Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Close to Home: Celebration of Marriage

From the Family Collection of
 Hannah (Champlin) Broadfoot and William Broadfoot
Privately held by Midge Frazel, 2016

link to large size of the announcement
Close to Home: Celebration of Marriage

Around the time (in 1939), that Ada and George were wed, New England life was changing. People married people outside of their neighborhoods, social circles and religion. More mobility and owning a car made more of a difference than we can imagine.

So many of us today come from families where adults have different upbringings that we have a hard time understanding why things were difficult in the past. Ada was a Protestant and George was a Roman Catholic and in those days it made a difference to how they brought up their children. Both of my cousins married people who were Catholic so it worked out in the end. 

Ada married George in the church rectory of his church in his neighborhood. Weddings, especially in war time, and in the depression were not lavish affairs. People put on new clothes gathered two people to witness the ceremony and got married. 

I didn't know until I read this announcement, that Ada had her sister and George had his brother, Leo, "stand up for them". It states they were married in the Parish Center but it was likely in the living room of the rectory. I have it in Ada's own handwriting in my interview notes so it would be clear that they were NOT married in the church itself. 

The 1939 Westerly City Directory lists Ada with my father as "Harcom" and my grandfather "Thos" as dying on 21 April 1937. Uncle Bill was not listed but he would have only 17 years old. Today, you have to be over 17 to be listed in the (public) Street Directory if there is one published in your area.

In the 1940 census, Ada and George were both working at the Bradford Dye and my father and his brother live in the same house with them. Bradford Dye had a government contract for cloth dyed in "government colors" for many, many years and it kept people working and living in the mill housing. My aunt is a laboratory assistant.  We know that she is pregnant with her first child in 1940 and my generation of this family began there.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Close to Home: Four of a Kind

My Dad's Family from the Family Collection of Hannah (Champlin) Broadfoot and William Broadfoot
privately held by Midge Frazel, 2016
Four of a Kind
Happy (Sentimental) Easter

My father had three siblings; two sisters and a brother. This photo shows everyone except my father and this is a photo I had not seen before. I am guessing that it might be Easter Sunday and one that, like this year, was celebrated in March or early April because they look so cold standing outside. My cousin has her hands pulled up in her sleeves and the adult men have overcoats on. I think they are ready for church.

Ada is the lady to the far left standing next to her husband, George. Next is Annie standing next to her brother Bill and Annie's husband Jack is on the far right. I am guessing this is the later 1940s. The children are Ada and George's and that's why this post is a part of Ada's story.

One of the best things about the photos I inherited are the group photos of the four siblings. I will always wonder why my Dad didn't get copies of these photos.

Happy Easter, 2016!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Close to Home: Neighbors on the Lane (Update)

Photo from the family collection of Hannah (Champlin)  and William Broadfoot
Privately held by Midge Frazel, 2016 

Neighbors on the Lane
In this "Close to Home" series of blog posts, it would be remiss to not use this great photo of my paternal grandfather Thomas Broadfoot wearing his kilt, standing proudly with this neighbor lady identified as "Mrs. Titterington" on the reverse side. He draped part of the wool over her shoulder and it really stands out. 

The 1924 (1923-1924) Rhode Island City Directory of  Westerly and Pawcatuck gives me list of those people living on Bowling Lane in Bradford. 

Not all city directories do this but I wish they did because it gives us genealogist  a snapshot of the FAN (Friends and Neighbors) that we need to add flavor to our genealogy stories about our families. Called a "House Directory", this feature gives us a alphabetical street listing and the name of the head of household for each number house with an explanation of this section of the city directory. 

This a a crop of a page with the section of Bowling Lane that I found by using my grandfather's name. I see names that I heard mentioned over the years when the "grown-up talked. Remember, these are duplex houses so some are very close neighbors and walls were probably thin. See the Titterington family? I know that #97 and #99 are duplex neighbors.

Update: Because I was unsure about which Titterington family was friends with my family, I have found two descendants of a different Titterington family that can help me straighten this out. This is Christina, wife of David Titterinton.

They tell me that the Titterington family at 71 Bowling Lane is not the family in some of my photos. Blog post coming soon...

I'll be spending more time with this particular directory because of this interesting feature.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Close to Home: Happy Birthday Aunt Ada

From the family photograph collection of William and Hannah (Champlin) Broadfoot
Privately Held by Midge Frazel, 2016
Close to Home: Happy Birthday, Aunt Ada!

Isn't it interesting that I chose to write about my Aunt Ada first even though she was not the oldest child in her family?

Today is her birthday anniversary! Born at home, on 7 Vose St. in Westerly, on 11 March 1913,  Ada was first on my mind to write about because she is the mother of my cousins and she was so devoted to her family. "Family first" defined her life and when she passed away, she had two married children and four grandsons. 

Ada described herself to others as a "dyed-in-the-wool" Baptist and was a life long member of the Niantic Baptist Church in the village of Bradford, in Westerly, RI. She married George J. Curry on 27 May 1939 in the rectory of St. Leo's Roman Catholic Church in Pawtucket, RI. 

For a long time, that was all I knew of her until the day, I interviewed my father's siblings and using that research as a guide, a picture of Ada's story began to slowly emerge. 

My cousin tells me that our mutual grandfather insisted that his daughters quit school and go to work. The 1940 census tells me this is true as she is listed as having only 2 years of high school but the 1930 census lists her at 17 and not employed making it look like she was still in school.  

Stepping back, the 1935 Rhode Island state census shows the family living at 97 Bowling Lane and Ada is 12 years old.  With her little brothers being only 7 and 5 in that year (and the year of so many of the photos I inherited being taken in 1925), I can see that Ada was probably taking care of my father and his brother while my grandmother worked. 

Tom Broadfoot, my grandfather, left working at the quarry and went to work for Bradford Dye and they moved to a mill house and he walked to work with many of the other men in the neighborhood. The house was owned by the mill and only those who worked at Bradford Dye were qualifed to live in what we now call a duplex style house.

Life was hard and my grandfather loved his drink. My grandmother had worked as a domestic in Scotland and so she turned to that kind of work, taking in laundry and being a maid in one of the big hotels in Westerly. 

When Ada married in 1939, both of her parents were dead and her husband moved into the house on Bowling Lane. 

That is where this photo of Ada was taken, outside, on the Lane. Happy Birthday, Aunt Ada.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Close to Home: Growing Up on the Lane

Photo collection of William and Hannah (Champlin) Broadfoot
Privately held by Midge Frazel 2016

Close to Home: Growing Up on the Lane

This small photo tells me a lot about the years that my father and his siblings spent living on Bowling Lane in Bradford, RI. I have just a few photos of my paternal grandparents with their children and this was a new one to me. My father had a close relationship with his mother as evidenced by my grandmother, Annie with her arm around my dad. Whoever took this photo almost cut off my aunt. They probably couldn't imagine that this would be the only photo taken that I would see of them when they were older.

None of us in my generation knew Tom and Annie as they died before any of us were born. I was quite surprised that my grandmothers knew each other. They had completely different experiences living in the same town.

While I was researching the Broadfoot and Aiken ancestors, I used to wish I had a photo of their four children all in one photo. Now I have several. Isn't that the way things happen?

The dog in this photo is just a small puppy. The later pictures I have show the dog a little older. What I gained from the photo is what the children called their parents as they are identified as Pa and Ma.

Telling the story of each one of their children brings them close to home.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Close to Home: An Only Child But Not Alone

Photo from the Collection of William and Hannah (Champlin) Broadfoot
now privately held by Midge Frazel, 2016

Close to Home
An Only Child but Not Alone
When I began to work on the Genealogy "Do-Over" last year, my goal was to organize and confirm the research I did on my paternal family that came from Scotland.  On my maternal side, I found out that the one family who were involved in the wool industry came from Saddleworth, England. I found the cathedral in which they were married and real images of their vital records. I spent the summer working on my Rhode Island family and found it very hard and it very unfinished.

This year, I did a "Go-Over" on the closest maternal five generations and started my personal history after finding my own "papers" in a plastic bag stored completely the wrong box. At least they survived the move from Cranston, RI to Bridgewater, MA to here five years ago. "Close to Home" applies to my personal history too.

In 2014, my last surviving aunt passed away at 97. She was the "photo journalist" of my family. I just inherited the photos that belonged to her husband's side of the family. She was married to my father's brother after my own birth. She was my cousin on my maternal side. Double family!

As an only child, I have always felt alone in my quest and when I received these photos, I realized I was wrong. It really knocked me over and I stopped working and called my cousin. 

That "defining moment" made me realize that I need to incorporate the information about my paternal aunts and uncles and my maternal uncle. My maternal uncle died when I was a baby. I have struggled with his story but a mystery has been solved.

Since this is Women's History month, I am going to start with my father's sisters. First up, my aunt Ada. This photo is of her children and they are my only first cousins. They are my link to the past. 

This kind of portrait photo was common in the late 1940s. They are so cute that it is hard to remember they are in their seventies today.