Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Working to Tighten a Timeline

In order to find out exactly when my maternal grandparents moved from Westerly, RI to Cranston, RI, I have been searching the Norwich, CT Bulletin available at the Library of Congress digitized newspapers online. I am very glad this is online because this is so tedious I can't imagine reading this at an archive on microfilm.

I quickly learned that I also needed to use a search for my grandmother's sister, who was still unmarried in 1916. I found two mentions of my family in the October and November papers in that year.

From family records, city directories and the Rhode Island state census of 1915, I might be able study the visiting habits of my family. After my grandparents married in 1914, I know they lived with my great grandparents while my grandfather commuted to build the business in Providence. Despite his young age, my grandfather convinced his father to move from laundry into drycleaning in the more urban Providence, RI. Eventually, my great grandfather sold his business to this younger son and moved to the Providence area and lived there until he and his wife died.

These two clips provide me with clues. Dorothy Barber, was a working woman at this time as a modern woman of her time. She was a stenographer and bookkeeper all her life and I knew her quite well. This clip shows that she was visiting my grandparents over the "Columbus Day" weekend. It probably wasn't a holiday but since she worked for her father in his automobile business, she could go visiting when she pleased. She probably came to visit for my grandmother's birthday which was October 11 and to see her baby niece, my mother.

The other clip tells me that Thanksgiving was spent in Westerly that year. The child was my mother and she was just a baby having been born in January of 1916. She was born in Westerly and my grandparents moved to Providence because the commute from Westerly in the winter was hard on family life.

I know my grandmother gave birth to a stillborn child after 8 months of pregnancy early in their marriage but my mother came along quickly after that. Amazingly, my uncle was born in 1917 so this growing family had to find somewhere to settle quickly.

My mother's first memory is of watching her brother wet his pants on the sidewalk in from of their home as they were moving in. I always thought that was funny.

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