seriously, people are just that clueless.

The first year here in Stow in 2010, I went to my local Roche Bros in Acton, MA to buy a new bottle of Kitchen Bouquet when I noticed a young woman, in distress looking at the cans and jars of gravy. Her mother, knowing she did not eat anything with fat, assigned her the gravy to bring, hoping she would realize it was a by product of cooking poultry. She told me that her mother was going to judge her cooking harshly because it was her DUTY to start being the holiday cook and stop slacking off. 

So, I showed her the "Holiday/Turkey" gravy and Kitchen Bouquet seasoning in my cart. She picked up her own bottle and followed me to the refrigerated case of prepared foods. She picked up the container of gravy and put it in her cart. I told her how to add a tiny bit of pepper, the right amount of Kitchen Bouquet to the gravy and mix well. Then, she should cook it in the microwave, put it in her own container and take it to her mom. 

I wonder if her mother asked, "How was your turkey?"

So, remember those genealogists of the future, while eating your Thanksgiving meal because leaving behind a piece of your own history may help others who follow you for as the saying goes, "the rest is gravy".  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Yrs Affect

Yours Affectionately, Uncle Walter, Photo collection, 1971
Yrs Affect
(Yours affectionately)

As a Find My Past Ambassador, I spent some time reading about the 1939 Register recently released. With most of my family from the British Isles were already in America prior to 1939, I browsed thorough my tree and found, of course, a relative living there during my research period of the early 1970s when I still had living family to write letters to in England about my Scottish family from Dalbeattie, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. 

On 22 June 1971, I received a answer from my letter to Walter and Ruby Broadfoot. Walter was the first born son (1902-1989) of my great grandfather, John Broadfoot (1853-1926) and his second wife Helen Tait (1862-1943). If you read the letter, you will get the feeling that Walter was delighted that a young person has asked him for family information. Although he was too young to remember my grandfather, it was so exciting to hear from him and to fill in the blanks for my monumental mason great grandfather who is the inspiration for my Granite in My Blood blog. My grandfather lived with Helen's family before he came to America.

Find My Past's direct link to the 1939 Register found 3,259 Broadfoot surnames included. I was very surprised! I narrowed the search directly to Walter P. Broadfoot and discovered the right family despite the surname listed as Braodfoot. From Walter's letter, I knew his wife was Ruby Cutler and that her sisters lived with them in 1971. Walter and Ruby had no children. Intrigued by three people in the household, I had to unlock the record. The next family in the unlocked document turn out to be Ruby's mother and father (Cutler) and sister Florence (Named as Florrie in the letter). I still don't know who John D. Wells was but he may have simply been a boarder. There's always more to research...

1939 Register from Find My Past, 2015
I am thankful for seeing Ruby's family in the Register as she sent me a kiss for luck in Walter's letter from so long ago. I hope someday to find out where they are buried.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Take Note

OfficeMax, Garden City, Cranston, RI, August, 2015
Take Note
and rethink your original work...

Sometimes you have to be pushy about your genealogy research and get your point across in a BIG way. Since I have been sick for over a month, no amount of caffeine can make me a high energy genealogist for the upcoming holiday season. But, I have been able to do some research, make some project plans and do a little scanning. I have done a LOT of thinking about what I want to accomplish starting in January. 

I think I am better off planning instead of trying to write blog posts in November and December because I know you have not got time to read them. Am I right?

Sometimes a display like this one can catch your attention and get your brain moving in the right direction. I didn't buy any of these big note pads but they would be great for charting out a project or working out complex family relationships. As I was shopping, I took this quick photo to remind me. Do you do that?

Slowing down and taking a look at research you have not added to in years can give you new insight. Let me give you an example. My mother told me where she went to high school and then she told me that her only 17 months younger brother went to Dean Academy in Franklin, MA. 

I ASSUMED she meant for his post high school education since today this school that still exists as a two year post high school institution. 

I was WRONG. What she was telling me is that he boarded at an academy for his high school years instead of going to a local public school as she did. I only realized this when I found his yearbook in the Ancestry collection of yearbooks and then returned to the Web page for the school and read the history. 

I didn't need coffee to wake me up and tell me how wrong I was when I made an assumption. Don't let this happen to you! I will kick off  2016 with a report of what I found and how it fits in the total picture of my uncle's life.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Reading Mystery Occupations

Reading Old and Mysterious Occupations

As a Find My Past "Ambassador", I like to report that I have has success using the site to work with the Scotland and England census record TRANSCRIPTIONS that they provide.

I have the images from other sources, but reading all the words on the actual images can be tricky. I transcribe them as best that I can and annotate them with possible ideas in my research log. It is working quite well for me so I thought I'd pass this tip on to others as well.

1901 England Census for Crompton family

In England, my uncle's family were coal miners. I didn't find this out until my mother told me that my aunt and uncle went to the movies to see the 1980 movie, Coal Miner's Daughter.  This was a long time after I interviewed my family. I didn't ask about occupations because I thought everyone was involved in the granite industry or the laundry business. My uncle died in 1985. He was a great person and I am trying to tell his story and it will have to be a series of blog post.

 But, for now, I had success using the transcription of this census at Find My Past to figure out what this occupation says.

It says, "Colliery Fireman Under Ground" the word penciled in says "Below"

If you are curious, you can do a Google Search to find out what kind of occupation this is.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Mom's Yearbook Photo

Clip from the Cranston High School, Yearbook, 1935 from (p. 78)

When I cleaned out the house my parents lived in for over fifty years, I had to make a lot of decisions on what to keep and what to toss. I threw out their high school yearbooks and I'm not sorry I did, it would be just another thing to have moved and worry about.

Ancestry just increased their yearbook collection and it includes my mother's yearbook. I made this quick clip before coming down with pneumonia. 

I have learned from looking at the "biography" below her name that she did not belong to any clubs in the 9th grade. Before this time, she went to an elementary school called Norwood Ave. a location based (neighborhood based) situation. In those days buses were only for high school. She did tell me that high school started at 9th grade.

Soon I will have my 50th class reunion. Our yearbook is not so different from this one but my daughter's was quite different. (1935, 1965 and 1994)

Feeling sentimental this Sunday....

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Toilet Paper Origami

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
Wasted Time?

One of my techno-friends (OK, my famous techno-friend Kathy Schrock) commented on the TP rolls in my hotel bathroom while visiting me on vacation. "Have they serviced your room?", she asked. When I said they had, she quipped with, "I thought maybe you were into toilet paper origami." I laughed and said, "I have enough to do without obsessively folding my TP."

I'm sure she was referring to my recent obsessive fun with coloring and not with my genealogy obsession, however, I really feel that doing something other than genealogy is sometimes a good thing.

Coloring makes me slow down and plan. I certainly need to do that with my genealogy. Being a more careful researcher seems to be everyone's goal these days and it is sound advice. But, it is stressful searching for the right record to be sure you are right about an ancestor. There are not enough records for my early Rhode Island ancestors (that are proved) and I am having problems with being sure who the immigrant ancestor is for many lines. 

I don't think toilet paper origami will help with this problem, do you?  

However, you now know that Kathy Schrock peed in my bathroom. (Yes, she washed her hands.)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Looking Back 5 Years

Photo by Midge Frazel, 26 Aug 2010
modified 2015
Looking Back Five Years

Sometimes it is good to look back and examine your own past. On September 2, 2010, we moved from Bridgewater, Massachusetts to this new condo (freestanding home) from the house we bought on 11 December 1972 after living in three apartments. We lived in Bridgewater because the location fit in the requirement for hubs job area. Hubs first boss drew a circle on a printed map and that was the boundary area within which we had to live. So primitive a method of decision.

I didn't know I had an ancestor that lived in Bridgewater and is buried there. It was simply a move of geography. As native Rhode Islanders, we wanted to live as close as we could to make visiting our parents as painless as possible. In retrospect, it was still too far away.  Both of hubs brothers moved to the West Coast and to the Midwest leaving us with the job of being the local family. As an only child with a good job in Rhode Island, I was not happy to leave my home state. 

It was an easy choice to move away, five years ago, but not easy to decide what to bring and what to discard. We live less than ten minutes from our only child and her family. Our co-workers and friends (mostly) have moved away from where they lived five years ago. After all, they are retiring too. As we approach our senior years, I did not want the hardship of living away from our family again. It was time. I am glad we did it when we did.

Recently, I created a timeline of the process it took to decide, move and sell our old house. Timelines help make sense of places you have lived and why. As people become more mobile, I think future generations are going to regret not writing down places and reasons for moving. They will, however, have photos. 

So, as we celebrate our five year anniversary, here is a look at our condo as it stood when we were deciding which one to buy and a photo as it looks today. What will five more years bring?

Photo by Midge Frazel, 26 April 2010.
Photo by Midge Frazel, 30 August, 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sockanosset Crossroads Revisited

Sockanosset, Sockanosset
Photo by Midge Frazel, 2007

History Adventure Trip
After my parents died in 1998 and 2002, I sold their house in the Oakhill Terrace section of Cranston and grieved not only for them but for the loss of living in Rhode Island, my home state, and for the wonderful, safe and friendly neighborhood built in the late 1940s-1950s. 

Even to this day, I appreciate where I came from in the smallest state of the Union. As an only child, it was very hard to sell my childhood home. A fellow high school classmate and former owner of a house in my neighborhood was a real estate agent and she helped me in ways I could never explain. 

After a vacation trip to Connecticut in August of 2007, we finally went back just to drive through the streets and get a Rhode Island staple called Del's, a lemon based slushy drink. But first, we went to the Garden City shopping center to get coffee and buy a few groceries to take home. I was totally stunned to see that the state buildings off Sockanosett Cross Road were being remodeled. (I took the photo you see above and another to try to find out what was going on.)

The buildings had been in bad condition for a long time.  I knew that the juvenile detention center at the Rhode Island State institutions had been moved elsewhere. There had been a fire. Once very scary buildings were now a sad eyesore.

Parents always threatened misbehaving kids kids by telling them they would be sent to the "bad boys school" Sockanosett Training School for Boys or the "bad girls school". I learned that there was a rhyme that kids chanted which started with "Sockanosett, Sockanosett", which not flattering to social reform. 

In 2009, I started buying books about Cranston (link) (link) and I found this New York Times online article about the $90 MILLION dollar renovation. 

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
As the development is called Chapel Hill. I wondered what that area looked like now so we planned it into a genealogy adventure. This is how it looks now. The chapel is an upscale Italian restaurant in an area with stores that have some of the stone buildings preserved.

In addition, I located an article about prison reform from the State of Rhode Island. If you have ever lived in Cranston, you should take a look at this article (in PDF). 

Related post: Shopping in Garden City 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Crayons and Family History

Photo by Midge Frazel, August, 2015

Crayons and Family History

Photo by Midge Frazel, August, 2015
Recently, our family went to see the Minions Movie together. Our little grandson is just over three and loves these crazy, yellow guys as much as I do. I've already pre-ordered the DVD for family watching. I am sure both of them will remember going to the movie together and yes, I took photos. 

Minions are looking to belong by serving a powerful master. They are a family in a way. You have to pay attention to what they look like and put their "minion" language into perspective with their body language and actions. Some are leaders and some are followers. Just like our ancestors. Family history is everywhere we look.

Collecting crayons is a hobby I started some time ago. It won't surprise you to see the multi-cultural crayons in my collection. It says 1993 on the back and they still smell new. Some of my "brick wall" ancestors are limited edition too. We have 8 great grandparents just like the 8 crayons in the special collections. Anyone is lucky to have known just one. Limited edition.

Did you notice the French on the crayons? Minion crayons

Many of my ancestors were artistically inclined or had musical talent. In one line, cousins contacted me to ask that specific question.  Sadly, talent and depression go hand in hand. 

When I am feeling overwhelmed or sad, I open my desk drawer with the crayons and breathe in deeply. I think of it as the sights and smells of those gone before me. Genealogy is so much more than names and dates.

Read this related post?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Writing Every Day?

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
Writing Every Day? Why Do it?

Every year about this time, someone asks me if I write (or blog) every single day. I may write every day, but I don't blog every day. Giving information about writing to those who would like to have a blog is not easy. People get excited about writing a blog but they are wondering if anyone will read it. 

Before I was a blogger, I hosted my own Web site. Don't bother to look for it, I have taken it down. It was hard to keep up. All those links to constantly check, but it WAS good for teaching educators about the resources of the Web and how they could use it in the classroom. I enjoyed that part of it but I am no Cyndi Ingle. Keeping up a list of relevant resources is really hard and you must be dedicated and have the time. She's amazing.

But, what you CAN do is start gathering ideas for things to blog about. When I was a child, insurance companies gave out free calendars, appointment books and daily planners. People used to give them to me because they said they wouldn't use them. I was stumped. I loved them all.

Recently, I was looking at journals because I love paper. I am an electronic geek most of the time. (or am I?) I found this type of journal at Amazon (bigger photo) and bought it because it was different (and small). It is called a Memory Book. You can search for them yourself with that search term.

The idea is that you use it for five years to record just a few lines every day. I think this would make a good way to record just milestones or cute things that grandchildren say. My ancestors kept journals about their crops. I think this type of book would help people learn to record and eventually write.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Personal Digital Archiving

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2014

There are many questions lately about archiving our work, our photographs and our documents. I thought this was a good place to get started for people who are struggling to learn about what they can do.
Personal Digital Archiving
from the Library of Congress

Friday, July 24, 2015

Where Did My Hobby Go?

Photo by Midge Frazel, 24 July 2015

Coloring Away Stress
As you know, I am the Highly Caffeinated Genealogist. The amount of energy I need to be a researcher, writer and social media devotee increases each day. Even in these early days of retirement, I find myself working every day.

Wait! Didn't genealogy used to be my hobby?

I was eight years old when I learned about ancestors. I was one of those little girls who carried around a tote bag filled with things to keep me amused while the grown-ups talked. I was an only child and only grandchild. I kept coloring books, sewing, crossword puzzle books, my stamp collection and something to read in my bag. Oh, yes, and a notebook. It became a journal as I got older. I wrote down notes about what my parents and grandparents talked about when they talked about the old days. I developed my own code in case someone read it. During the week it lived in my bureau at my grandmother's house or apartment. Jacks, dolls and jump ropes lived in that drawer too. You'd be surprised at how little attention people pay to a quiet, busy child. They gossip and tell stories about people. They didn't notice when I asked a question, like this: 

My grandparents toasted to the Pilgrims. My head snapped up, "Pilgrims, they are family? Which ones?" They didn't know but I found out much later, they were both Mayflower descendants.

When I became a teenager, I moved the notebook to the box I kept my stamp collection in my closet at home. It did look the same as the "stamp" notebook, I kept with which ones I wanted to get. I took it to the Providence Public Library when I read the genealogy books, the reference librarian held behind the desk for me. I thought of genealogy as just another hobby. 

I recorded births, deaths and marriages in a separate book in my desk. I took them with me when I working on learning about my paternal grandparents that came from Scotland. I developed my own pedigree charts, family group sheets and oral interview pages. My father and his family thought it was cute until I asked questions they couldn't answer. Then, things got serious. The genealogy books were right. I was going to have to keep asking questions.

Those two things and a 3 ring notebook moved with me when I married. My in-laws gave me information and some photos of hubs family. I kept asking questions.

MacWorld in Boston had a booth for their Mac software Reunion. It was expensive. I saved up my pay for it. In 2001, when Family Search went live online, I was ready. The librarians referred people to me to help them. I became the tech lady that did genealogy. 

But, where did my hobby go? I sure miss it. So, I have taken up coloring. How did I find out about this? I read an online article about an artist in my hometown

At least, I can finish these pages. Isn't it annoying that genealogy is never finished. Look, here is something I completed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Baby Locket

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
Dainty and short necklace length, this gold locket was given to me when I was born, by my maternal uncle, Evans Stewart, Jr.  Sadly, he died before he could see me wear it.

I have big plans for the story of Evans Stewart, Jr., my maternal uncle. I will be collaborating with my fellow genealogist, Lisa Alzo, who speaks and writes about working with unknown females to tell the story of finding my uncle's wife.

Stay tuned...

Monday, July 20, 2015

MIlitary Monday: Master Sargent Evans Stewart,Jr.

Evans Stewart, Jr, photo from the family collection of Midge Frazel
Master Sargent, Evans Stewart, Jr. (1917-1951)

On April 15, 1941, my maternal uncle, Evans Stewart, Jr. enlisted to serve in World War II. He was my mother's only sibling. This photo was a professional cart-de-viste taken by Bachrach portrait photographers in Providence. When my mother died, we found a huge portrait that is this exact photo in the back of a closet. As my mother worked for Bachrach during the War, I have several really large family photos that no one will want to keep.

This is one of only two records I can find about his service. His story is long and complex and I am going to write it in narrative form. For now, I am gathering information. Notice that the top of this record from Family Search puts the "Jr." in between his first and surname.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Let Others Do the Work!

Dryer Hedghogs by Midge Frazel, 2015

Meet Luigi and Guiseppi, my dryer hedgehogs. They are "working animals". They are designed to be put in the dryer to separate and "fluff" up my laundry. I have a front loading washer and dryer and I am cutting back on fabric softener and dryer sheets. My towels are stiff and scratchy and although I tried that method of washing them in vinegar and baking soda, it sure was time consuming and really didn't work all that well.

 Remember, my family owned a laundry and dry cleaning business and although that was a long time ago, I am aware that it takes a lot of time to do household tasks and that takes away from my time with researching and writing.  Social media is helping me find people who can help me with places my ancestors lived. That's my hardest task, right now.

What would you rather do, wash clothes or learn more about your ancestors?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Love my Tablet Pillow

Lap Gear Lap Desk  with hubs Kindle paperwhite, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015

I love small technology and find it more useful everyday for my genealogy and for relaxation. Yes, I know that you don't think I relax but my Kindle holds many genealogy books including genealogy fiction.

Tired of the paperbacks my hubs was hoarding, I bought him this Kindle and made him switch to electronic reading. He doesn't like holding it as he is scared he'll drop it, so I bought this small pillow with the lip that holds the device. I bought this in the markdown bin at Bed, Bath and Beyond for about $10. But, I wanted one too and because I knew the brand name (Lap Gear), I found it at 

Mine is "girly pink" and has cool pockets on the side. I love it so much, that I ordered another one. They come in black, pink, zebra, aqua and black. I left the over-wrap on it for making this blog post.

My iPhone 5s is too heavy for the side pocket because I have an Otter Case on it with belt clip. So, I put in the pockets my Ink Joy pen with stylus end, a tiny notepad that just fits (and looks like a phone which is a big coolness factor) and my fuzzy finger wiper for cleaning the screen. It is perfect for my iPad mini 3. As phones and tablets merge, I think this will be a "must have" for organized genealogists or avid readers.

Midge's iPad mini 3 Lap Desk, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Enemy, The Stairs

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
Sometimes obstacles in genealogy seem insurmountable, don't they? Making a research plan with plenty of time to tackle tasks is a basic first step.  Right now this is the enemy to my research plan, and it is the staircase in my condo. 

My office is upstairs but at least I have been smart to keep my iPad mini and my MacBook laptop downstairs. I put small items in the stair-step basket to go upstairs and there is a basket at the top for items to go downstairs. That's my management plan. I am trying not to go up and down too many times a day as I get older. My knees, back and hip are the "real" enemy and that's why it seems impossible to manage. But, it can be an obstacle to my research and writing.

Using "the cloud" helps me meet my goal of not going up and down stairs, however the stairs are good exercise. Management is harder than it looks.

I'm very glad these stairs are not brick. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Genealogy and Libraries

Pontiac Library, Warwick, RI, August, 2015, photo by Midge Frazel

After discovering your ancestors at home, the next stop should be your library. This was my childhood library. They led me to the larger library in Providence, Rhode Island, where I saw my first adult book about genealogy. If I try hard enough, I can still hear the summer fan inside this building as I browsed through the books.

Now, libraries can subscribe to Findmypast and patrons can learn about their ancestors. 

Here's their press release:


Findmypast Community Edition Now Available to U.S. Libraries
·         Findmypast, a global leader in family history, announces the availability of a library edition within the United States
·         Provides access for libraries, archives, and other organizations to billions of records from England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States
·         Free, no obligation, 90-day trial available

Salt Lake City – June 25, 2015
Findmypast, a global leader in family history, announced today the official release of their product for libraries and organizations in the United States. The Findmypast Library Edition gives library access to billions of records from Findmypast’s wide array of collections from the United States, Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, and other areas of the world. Collection highlights include:
·         Largest online collection of parish records from the United Kingdom
·         Exclusive access to the new PERiodical Source Index (now with images)
·         Most comprehensive Irish family history records in the world

Amongst the billions of records now available to library patrons is the new PERiodical Source Index (PERSI). PERSI, a popular tool used by genealogists, includes more than 2.5 million indexed entries from thousands of genealogical and local history publications. For the first time, images of articles have been included in the collection – with more being added on a regular basis.

“We are delighted to bring the best resource for British and Irish family history to America’s library market,” said Annelies van den Belt, CEO of Findmypast.

The Library Edition provides tools for patrons to work in tandem with a library’s subscription and at home. Individual user accounts allow patrons to build their own family tree, save records from the library’s subscription, and continue working on their family tree.  Library patrons will also have access to Findmypast’s Hints, which aids in the discovery of records from their own family tree.

Librarians can contact for further information, pricing, and to start a free 90-day free trial of the product.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Blogging

Mr. Highly Caffeinated, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015

Summer in the Blogging World
Today, hubs (shown here) and I ventured out in the world so I could go to Kohl's and get my Red, White and Blue clothes to wear to the party my daughter and son-in-law are having on the 4th of July. On the way, we stop for coffee. Here in New England, we take our coffee very seriously. This cups hold 64 oz. and that might make me so wired, I wouldn't be able to write.

On the way there, I thought about my summer blogging goals. I finally finished the first two chapters of Elizabeth Shown Mills new edition of Evidence Explained. I think about how great it would have been to have some of the wonderful new books in my library when I was starting out as a genealogist. It is a great time of year to be out in the cemetery or sitting on the porch and reading. 

Setting goals is still a rather new idea and so is keeping a research journal. I think they help a lot. I am grateful to all of my Facebook friends who come to each others rescue when help is needed. 

In education this is called successful practice, and sharing great ideas is what makes being alive today wonderful.  I will be working on my index card project for my cemeteries and gravestones a little at a time. I will share what I think works and what doesn't.

Have you seen the new Ink Joy pens that have a soft tip stylus end? I bought two packages!

Tools of the trade, 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Class of '65

Things to hold in your hand, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015

Remembering the Class of '65
Twenty-five years ago on 6 Oct 1990, hubs and I went to the Sheraton Islander on Goat Island in Newport, Rhode Island  (now a Hyatt Hotel) to attend my 25th high school reunion. At the time, I wondered how expensive it was for my classmates to travel to RI and stay in this hotel as we drove there from Massachusetts. "Pretty fancy", as my Dad would say. 

I was lucky to talk to two of my Facebook friends who attended their reunions of '63 and '64 and find out what they did for those two year 50th reunions. There were only two classes ahead of me in our new school.

The directory shown here give current (as of 1990) addresses (not email) for each person or couple attending the reunion and a photo that they took that night of each of us or for a couple. I wanted to show you this as a final wrap up of of the three posts this weekend. Today is the "day of the week" of the 50th anniversary of the graduation. Monday.

Perhaps I will still hear of a planned event but I looked at the list of those classmates that planned the 25th and I know that one has passed away. I have found one name at Facebook and I have asked him to be my friend. We'll see, as my parents used to say.

This week on Pinterest, I noticed a great idea for preserving the graduation cap tassel. You put it in a clear plastic Christmas ornament ball. I think I will do this. I will take a photo when I do.

Today, I will be "savoring the memories", and hoping some of us are still alive and remembering those who are gone. I still remember walking into the new, as yet, unfinished school for seventh grade and will hold tight to that day forever.

The Mighty Falcons forever...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Newspaper Evidence

The Providence Journal/The Evening Bulletin, Providence, Rhode Island,
15 June 1965, partial copy of the article, 2015

In my high school yearbook, is this folded article from the newspaper of Rhode Island. The morning edition was called the Providence Journal and the evening edition was called The Evening Bulletin. Yes, that's right. There were two editions produced daily. As kids, we were not allowed to touch the newspaper until our father was done with it. Yes, sports was more important than news even then. This "undated" article might have run in both the morning and evening edition. I can't be sure, but I do know that we subscribed to the evening edition. My mother did not read the paper and my father could read the morning edition at work to get sport scores. What you see here is the top part of the article. The rest, still intact in my files, doesn't have a date on the back either and it is just a list of graduates. 

Let's glean the evidence for the citations! 

  • "last night in Cranston" so the paper is 15 June 1965
  • girls wore red (see my photo) and boys wore grey (the school colors chosen for our school when I was in 7th grade) Highly controversial because I remember kids saying they voted for blue and white and it got around that the administration chose the colors and they were just being polite to ask us to vote. (World War II control) My yearbook has black and white pages.
  • 221 diplomas handed out. Hopefully the reporter counted the names listed)
  • The ceremony was supposed to be outdoors in the school quadrangle but due to rain was held in the gym. The auditorium (also new) would not hold the approximately 500 parents plus students graduating and the band and the adults officiating at the ceremony. Fire laws prevented that many people for the auditorium.
  • The ceremony was one hour and five minutes. The clock behind me at home says 5:30. The program says 7 o'clock. Remember, there was no place for us to sit in the bleachers. They must have set up chairs on the gym floor. I don't remember that at all. So now, two pieces of evidence need to be cited: the newspaper article and the ceremony program.
  • We did not have a valedictorian. There were two high schools in my city, the established Cranston High School (East) and my school, Cranston High School West (grades 7 to 12) The "Ideal Cranstonian" title was also in my mother's yearbook from East. Ed Lamagne is now Dr. Edmund Lamagne and a professor at URI.  
  • The class President, David Hall, presented the class gift, which was a lectern. I have no memory of that.  I don't know where David Hall lives or if he and (other class officers) planning our 50th reunion. 24 Oct 2015 in Providence!
  • Three clergymen officiated. Protestant, Catholic and Jewish faiths gave a fair representation of our state's religion. (my junior prom date's father was the Rev. Carl Jones, Jr. and his daughter was in my class) As I recall, he handed his daughter her diploma instead of the school principal. 
  • The band played. Yes, those seniors wore their caps and gowns to do that.
That's quite a lot of information (besides graduate names) for one newspaper article. Now only local papers would give out this much information to be cited.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Never Walk Back

Photo Collage by Midge Frazel, 2015
"I am a slow walker but I never walk back"

This quote comes from the Senior Supplement of my high school newspaper. Since it is on the masthead and in quotation marks, it must be a quote from someone. It turns out to be a quote from one of our most important Americans named Abraham Lincoln.  (I "googled" that phrase to find that out.)

We can't walk back and look at our own lives, if we DO NOT leave evidence behind. These artifacts kept in my yearbook can tell my descendants a lot about me. However, each piece of evidence must be scanned and posted online since no one wants to have to actually touch the items. Future genealogists are digital.

Let's begin with the photo in the upper left. This is a photo of me taken by my mother in the fall of 1964. (photo at Flickr) We can't be sure of the date since the photo developing date is all we have to go by. The back of the photo (in my handwriting) says Senior year, 1964. School years go from September to June in this time period. It is afternoon (by the shadows) and I am carrying books. I am "dressed up". This may have been after school on the first day of school because my mother forgot to take my photo in the morning. The bottom, gray, envelope is a college catalog and applications which they handed out that day. Today, and in the future, applying to college is done much earlier that this. In those days, only top students applied in their junior year of high school. I am 16 years old in this photo. My books are uncovered which is further evidence that this is the first or second day. There was punishment for not covering your books by the second week of school. The school called your parents. World War II parents were held accountable. That's not a bad thing.

In those days, we were expected to be in a sport or a club and be in attendance at the culmination of those events. (Note the ticket was 50 cents for students.) I was not in the drama club (photo at Flickr) or the school newspaper (photo at Flickr) but I was on the student council. 

Did I remember that? No. The evidence is in the school supplement of the "West Wind" and in the yearbook which was called "Anthos" (photo at Flickr) The program, called "Class Day" is included here because it was a very special day for us. We had no more classes, could wear shorts to school and had a program in the cool of the newly built auditorium and then we had a barbecue lunch. Early release was a big hit. Many of us went home and headed to the beach.  It was Thursday, June 10th, 1965. I remember the next day was dress rehearsal for graduation and proper behavior (and no talking) was expected.

My senior year held a special event that I remember so clearly. As I had completed 3 years of Spanish and they didn't offer an advanced class, I was expected to fill that spot in my schedule with another class of academic credit. I was lucky since Miss Muriel Cobb, a mentor teacher, came forward and signed for me to take first year Latin.  I think she did it to make a point to the faculty. Latin was not dead and students who were considering a career in the sciences should take it. She was a very exceptional, powerful, tough and special teacher. It was an incredible experience with a very big memory (not mentioned here) for me.

I joined the Latin Club and the "Toga Party" at the end of school was amazing. (photo at Flickr) It was covered in the Providence Journal newspaper of all of Rhode Island. It is one of my fondest memories. I was really fun. Of course, I took photos and kept the program for the event. 

Latin Banquet, 1965, photo of Midge Frazel
Remember these are evidence and can be cited in your personal story. Tomorrow, we will analyze the newspaper evidence for my graduation. 

Find your own artifacts, put them in archival envelopes and boxes and start writing citations.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Graduation Golden Anniversary

Memories of High School Fifty Years Ago, collage by Midge Frazel, 2015

50 Years Since Graduation Day

As genealogists and family historians, we tend to look at our lives and those who came before us with a closer eye. "Normal people" do not spend their own lives preparing to archive their own memories for people to look at in the future, do they?

That takes a lot of high energy and several days of being highly caffeinated.

Sunday, June 14, 2015 is the golden anniversary of my graduation from high school. When I was 17, I thought I might not live long enough to see this day. That thought seems forever ago and yet, here is that time.

My parents graduated from high school in 1935, from different high schools, at the opposite ends of the state of Rhode Island. Their involvement in the activities leading up to their fifty year reunions, did make me think about what that might be like for me. 

But, I am not a "normal person", I'd been interested in genealogy for a long time when I was 17, but since I thought it was about "dead people", I am surprised to realize that I have enough material from high school to run my own reunion. As I went on to get bachelors and masters degrees so, you'd think I would have lost all this stuff by now. But, I care about my belongings and my personal history as much as I do my ancestors. You should, too.

In the next two blog posts, we will examine what I have archived and why I did it but from a genealogy perspective and how my "stuff" might look to my descendants. 

If you are a #nextgen genealogist, you can start now, being prepared to help your descendants look at your past life. I am #nextgen. I can teach you.

 But, for today, I will enjoy being alive. That's the first lesson and the hardest. I have so many classmates that have passed away. It hits you hard. They are YOUR age. That's when 50 years is really a LONG time. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Straining to Hear

iHome Compact Speaker, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015

Straining to Hear

I bought this little "pop-up" speaker to use with my small technology (like my iPad mini 3 and my iPhone) and put it in my Christmas stocking bag. I tested it in January and I was amazed at the power of the sound and the quality too.

My aging Windows 7 desktop computer was not very expensive and has been a workhorse for the past 5 years. It doesn't have a wireless card and it doesn't have powerful speakers. 

I solved the lack of speakers by purchasing wireless headphones and they are great. I don't like wearing them for several hours at a time. Yesterday, while listening to the streaming sessions, I wish I'd had stronger sound.

This morning, I suddenly remembered my portable speaker. It expands (think "pop-up") and fits nicely on top of my CPU. I plugged the USB end into the front port (red arrow) and plugged the headphone jack into the headphone port located next to the USB ports on the front (pink double headed arrow). Then I flipped the switch on the speaker to the ON position and the on light glows.

Plugging the USB into that port charges the speaker. There are no batteries.

The mini USB jack fits into the speaker (blue arrow). 

I am no longer straining to hear.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Are Genealogists Dedicated to Journaling?

Confessions of a Journal Junkie, 2015
photo by Midge Frazel

Companion blog post to "Genealogist Love Office Supplies"
I went to Target this morning and looked over their selections of journals, planners and calendars. Some of them are definitely for the females. They are easy to spot, as pink and flowery stands out in the display. However, several were plain color or they had planes, hot air balloons or forest scenes suitable for the needs of men and boys. 

I know that educators promote journal writing because I wrote about that in one of my in print books for teachers after interviewing those educators that came to learn in my tech classes. I "heard" that teachers are having students learn a bit of cursive writing as an art form using journals.

As you can see, I have selected this display to demonstrate that although I am a lover of technology, I have a lot of paper bound journals. I buy them when I am on vacation too. You can see two Mickey Mouse themed journals bought at Disney World. Many people favor Composition books and I found one that was not the ordinary black and white and could be bought in pink, blue or orange. For a while, I only bought spiral bound books with tear out sheets. The one on the left (underneath) that is yellow and green is one of the two I have left.

The one with the big pink flowers and the one with the dark blue book cover are the same and my favorite for working with projects. The pages rip out. They let me think about families and individuals without worrying about order and neatness. I add the important facts to the journal, work out relationships (think: step families and adoptions, first wife vs second or third, pedigree collapse)
Of course, the gravestones I write about are transcribed to a journal, index card or paper pad next to my computer.

Example of Note Taking Journal, 2015, Midge Frazel

I am not the first person in my family to journal. My maternal great grandfather kept a newspaper clipping journal as a teenager. I photocopied the genealogical related pages and then donated it to the historical society where he grew up. There are all kinds of weather reports in it. Someone could find that useful.

Newspaper Clipping Journal of Charles Edward Stewart

Newspaper Clipping Journal of Charles Edward Stewart

Two people in my family kept diaries and those have been published. One has the ONLY record of one of my ancestors death and it was accepted as proof for a Mayflower application. Both of these (in the photo below) can be both a goldmine for information and a challenge to read with the non-standard spelling and dates. I often have to read the passages out loud to figure them out.

Steadman and Minor Diaries, 2015
But, by far, the most important personal journaling I have done has really been simple. For every electronic device I own, I keep a steno pad with information about that device. I keep the list of specs, the dates of purchase, when I installed what and any problems I have had. Trust me, it has proved helpful more than once. 

Journal-Log Books for Technology, by Midge Frazel

Gwen Kubberness of Dragonfly Journaling-Smash books is a great inspiration to all of use addicted journal writers. She is a genealogist who also blogs. I love her Pinterest boards and so will you. Genealogists are creative people.

Are you a journal junkie for genealogy, too?