Saturday, December 31, 2016

Pens for Bullet Journaling

Pens and Pen Roll Up, 2016

Bleeding Pens!
I own a lot of pens but a lot of them are not suitable for bullet journaling #bujo because they bleed through the paper onto the back or even worse, onto the next page. After reading reviews and searching blog posts, I have come upon only two types of pens (with colored ink) that are suitable. I was hoping for pens that I could use for bullet journaling and coloring. 

With a 50% coupon, I went to my local Michael's and looked at the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens. Known as the pens recommended by the famous artist, Johanna Basford, these pens are  "porous point", water based, metal tipped pens. They have a 0.3 mm tip (that's really small). I decided that this box of 36 was what I wanted. The smaller number of pens come in a very nice case but this one with the 36 pens was a better buy for me.

At Amazon, I found the pen/pencil roll-up case with 36 slots. Most of the roll-up cases have a tie system of closure and are only for twenty four pens. This one is the one shown in my photo and is currently "out of stock".

To my dismay, pens and pencils do not always have an identifiable color name or number printed on them, so I went in search of a blog post that I might be able to use to make my own color chart. Colour with Claire did an excellent job of the color names, so I made my own chart for my bullet journal.

At my husband's suggestion, I went to Michael's and looked at Johanna Basford's coloring books. I love her designs but I do not like that the pages are not perforated and the paper color is not always white. 

I will report on how I am going to use the color coding in a future blog post.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Words to Live By

Happy New Year 2017 (Erin Condren Web Site)

Words to Live By

There are motivational stickers and cards in each order that I place with my planner or journals (notebooks) that I have bought from Erin Condren. There are also similar motivation messages sprinkled throughout the pages. I have no problem with motivation but I do think that the ones that are telling me to "be fun" and to "enjoy" might be some ideas I need to pay attention to. 

I practice Project Based Genealogy and much of the time, my projects are thematic. That fits with my learning as an educator and it should work with my retired life too. In case you don't follow my gravestone blog, here are the two links to past blog posts about that.

I started bullet journaling this year as a way to have better control over my research plan. I also see a need to try and find a way to organize and record research that doesn't fit neatly into genealogy software.  I wrote a blog post last October that many people have read. In case you didn't see it, here's the link:

It does take a LOT of time to set up your planner, notebooks and bullet journals and I have taken my time doing that and it will pay off. Yes, I need time to enjoy my life so that needs to be considered.

Have a great holiday season and see you next year!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sentimental Sunday: Christmas 1963

Photo Collection of Midge Frazel, December 1963
Sentimental Sunday: Christmas 1963

Lest you think that planners, calendars and journals are something new to me, I will share with you this crop of a photo from my parents collection (original here). Taken on Christmas Day in 1963 and developed later that month is a photo of teenage me, at my Grandmother's apartment at the Rosedale Apartments in Cranston, RI. 

I can tell you that I am demonstrating my new scarab bracelet (which I still have) and in front of me is my calendar for the year 1964. It really would have been a good idea to put a calendar in all my personal photos to date them when it was forgotten to put the year on the back. Notice the very hip lettering on the front of the calendar. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Bullet Journaling Video List

Video Presentations of Interest to Genealogists
Planners and Bullet Journaling

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday Memory: The Packing Box

Photo by Midge Frazel, December, 2016

The Packing Box
For as long as I can remember, this box has held our tree ornaments. I realized when we moved here that this is not just a container; it is family history. We cut the leather straps, that held it shut, and replaced them with two bungie cords. That's as modern as it is going to get. I have lined it with clean paper and thrown out all the broken bits of glass in the bottom. 

I think that this box, and the 27 others that must have been before it, were the boxes that were filled with the paper covered clean laundry and shirt boxes and placed in the Victor Cleansing Company trucks to be delivered to customers. My mother worked in the shipping room and showed me the area where the dirty clothes came in and the clean clothes moved out. This would have fit in the "cubbyholes" that were built in the early 1950s when the addition was built for a storefront at the plant.

My dad's job title was head shipper in the 1949 Cranston City Directory. He's standing here in a section of Roger William Park with Mr. James Aitken. Jim gave me the BEST Christmas presents (books) when he came to my grandparents house to visit with my sick grandfather. He is my father's relative (1st cousin 1x removed) but they didn't know that at the time. My grandfather probably took this photo. 
undated Kodachrome slide in the collection of Midge Frazel
My dad looked great in a uniform, didn't he? He traded in his Army uniform for this one. Hard working, handsome and full of personality, Dad must have saved this packing crate for himself. I remember it being in the basement of my grandparent's home. For me, it is a symbol of Christmas.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pushing Seventy

Erin Condren Motivational Card., 2016
Sentimental Sunday: Pushing Seventy

Recently, I been thinking about how lucky I am to have lived this long. Some of the odds against it have been pretty amazing. Then, I thought about the first person that I remember dying and I worked out that my maternal grandfather was only 68 years 9 months 4 days when he passed away. He was quite ill for a long time.

Now, I have lived longer than his 68 years. I remember my mother marking her 69th birthday with this same thought of being older than her own father. My grandmother, his wife, lived to be 98. That's a long time to be a widow. When she turned 80, she gave up her apartment and went to live with my parents. An addition was added to the house so she could have a room of her own with her own bathroom. When I sold my parents home, that room was designated to be the master bedroom. I am sure no one thought of that when it was added to the house.

When I bought my 2017 planner, this motivational card was included in the package. Your future self means different things the older you get. Genealogists look to the past to discover the future and with that in mind, my husband and I went back to Rhode Island for a few hours to have lunch and do some needed Christmas shopping. I think it was a good thing to do to prepare for my future self. It is fitting that I am waiting for a bullet journal to arrive as the last of my birthday gifts. It will be fun to start my new year by planning my future self.

This year is my last before I turn 70 years old and I need to make it count. What will my future self be like?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Planner and Notebook Accessories

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016
Planner and Notebook Accessories

When I decided to buy an Erin Condren planner, I spent a lot of time investigating the accessories that are used with the planner and the notebook system. I went to two Staples and discovered some of the accessories in the clearance section and a display of the current planners. I was lucky to find two clutches and two notebooks marked down (for the 7x9 size). The accessories were not marked down so I looked them over and found some of them at Amazon and purchased them.

Once I decided that I did not need the large Life Planner (TM), I went to online store and ordered the Deluxe Monthly planner and some accessories that you see here. It was enough to make my order come UPS instead of the mail where items like this get mangled. My plan worked. I kept the packing box. Other than being pink, it is a great box for storing items.

I have put one notebook into use and put the other away for next year. This way I will only have to make a planner decision next year. 

The markers seemed too expensive but since I am worth it (😁) I bought a set. They are wet based (not dry erase), so I opened and tested them. The company makes other colors but I liked the bold ones. You need water and a tissue to erase them. Here are all of the photos I have taken so far.

Happy Planning!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Analog and Digital Genealogist

The Life of an Analog and Digital Genealogist
(supply your own caffeine)

Educators use resources like this Venn Diagram to teach students to organize their thoughts before starting a project. (Link)

It was the only way I could think of to explain how I think many genealogists work on projects. I haven't completed setting up my project planner for 2017, so I need to get everything in place in the next month. 

I have used this type of pad that I buy at Staples to keep track of my projects. I only have three pads left and I think I will just cut them down and paste them in my research journal. It will be an easy design to put in after I see how many projects I think I can manage this year.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Planner Features

Features of a Planner

I started using a paper planner again to help me, not only with my research, but with writing in my blogs. This is my current (2016) planner which I bought because it featured a strong front and back page and (grin) coloring pages. I would not do that again because I have not colored as many of the pages as I wished.

I learned that I like a spiral binding because I can fold it over to put in the stand and because it is easier to pick up and write in.

I liked the large space for planning with each day but I quickly learned that I did not need to use the "daily or hourly space". I like the reminders section for keeping track of items I have on order or appointments for the NEXT month. 

This is the two page spread for December with the thicker page for the coloring and the classic monthly calendar. I was disappointed that the back side of the coloring pages was NOT blank, so to color it I could not write anything on it. 

I went in search of a different style for 2017.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Knowing the Date; Seeing the Future

Knowing the Date; Seeing the Future

Photo collage by Midge Frazel, 2016

I am the original "calendar girl". I love seeing the future while writing about the past. Living in the moment is not my style.

Before I moved here in 2010, I cleaned out the box in my basement where the calendars from years past go to die. I spent two hours going through the years 1960 to 2000, taking notes on events in my current journal. The years after that, I carefully folded, put in a plastic bag and brought here to finish the process while relaxing on the porch. I transcribe important events into a small notebook some time on New Year's Day. It is a year in review to see what I and my family need to know. I refer to them constantly. I think this is fun.

The huge calendar lives inside a closet on my first floor. My husband is trained to write his appointments on it. The next one is a perpetual calendar. When I go into my office I change it to the current day. The next one is the "monthly" view of my current planner and the small one next to that hangs on the wall in my office. I highlight holidays and of course, the full moon. For 2017, I am going to highlight these in different colors. Go ahead. Make fun of me. The worst thing that could happen to you is asking me to organize your life. So many begged me to do that and couldn't take it when I did.

The calendar I hate the most is the one in my phone. I still carry a thin 2 year paper calendar in my purse. That's my life in analog. 

I have observed that people do not really understand how to manage the information that calendars hold. I have some hilarious stories to share in the future. 

Keeping a Diary

Keeping a Diary

Photos by Midge Frazel, 2016

Diaries, by their very nature, are a personal and old way of keeping a narrative of life in a particular time period of life. Genealogists know the value of keeping a diary and many have diaries of ancestors and relatives in their bookcases. 

Diaries can be kept daily or whenever the writer feels the need to write. They are usually lined paper, with a sturdy cover and a ribbon for a bookmark. To keep them shut, a simple elastic band is set in the cover to keep the papers inside. The two photos above are diaries that I have in use. To the non diarist, they look the same, except for the color of the cover. I put an orange square over the place in the bottom diary that is for the date in the format month/day/year but you can see that there is plenty of room in the other one for adding that information as the header is wider. You write on a page until you run out of room and start another page.

Diaries are meant to be carried around in a bag, pocket or briefcase. They are freeform and adaptable. In the past, they were predated and were a Christmas stocking stuffer, along with a new pen, to encourage children to observe and write. Adults enjoyed the peace and quiet of children writing in a diary or journal while the adults were occupied with other tasks.

My childhood diary had a lock and key. It keep prying eyes out. 

Blogs are today's diaries. They can be public or private just like their paper counterpart. Many people sketch or draw diagrams, keep records of family events and use them to plan for the future. Facebook and Twitter, and other social media, are a combination of diary and journal. They are for public sharing or thoughts, events and ideas.

Many people use a diary, a journal and a planner together to manage their life.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Journaling the Family Bible

The Family Bible
journaling the information

I am indeed proud to own my grandfather's Family Bible. It's presence in my life marks the first day I became a genealogist at the age of eight. I knew it would be mine someday and the information that it contains has been the firmest tool in my genealogy toolkit. 

I broke the binding photocopying the pages so I could scan them. But, since I am the only person to directly inherit it from my grand father and his daughter, my mother, it is OK.

I have several samples of my 2nd great grandmother's handwriting (and recently was given her childhood essays) and since 1859 is when her oldest child, my great grandfather was born, I think it might have been a gift and she copied all the oldest records she could find. Please read this terrific blog post to learn more about Family Bibles.

What I have NOT done with this is to record the dates of birth, marriage and death in a journal. I have photocopied them, scanned them, archived them and put them in my family tree. 

So, I am going to sit and transcribe them by hand and examine them one by one make sure the information is correct in my database and find out if I have vital records to match. I know there is one vital record that can't be found because it may have been a home birth and not recorded. I keep looking....

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Taking Notes and Keeping Papers

Taking Notes and Keeping Papers

In my new planner system, I will be bullet journaling some of my projects right in my planner. After the planner months, there is 20 double sided pages for "Notes". This will be good for me to have to review before I write. This sold me on this planner because I need to start keeping list of what ancestors I write about. When you blog as long as I have you never remember what you wrote about unless you keep a list.

Section of blank pages

Back pocket and back of back pocket

Monthly Plans

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016
Monthly Plans

At the very beginning of this planner, there is a year-at-a-glance spread (not shown here). A spread is journal/planner lingo for two pages to look at at a time.  Featured under the year by months is a interesting section to be written in that has the words, "Don't Count the Days, Make the days count". Certainly genealogists can relate to that. 

This is the next page spread after that: it has twelve sections. I will most likely use it for projects to be planned by month. I have two sets of Post-it tabs that are by month or I can use my label maker to mark the section headings. If you go to a lot of conferences you could use it to prepare for that.

Buying a Planner

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016
Binding and Layout

In the last post, I showed the front of the planner I purchased. The best part of the one I purchased is the heavy laminated front and back covers. Covers are a problem for all things that have paper because they take the beating of being being carried and used. The "cover design" is an insert and can be removed. They take special orders for customizing the photo and monogramming. I didn't want to wait.

The binding is important for all journals and planners. I press down on them to flatten journals out to use them, but a planner needs the flexibility of the spiral layout. Some people have reported that the alternative colors to the platinum spiral have been a problem but the company is taking them back and fixing them. 

With simplicity, this "Monthly Deluxe Planner", rocks. I just need a month view and the sidebar task list/goals so I can quickly see what I must accomplish and to be able to keep track of it.

Hourly layouts are good for those who are charging a client for research or for planning a meeting, so if you need that (I don't) look for that in a different style of planner.

The back side of the monthly view is free-form. The left side has five lined sections. I call that "one a week". I will write the name of my completed posts on the lines and the week of posting. Special notes will go in big lined space on the left and I am going to write more tasks on that page. The back side of the left is blank and I will probably write citations on that.

Don't strain to look at photos. Look at them here:

Planning your Genealogy Journaling

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016
Planning your Genealogy Journaling Adventure

This upcoming year, I am going to improve on my genealogy in a new way that is really an old way. As I practice project based genealogy, I am going to plan what I write instead of doing it the way I have done it before. This means fewer blog posts but ones with a high energy approach. I've been testing this out at Facebook where I put some quick to read ideas out there and see if that is enough for people who want to read about genealogy from my perspective. 

After learning about bullet journaling, I decided that I needed to return to paper based calendars, diaries and planners. This is how I managed my life before computers. Nothing beats using the computer to write and communicate. Nothing beats using genealogy software to record and understand where your ancestors came from and lived. However, most of us only want to know how that is done and are not very interested in someone else's ancestors unless they are one they share those same people and places. People enjoy my New England gravestones and the methods that I use for finding, analyzing and recording genealogy.  People want to know what works. It is a bullet point way of life. 

I have spent several months setting up my projects. Some I will blog about and some I will not or I will just mention them on Facebook or in my blogs. 

I have test driven several types of journal systems and I have settled on this one. I put away my flat bed scanner to give myself more space in my office. At the end of my work day, I pick up and take just my journal and my notes downstairs and I put them back on my desk when I go to bed. My iPad and my iPhone help me with communication with other genealogists. 

The trio of photos above will show you my new journal system. My personal life has a different system. I am a calendar and diarist by nature. I love planning and order. I don't like keeping all my information in just one place. The biggest danger is losing information whether it be paper or electronic. My journals rarely leave my house. But, if you take anything with you, make sure everything has clearly written directions for for returning it to you if it is lost. 

I have decided that the notebooks I have been using with become my research journals. These are the basics you must think about, whether they are electronic or paper based.

  • Calendar
  • Monthly planner
  • Task list or To-do list
  • Notebooks or Surname Notebooks
  • Research journals

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Take a Bite out of Bullet Journaling

Take a Bite out of Bullet Journaling

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016

I like to write. I like to keep records. I like calendars. I like to plan. It is one of the best traits of genealogists and I've got it. I like to read. Keeping a journal is a very ancient pastime.  My ancestors kept journals. Think about it.

I prepared this photo to help my friends who have asked why I am working with paper journals. "It's so analog and you are so digital", they exclaim! It's true. I love technology. But, I love writing and coloring on paper. I love pens, pens and markers.

In case you are thinking about using bullet journaling as part of your genealogy, first, you have to try it to see if you like it. 

In this photo, I opened an inexpensive journal to two empty pages. That's called a spread. Each bullet journal entry is two pages that are related. More room to write and more room for thinking. Many people also draw or use calligraphy in their spreads. I can't draw but I can do calligraphy. But for this example, I kept it simple.

You need a journal. I buy most of mine marked down in office supply stores or at Walmart or Target. You can use a regular notebook. Make sure you can open it flat. I like squashing down the pages or having a journal, planner or notebook with a spiral.

  1. Pens: Fine Tip Sharpie and Calligraphy pens
  2. Stickers: Use for Headers or "bullets"
  3. Journal Spread: Two pages of lined or "dotted" paper
  4. Grid paper: for creating a to-do list, explaining abbreviations
  5. Post it Planner Page: removable lists or planning sheets
  6.  Banker's Clasps: for holding the journal open or for holding a book open
  7. Planning Journal: my daily planner (separate from my bullet journal) It doesn't leave my house.
  8. Template: for making lines and boxes to check off items
  9. Journal Pencil Case and Gel Writing pens
  10. Not marked with a number: Plastic Box to hold supplies

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Along for the Journey Project: Post 3

 Along for the Journey

Post #3

Yesterday and today, I completed three objectives in this project. 
I have cleaned up my Mayflower Notebook for now, worked on the page for what Mayflower men we have and put all of the items to be done on a task list. 

I began my day today by photocopying all the certificates, then I scanned them, archived them on my external drive and posted them to Flickr. The next job was to make sure I have all of the applications in one location in an archival bag. I put them in my office closet for now until I can find a archival safe flat box to store these and only these together. 

I used my Post-it Planner and Perforated List to help me with my genealogy bullet journal projects. Today,  I bought another set of 25 sheets at Staples and put them away for when the ones I am using are used up. They are too expensive ($9.29) for casual use and Amazon doesn't carry them. I suspect they are discontinued because of their price.

As I work on the next phase of this project, I will not report on it as it just includes photocopying and scanning the proved applications. Mayflower applications are legal sized documents and I am shrinking them on my photocopier down to letter size for scanning. I have four shrunk down and have two more to do tomorrow. This next week, I will scan them all and archive them. I have more time during the week to get this done.

Even if I had done this as I went along, I would not have them organized as I have changed how I do this process.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Along for the Journey Project: Post 2

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2011

Along for the Journey Project

Post 2

I learned so much about the process of genealogy research by deciding to join the Mayflower Society, that it changed how I did research from the first application I submitted. 

I took this photo (above) of the materials in proof packet which I mailed along with an application for my husband's Alden line in 2011. Hubs Soule and Alden lines shared some documents, so I included them in this packet, mailed them off and continued to work on his Soule application. 

Jay Lucas of the Massachusetts Mayflower Society worked closely with me. Even though I has done my own lines prior to this time, I learned a lot from him. 

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016
For this project, I am starting with preparing to photocopy, scan and protect the certificates and the applications. I have a good head start on this, as last year, I bought archival envelopes and put all in my papers in an archival safe box. (previous project materials) I discovered that I had to purchase larger envelopes than I used for my photographs.

For my bullet journal (#bujo), I am going create a page which lists what Mayflower passengers we have as a family, and then make a task list of what I have to accomplish on another page.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Along for the Journey Project: Post 1

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016 (link)
Along for The Journey Project
Post #2

Bullet Journaling is best used to record progress made with projects whose information and results don't fit neatly in your regular genealogy research journal. As a demonstration of how this can work for family historians and genealogists, I pulled out a journal that I bought some time ago. It was marked down because the spiral is a little bent. It is meant for recording your travels on a vacation. 

I opened it up and kept a few pages in the front for a table of contents. Armed with some discount coupons, I traveled to my local Michael's to buy fall themed stickers and washi tape. I plan to use the glittery tape for other projects too.

Fall and Family Bullet Journaling Purchases, 2016
As my husband and I are both descended from Mayflower Passengers, I decided that I need to organize the papers and certificates from the completed proof of the research that I did from 2005 to 2010 so that I can accomplish the following goals.
  • Prepare the certificates for archiving
  • Prepare the completed applications for archiving
  • Write up the work so that my non-genealogy family can understand it.
  • Prepare to enter the information into my genealogy software
Last year (2015) my older grandson and his father entered a contest about discovering the past and the company that hosted it made a video about the adventure called "Along for the Journey".

 You can  view that video here: Along for the Journey

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sentimental Sunday: Little Trinket Box

Grandmother Denison's Trinket Box, 1890

Carefully saved by my maternal grandmother, was this little wooden box that belonged to her husband, Evans Stewart. I think it might have been used for pocket change or cuff-links. 

I kept it in a small drawer in my bureau until I came home from school one day and found it sitting on a folded newpaper, drying from being stained this brown color. It was unfinished prior to my mother deciding it was too boring and needed to be decorated. 

When she applied polyurethane to it and it was dry, I decided it needed to be hidden so I put it in my desk with items over it.

When I moved to my own home, I took all of the items that belonged to me from my parent's house and put them in mine. I set this on a small table in the hallway. One day, my toddler daughter opened it and scribbled on the piece of paper inside. I have erased the pencil marks, scanned it  and lightened it up so that I can read it and it says:

"Evans Stewart/Grandmother Denison/ July 22, 1890."

Today,  I decided to try to puzzle out if the date was of any significance. 

In 1890, my grandfather was three. His father, Charles E. Stewart was 31, his grandmother Eliza Fish Denison Stewart was 56. 1890 is the year Westerly Laundry was founded. 

Then, I found a matching exact date. 

This is the date, that Levina Fish Denison (1794-1890) died. She was my grandfather's great grandmother. She lived to be 95. Eliza Fish Denison must have inherited it from Levina who was her mother. Notice that it does not say "from", it simply says her name.

If it wasn't for blogging, I might have not realized who Grandmother Denison really was....

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bullet Journal Project Page

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016
Post #3
First entry in "Where Did They Come From?" Bullet Journal Page

Research for Bullet Journal Page

Ancestor of Capt. George Denison
(Where Did He Come From?)
 Find My Past Adventure
Bullet Journaling Project
Post #2

After finding this index and image record, I asked permission of Find My Past to blog about it. They kindly said I could. (re: Alexandra Edmondson Content Writer (US)

The current Denison genealogy lists John Denyson as the "earliest known ancestor", with his son William (Capt. George's father). William and his wife and three youngest sons (Daniel, Edward and George came to America.) 

Where did he come from? Solved.

  • Index does indeed say, Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire, England (at St. Michael's)

Denison Genealogy, p. xxi

Screen Shot of Index Page (found at Find My Past)
search term: John Denyson)

Hertfordshire Burials Transcription found at Find My Past
 Parish Register Record at Find My Past

I put a blue arrow to show the line number of the burial of John Denyson. John Denyson was buried "unreadable" day of December (p). Notice the next line says "6 day of December".  
  • index reads 4 December
  • image next line says 6 December
  • Does the "p" at the end of the line indicate it was a plague burial?

This is a great find but still with unanswered questions.

Project Based Genealogy Using Bullet Journaling

Where Did They Come From?
Bullet Journal Spread (Shot #1)
Midge Frazel, 2016
Project Based Genealogy Using Bullet Journaling
Post #1

Some time ago, I introduced the concept of Project Based Genealogy. Since then, I have looked at my work in a different way. I took my research journal more seriously by developing several different kinds of methods for examining my research. Bullet Journaling is helping me record and examine information in ways I had not thought of before. 

I am learning Scrivener to write a personal family history and I quickly discovered that I didn't have all that I needed all in one place. Many genealogists are using this software, instead of Word, to write stories. 

As I am a Find My Past Ambassador, I'd like to spend more time recording and using "over the pond" records in my blog posts. Finding and proving information in my New England families is a lot harder than I first thought. My ancestors that came to America from England are well recorded once they came to New England but I still don't know, or don't believe information in many of the books I own. I have noticed that they "copied" and printed the same information from each other. That doesn't mean they were right.

I think bullet journaling (#bujo) will help me find and record this information so that I can put it in my family tree and be confident that I have researched, sourced and cited the information correctly.

Are you like me and your research journal is filled with questions to yourself? So, I bought a Boogle Board for writing down the information I have found before I enter it into my bullet research journal. 

In the photo above, (close up photo)  I have grouped together, the Boogie Board, the journal in progress and the history/genealogy book that I am using for some of my ancestors that came to New England. The book, by the way, is the History of Stonington, Connecticut by the late Richard Anson Wheeler which is now out of copyright. When I bought it some years ago, it helped me look at my ancestors by surname. These families lived closely together and are part of my FAN (friends, neighbors and associates). These families intermarried so much that I am descended from them in many ways.

In the past week, I have been thinking about my furthest most ancestor in my Denison line, John Dension. Now, of course, his name was probably Denyson. But, where do I start working on what I know about him and how do I record that? I need a table of contents page for my New England Ancestors called, "Where Did They Come From?" 

Bullet journaling is traditionally very "artsy". I want it to look nice but without a lot of clutter, so I am using simple journal stickers, my label maker and a blank lined journal to start recording the family name, the sources and where they came from. The findings will go in my research journal.

I have always known I was a Denison. My maternal grandparents are buried in the Denison plot in Elm Grove Cemetery. I've been to the land where Capt. George lived. John Denyson was his grandfather. According to the Denison genealogy and Wheeler's history, John Denyson was buried on 4 December 1582 and died of the plague. It says he's buried at Stortford. (What's creepy? My birthday is December 4)

This blog article helped me thinking about dying of the plague and I went seeking his burial record. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day: Package Deliveries

Photo collection of the Ewens family, used with permission, 2016
Package Deliveries
Labor Day Post

This photograph was taken by Henry E. Stanley (1873-1942), a Providence professional photographer. My grandparents bought this beautiful Tudor house from him in 1939. My grandmother sold it in 1958. This photo can only be dated by the age of his now deceased daughter. 

This photo is part of a collection of photos of the home he built in Cranston, Rhode Island about 1912. 

He took photos at various stages (and years) and this one, a simple photo of the driveway, means a lot to me. I blurred out his daughter on her bicycle, because I want to focus on the "delivery side door". 

The door leads to two staircases, one up into the kitchen hallway and one down to the basement. For those who could afford it, specialty companies delivered food directly by truck to the home of the customer. The idea caught on, just as it has today. Many people had milk, cream, eggs and butter delivered. The big department stores in Providence and Boston delivered purchases to the customer's doors on special weekdays. Many bakeries offered deliveries of bread and cakes. My grandmother, although she was an excellent cook, had coconut cupcakes delivered. I watched as she ordered them by phone and they were delivered fresh in the morning. Yum.

The butcher and the "fish guy" delivered orders the same way. I remember the meat man's name was Frank. He called me "Miss". My grandmother let me go down to the door and keep watch for him to drive up the sloped driveway and get out of his truck.  I was in charge of turning on the light. You can see it over the door. 

She kept a basket at the bottom of the stairs so I could carry the wrapped items up to the kitchen while she came down the stairs and paid the delivery man. You had to be home for food delivery because the food was fresh and payment was expected upon delivery. 

The laundry, which went down to the basement by the chute built into the wall, was brought up to the truck by the men who worked for my family business, Victor Cleansing Co. The plant was not far away from this house. I was allowed to throw the towels down the chute. It is a lot better than lugging heavy laundry up and down stairs. The finished laundry was delivered all folded in brown paper and it was carried up to the hallway for my grandmother. You could smell the bleach and soap through the paper.

When the UPS and FedEx men people deliver my orders to my porch, I think of this door often. Everything old is new again.

I thank those who labored in my family business on this Labor Day. I will always remember how hard they worked. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bullet Journaling for Genealogists

Ancestral Bookmark, 2016, privately held
by Midge Frazel

Bullet Journaling for Genealogists
You may have heard about bullet journaling from some of your non-genealogist friends. This method of keeping records, called tracking, is popular with anyone who has to manage their lives in a new way. 

Taking medications and keeping track of health related issues, event planning (like weddings or religious events) doing school or work related tasks, planting and gardening, house renovations, weight loss are some of the most common reasons to keep a Bullet Journal. Travel journals are more popular than ever and they morph into a smashbook (a kind of scrapbook) when the trip is over. Cool things are happening outside my office walls. 

Bullet Journals have their own hashtag #bujo. If you are going to blog about this, that's the tag to use.

For some time now, I have been investigating this topic with the perspective of the family historian or genealogist. I joined two Facebook groups and have collaborated with a few others on how they set up and use a research journal. Most of the people who bullet journal use calligraphy and art supplies as motivation to keep records. It keeps them engaged in their journal. I think this is helping people with organizing and planning. One size doesn't fit all.

I have been gathering some ideas in a Pinterest board. I have suggested that a well known genealogist (not me) develop a webinar on this topic and I have been sharing my ideas with that person through my development of a plan that works for me as a visual example.

As you know, I am retired but I am still an active researcher with many interests beyond genealogy. 

The bookmark shown here in this post, is a family heirloom. It belonged to my great grandparents. It was given to my grandfather, then to my mother and now it is mine. To me it was a symbol of trying not to over-do my work and not to be able remember what I was doing so I could to pick it up again where I left off. There are not enough hours in the day. I must chose wisely so I have divided my work into three notebooks. 

  • My calendar-planner (for my blogs) 
  • My research log/notebooks (my real bullet journal)
  • My list of things that don't fit neatly (like bright-shiny objects and thoughts) into the above two books.

As I sip my iced coffee, I thought you'd like to know what the Highly Caffeinated Genealogists has on her mind. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sentimental Sunday: Original Records

Collage by Midge Frazel, 2016

Original Image vs. Certified Copy
As I try to shape up my first five generations, I discovered that there really was a ORIGINAL IMAGE of the record of my maternal 2nd great grandparents, Dudley Wheeler Stewart and Eliza Fish Denison of North Stonington, Connecticut. I located it this week by searching at I am quite excited about this because this couple was the first photographs of my ancestors that my grandmother gave me the day I became a genealogist at the age of 7. 

My grandfather, Evans Stewart, their grandson, had died and my grandmother showed me the Stewart Family Bible, once owned by Eliza Fish Denison Stewart. She is the closest Denison to me and they are buried near to the Denison plot in Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic, CT where my maternal grandparents are buried. I have always known I was a Denison. Grandpa drove his big Cadillac slowly by the Denison Homestead and told me it was important. I promised to remember. I became a life member of the Denison Society.

In 2005, I sent letters to North Stonington, Stonington and Groton, Connecticut seeking records. The nice assistant Town clerk from Groton, wrote to me and told me that they were indeed married there and their were records for my Fish ancestors as well. As I had learned, I asked for the cost and for a certified copy of any records they could find. Back came the image to the far left which was accepted for proof for my DAR and for my Mayflower membership. Eliza's mother, Levina Fish, birth record in 1790 was one she sent me as well. 

As you can see, a copy of the original page was not offered to me. But, she must have gone to the ledger and copied down (correctly), the names, dates, places and who married them. I read this copy, found at with great interest. The top of the page, separated the "colored" with a tab. Wow.

Dudley and Eliza were married in 1856 before the Civil War, but Dudley did not serve. He may have sent a "substitute" because he could afford it and because he was running the only  general store in North Stonington. He was registered for the draft, in 1863 at 40 years of age, but as far as I can tell, he did not actually serve.

With their marriage date confirmed, I looked for her, not in Stonington or North Stonington as I had surmised, but in Groton, living with her mother's family, possibly as a companion or nanny, in 1850 at the age of 17. Her parents, Levina Fish and Isaac Denison, Jr. had 12 children and these children were probably were encouraged to move out of the family home in downtown Mystic (Stonington) where her parents lived after moving from the family farm. 

So many people, who live in the area of these three places have helped me understand the places of residence and the timeline of this last big family. Dudley and Eliza only had three children, and lost one of those three in childhood. Their daughter, Fannie and her husband, did not have children, so I am alone now as the only descendant.

I feel they are a special couple in my research and I talk to them when I go to the cemetery. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sentimental Sunday: Life is a Series of Moments

Sentimental Sunday: Life is a Series of Moments

Dinner Conversation

Recently in an episode of Inspector Lewis, a PBS series which is ending, a conversation which happened in a car, had a lot of meaning for me. The retired detective says to the newly promoted man, "Life is a Series of Moments". 

Some things that happen in our family history are really memorable for just a few minutes but because times change, can be really memorable later on to next generations. I propose that we blog about them for others to read. Here's my first one.

My mother went to Lasell (Junior) College for two years, then, it was boarding school for young ladies that had completed high school. She hated it. It was too academic and not enough art. The girls around her were, as we call it today, "clueless". The young women were required to dress for dinner and sit at tables and make polite conversation about the food by speaking the foreign language they learned in high school. My mother took Spanish for two years in high school. 

The girl assigned to my mother's table was not prepared for such an environment. In a stage whisper, after looking at the food in bowls on the table and fearing starvation, she said to my mother, "How do you say, Chili Con Carne in Spanish? My mother used this story for decades at our holiday dinners. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Providence City Directory, 1919, p. 1081
located via One Rhode Island Family's blog which led to the Internet Archive

Every genealogist and family historian should watch out for negative evidence and when they find it, they should make sure that it is as well documented for future generations so that it will not become fact later on.

I have been working hard all summer on learning as much as I can about my maternal grandfather's business dealings.  Along the way, over the years, I have enlisted the help of many people who have joined this quest. Recently, I have found many quality new-to-me pieces of evidence but this ad in the Providence City Directory of 1913, makes me see red. 

Title Page

Diane Boumenot's One Rhode Island Family is the first place I should have gone looking when I realized that by looking in Cranston, it was NOT enough. Diane's exceptionally fine work was the first place I should have gone. Cyr. St which corners on Montgomery Ave. is on the edge of Providence. I needed to look for evidence in PROVIDENCE. Diane's list sent me to a downloadable PDF of this 1919 Providence City Directory which had an ad. (I love the old ads, don't you?) By the way, Diane's family lived in this area, too.

This is the present day street sign cropped from the Google "street view" so that I can be sure I am looking at the whole street and not just at the junction of the two streets.

I spent an entire day with Google Maps going up and down present day Cyr. St. in Washington Park on the Providence-Cranston city line making sure that the above artist's drawing is NOT how my family business was laid out. The building in the artist's rendering looks plausible because the business did have a side entrance until 1958. There was a smoke stack. There was a fenced in yard behind the original building (called "the Plant"). But, none of the other buildings shown were there. It was a residential area with houses on both sides on Cyr and Montgomery. At least I could enlarge this ad enough to see that it is hand drawn. 

My grandfather took part of the business to Providence early on. He commuted from Westerly to Providence, picking up laundry and dry cleaning round trip. The very earliest I can find is the first store at 285 Weybossett St. in downtown Providence. 

See what I never noticed, the address on the side of the truck shown below? I know that this must have been between 1907 and 1913. I continue to search the City directories for ads and listings. If only this truck could talk. Be careful of artist's renderings!

Family Photo Collection of Midge Frazel, privately held.