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


  1. What a lovely post, Midge. Your grandmother was surely pleased to see you wearing her ring.

  2. I loved this! Vincent wears my grandfather's ring. I have my Dad's ring - my Mom had it made into a heart and I wear it on a chain. I love seeing these rings passed on and on.

  3. Thanks. It is nice to see other genealogists feel this way too.

  4. I told my husband (then fiance) that I didn't want a new ring. We took the stone from my paternal grandmother's ring and put it into a new setting, 62 years after she first wore it. I've been wearing it 42 years now, so the stone has been part of a ring for 104 years now.

  5. That's a wonderful story. We have family jewelry that has been passed on but not a wedding ring.

  6. I received my grandmother's ring long after I was married, and if I'd known, I would have worn it as my ring. I love the idea of writing about artifacts that have been past down to us. I plan to do this now before I forget the story that goes with them.

  7. Sharing such precious items means far more than memories. I have a few family pieces and when I wear them, I can 'feel' them with me. It's a lovely way to link the generations, as it is to share their stories. How generous of your grandmother to share her wedding ring. I'm sure it brought her much pleasure.