Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fined for Speeding

Photo of Great Uncle Harold, undated, held privately by Midge Frazel, 2017
Great Uncle Harold(1890-1944)

Fined for Speeding
Norwich bulletin. (Norwich, Conn.), 23 Sept. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.
 Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82014086/1913-09-23/ed-1/seq-6/>


My maternal grandmother's oldest sibling Harold Schofield Barber, was her playmate and someone I heard about growing up in Rhode Island. Grandmother was three years younger and quite the tomboy and loved her big brother immensely. 

I love finding out that people in my family were not perfect and while researching Harold, I discovered that he got caught speeding at the age of 22. Harold loved automobiles and worked for his father in the car repair business after leaving school in the 8th grade. 

He was lucky that he didn't lose his license for this offense as driving was part of his job at J. Fred & Son in downtown Westerly. My grandmother told me that her father allowed her to drive at an early age because there were no driver's licenses in those days so perhaps this is why losing his license was not an option for this speeding offense. 

I am on the hunt to find out exactly when Great Uncle Harold married and I have not found out as yet, but I have found out a lot more about his life than was told to me as a young genealogist. Family stories make genealogy fun, don't they?


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Just Like My Old Man

Westerly High School Yearbook, 1935
"Just Like My Old Man"

Family stories can be a lot of fun to tell especially when you suspect that you are the only person in the whole world that knows about them.

My late father told me that he had a part in his high school play but he didn't get up immediately and show me his Westerly High School Yearbook to see the photo so I can't be absolutely positive that this is the right picture but I can tell you that this picture appears in his class yearbook. I just found it online.

In 1935, my dad was a senior in high school and the only person in his family to finish high school. My grandfather, also named Tom, sent his two daughters, Annie and Ada, to work and that left my uncle, his disabled son, to be put to work part time with an 8th grade education (source: 1940 census).

My grandmother died in 1934 of heart failure, leaving my grandfather alone. He had a drinking problem and was not consistently employed.  He died in 1937. 

So, I am sure the whole family went on this Thursday night to see my father in his school play. Dad told me that when he walked out on the stage with white hair and fake beard, my grandfather stood up and said, "He looks just like my old man!".  Everyone laughed.

It was many years later that my second cousins in California sent me a photo of my great grandfather in Scotland. I do see that this man does look like my father in the class photo. What do you think?

John Broadfoot, 1923, just before his death, in Scotland


Friday, September 1, 2017

Close to Home: Events of Our Wedding


Wedding Album by Hallmark

Events of Our Wedding
This past month, we attended the wedding of a friend.  I thought to myself, "This could be the last time I attend a wedding". I might be too old to go to my grandsons weddings. Our parents did not make it to my daughter's wedding. (Steve's parents were alive and declined to go.)

It occurred to me that I really didn't have a timeline of our own wedding. I wrote in my planner that over this Labor Day weekend, I should search for the wedding album that I purchased in 1971 to keep wedding information in. I found it, still packed from when we made the move to Stow, 7 years ago. 
As part of a good disaster plan, I realized that I needed to at least write down events from when my husband came home from the Vietnam War to the time we married. (30 March 1971 to 6 Nov 1971) 

I found out that I didn't remember much about any of it until I started this project. It took that book, my personal calendar journal and the photographs of that time for me to put together, in some kind of order, a timeline. I have just spend 4 hours trying to gather data!

Since our wedding, nearly 46 years have passed. Most family members have died. We have no idea where my husband's best man has gone. Even as a life-long genealogist, there is a lot I can't remember and there is no one to ask. Even some of my friends didn't even remember they attended. I am grateful to those who took snapshots. No one took any photos of the rehearsal or the rehearsal dinner at the location that no longer exists with the right name.

Learn from my mistake. Start a timeline and start asking people who attended. I couldn't have relied on photographs alone. 

Hargreaves Studio ( Photo of me in the lower level of the church) 6 Nov 1971.

One thing that I did write down was the time we arrived to the reception from the church and when the reception was over. The lady at the hotel "running the show", booked another reception after ours and never told me we had a time limit. 

2:50 PM to 5:15 is what I wrote down. It is dark in New England at 5:15 and everyone was glad to leave.