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.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dealing with DNA

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2017
Dealing with DNA

Recently, I tested with 23andMe and discovered some things I didn't know about myself and one major thing that I suspected but was not sure about.

When my daughter was pregnant with her first child, I encouraged her to take the genetic testing because you can never know enough about your own health or your future health. It is a good thing she did because the doctor immediately sent my son-in-law to be tested too. After our initial panic that everything was going to be fine, I sat down with my family health information, talked to my own doctor and decided to find out who was the carrier for the disease. 

I think now that I have been tested, it was as I suspected, I carry the "bad gene" and it might be the reason why I have such health issues. My family is the carrier of cystic fibrosis. I have a variant detected in my report.

I repeat. I do not have cystic fibrosis. I just carry the variant. This is the page suggested to be read by 23andMe. Cystic Fibrosis

At the same time, I discovered that the child that my maternal great aunt (supposedly) gave birth to might be one of my matches in my DNA at AncestryDNA.

This morning, I pulled out the book that came with my first version of genealogy software for Windows and went back to reading how to chart out any medical pedigree chart.

In the meantime, I continue to review what I know about my great aunt... 


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.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Struck by a Car

Newspapers Tell the Story

Struck by a Car This Day in 1920

Younger brother to my great grandfather, Howard R. Barber was struck by a car and he must have died from his injuries on 23 Sept 1920. His wife, Jennie's maiden name is unknown and no stone marks their burial in Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut. They had no children. 

It is amazing to see this entry of August 21, 1920 which I found on August 21, 2017.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Another Account of Grandmother's Wedding


Morning Wedding at Westerly
This week, I spent some quality time researching the Connecticut Newspaper Holdings of the Norwich Bulletin to add some interesting events and date to the stories of my ancestors. I was surprised to find ANOTHER account of my maternal grandparent's wedding in Westerly, Rhode Island. This makes three accounts of the same event. None are exactly the same. (Link to the other two)

This one reports that there was a wedding breakfast at the home of the bride's parents (My great grandparents) and that they left on the 11:50 east bound (instead of noon) train for a short wedding trip.

There were no photographs of the event but I do have her portrait photo taken when she graduated from high school two years before.

"...Bride is one of the most attractive and lovable young ladies in Westerly..."

Portrait of Hannah Josephine Barber, 1912
Taken the year she graduated from Westerly High School

Friday, August 18, 2017

Crossing the Pawcatuck River

Present Day Clip from Google Maps of the area between Rhode Island and Connecticut, 2017

Crossing the Pawcatuck River
When your family lives in a small geographic area that encompasses two states, you learn very quickly the value of knowing your geography. The states of Rhode Island and Connecticut come together in the middle of a river (the dotted line on this map) and that fact makes for interesting and complicated searching. That's why I needed two very smart ladies to help me with finding out what this area holds for me in my research. 

Knowing cranky New England folks as I do, I think that no one wanted to give up valuable land near this waterway and so it was decided that they'd put the state line in the water.

My great grandparents and second great grandparents lived and worked on West Broad Street, High St. and Main St. as shown on this map. It gives me a headache. Fortunately, they put the Westerly Library nearby. I decided this week to investigate the newspaper holdings of the Library of Congress to see if any newspapers covered this area better than the ones I know about. I also have a few obituaries that I can't find out the source of. I am getting cranky about that.

I was fortunate to find that the historical issues of the Norwich Bulletin in Norwich, CT could help. I like that this site gives you a URL for the citation and it will share findings to Facebook and other social media sites. I am saving articles in PDF format to work with. The first one I looked for, found my relative mentioned in a Facebook friend's ancestor's obituary. At least I can say that I am getting my money's worth from the government.

To solve a family "story" mystery, I still need my friend and cousin, Barbara Fallon, to find out more about my great aunt's somewhat complicated life. I could have an out-of-wedlock birth that could complicate my DNA investigations. 

I became very angry at my mother when she tried to keep this from me. (I was thirty-eight) This problem wasn't even in her own generation. Time will tell if I can find out more than what I was told. Just to give you an idea of how mad she was that she told me, she purposefully destroyed some photos from an album. 

Genealogy can really get your panties in a wedge.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Plumber, Engineer, Fireman and Tinsmith

Norwich Bulletin 12 March 1917, from Chronicling America


Joseph A. Schofield (1843-1917) 

My 2nd Great Grandfather

When I used the Web Hints and TreeShare Option from RootsMagic last month, I discovered a Web Hint that looked promising for my 2nd great grandfather, Joseph Schofield. He was a veteran of the Civil War.

However, it was from My Heritage, a subscription site that I do not have a subscription for. Right away, I noticed that the reference indicated was from Chronicling America newspaper collection which is held at the Library of Congress and free to use.  It took a few minutes to find it (and the death notice too) but when I did, I was thrilled to find information that I did not have. 

My family talked a lot about this man. My mother was only a few months old when he died but my mother adored his wife Sarah who didn't die until 1944.  Let's focus on what I didn't know.

He died of pneumonia.
He was a plumber.
He was a volunteer fireman of the Rhode Island Ones. (I don't know what that is...)
He died at home in a house on the corner of Beach and Elm St. (perhaps 83 Elm St.)
He was an engineer of the steam fire engine.
He was a GAR member of Hancock Post in Connecticut.
His Connecticut Regiment was called the Fighting Fifth.
Two of his family members lived in Massachusetts but they are buried in Rhode Island.

I gained information on his siblings that were still living. There were two brothers named William (one a teenage boy who died and one whose gravestone I found and I had them right. Hooray!)

I wish it had mentioned his bicycle business. He ran it with his son-in-law. His death notice was simple and to the point and was printed the next day.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Plan to Remember

Photo by Midge Frazel, privately held, 2017
ErinCondren.com Products Shown Here
Plan To Remember
(2017-2018)

For a year I have been working on a plan to manage my genealogy investigations in a new way. I am working only part-time now as I am "supposed" to be retired. I can hear my readers laughing.

In the last few years, I have learned so much about researching and citation that the Genealogy Do-Over and Genealogy Go-Over have really helped me review and manage the records that I found in past years plus keep up with my blog writing and personal writing. 

As I am a life long planner and journal writer, I needed to find a non-computer based system to help be remember where I stopped working and to plan from that point forward. Since I write mostly about my own family now, I am calling my work from this point on Plan To Remember. I am not waiting to start in 2018. The time is now.

To accomplish my writing goals, I needed a planner, a modified "bullet" style research journal with a log of my daily accomplishments and a notebook to write in. I decided on the Erin Condren Life Planner system of planners and notebooks. After a bumpy start, it is working for me. My research methods are improving and I find I can still remember what I was doing if I take a few days break.

Yes, this system is expensive and takes time to adapt to but I am trying to be patient with myself. I find that reading online how others plan is helping me decide what works for me, without self-stressing. Managing your work and life together is harder that it looks. There are a lot of distractions.

I am working with Pilot Frixion erasable pens. If I make a mistake, it is easy to erase my "messiness" and rework what I wrote. These pens are not permanent and are erased by friction and temperature, so I am thinking that typing in Scrivener will be the next step.

Erin Condren's system is attractive and allows for creativity. As I come from a family line of artists, I found out that I needed creativity to be part of my life. I think thematically as a part of project based learning. There is no one right way to do your genealogy but learning what is successful for others can help you decide what works for you.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Tom Broadfoot's Birthday Remembrance


100th Birthday Remembrance (1917-2017) 


My father, Thomas Harcomb Broadfoot
(21 July 1917 to 12 Sept 1998)


Devoted son and brother, uncle to my cousins, great athlete, first in his family to graduate from high school, hard worker, outstanding husband, father and grandfather. Fought bravely in World War II and succumbed to lung cancer peacefully in his easy chair at home. A life well lived. We put a flag out for you every Memorial Day, July 4th and Veteran's Day so that we never forget and always miss you. Happy Birthday.


Favorite photos of Tom, 2017

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Finding Grandfather's High School Graduation

Masthead of The Westerly Sun newspaper courtesy of the Westerly Public Library, 11 July 2017
Cost of the paper on this day was one cent.

Finding Grandfather's High School Graduation:
A One Cent Solution

For many months now, I have been trying to find out where and when my maternal grandfather went to high school. Since, the area in which the family lived encompassed both the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut, I knew it might be a challenge and I was going to need the help of my genealogy friends who live and work in the Westerly (RI) and Pawcatuck (CT) geographic location. In the middle of this investigation, a family historian found my Ancestry.com public tree and a mention of her grandfather's name on one of my family photographs! 

The newspaper articles for my grandparent's wedding hinted that my grandfather went to a public high school. His father went to private high schools, one in Rhode Island and one in Connecticut, so I could not be sure that my great grandfather didn't want for his only living son, the same type of experience and that we might never find out.

My grandmother told me that she met her husband in Peters Brothers Ice Cream Shop in Westerly, Rhode Island where she worked after high school. He waited until she was off and walked her home. I didn't think of it at the time but it meant that they both lived in Rhode Island in 1912.
Grandfather Evans was seven years old than his wife. That's a lot of time at the age that they were. Grandmother told me that he had been working for his father for a number of years. They married in 1914, so my grandmother was two years out of high school. She worked, standing on her feet all of that time, "wearing ill fitting shoes".  Her feet always hurt and she lived to be 98 years old. 

Cousin and genealogist, Barbara Fallon, loves a mystery and since she is retired and volunteers in the Westerly Public Library, took on the mystery of my grandfather's high school and found his name in the Pawcatuck High School graduating class of 1905.  The Westerly Sun published the high school graduation article in the Sunday evening edition of June 11, 1905. She took screen shots of the article with her iPad and sent it to me in sections and asked the library to print out and save in .JPG format from the microfilm so I could see all that was mentioned.  I gained a lot of information from this one source and would not have found out any of this if it wasn't for her expert help. (More to follow...)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wedding Newspaper Announcements

Previous Posts
Weather for a Wedding
Grandparent's Marriage Certificate
Grandmother's Wedding Ring


Newspaper Accounts of the Wedding

The Day (28 Jan 1914) and The Westerly Sun, Westerly, RI (28 January 1914)



Some time ago, I decided to search the Google News Archive for newspaper accounts of my family since GenealogyBank searches yields little information because Rhode Island is a state dominated by the Providence Journal and they are no longer a Rhode Island based company. 

Much to my delight, my grandparent's wedding was covered in the New London, CT based newspaper called, "The Day". My great grandfather, Charles E. Stewart was a prominent businessman having a growing and thriving laundry and dry cleaning business that was based both in Rhode Island and Connecticut in 1914. My grandfather went into business with his father and his brother, and being ambitious, he grew the business by expanding into big city of Providence. 

At the time of their marriage, by using city directories and the federal census, I knew where both sets of my maternal great grandparents lived. That's very important to the story of my grandparent's wedding.

My grandmother graduated from Westerly High School in 1912 and went to work in downtown Westerly, where she met my grandfather. I enjoyed reading that she had "many friends". It also confirmed that her sister was bridesmaid and my grandfather's brother was groomsman and that the wedding was a "simple affair", as I was told. I didn't know they left for a "honeymoon" to Boston after the service.

When Barbara Fallon found the article that is slanted to the bride in her hometown, it gives me the time of the service as 11 o'clock, which means if they ate, it was probably a wedding breakfast. From my research, I knew the location of my great grandparent's houses and this is another confirmation of a non-census year location.

Now, we see they left on the noon train to Boston from Westerly. It also eludes to my grandmother being popular with young people. She worked in Peters Bros Ice Cream Shop which was on Main St. in Westerly  Wouldn't that make you popular? My grandmother wouldn't eat anything but chocolate ice cream.

The Westerly Sun announcement also confirms that at that time, the Westerly laundry was on the West Side near the Connecticut line. More data for my family business timeline.

I was always impressed that my grandmother was only twenty years old when she married and my grandfather, an established businessman, was seven years older. 

They lived with my grandfather's parents in Westerly according to the 1915 Rhode Island census. 

Rev. William F. Williams lived on Elm St. and was an Episcopalian minister. (1920 federal census)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Weather for a Wedding

The New London Day (CT), January 26, 1914, Google News Archive.
The Westerly Sun, (RI), obtained by Barbara Fallon, June, 2017

The Weather and the Wedding

I didn't enjoy a lot of the wedding planning for my own wedding. I wanted it small and simple. My mother had other ideas, and they were big fancy ideas that my father didn't want to pay for. I considered eloping. When I complained to my grandmother, she laughed and told me weddings were much simpler in the past. "Weddings are for the bride and groom to remember and not for anyone else."  What do you think?

She told me she and grandpa, put on their best clothes, took her sister and his brother went to the church rectory, got married and had something to eat together. She didn't remember what she wore and no one took a photograph. "It was a foggy day.", she recalled.

A few years later, I used a date calculator at work to figure out my grandparents wedding was a Tuesday. I was surprised. I called her on the phone.

Grandmother told me that ministers did not marry people on weekends as they were too busy with church services on weekend days. Another generation later, my parents were married on a Sunday afternoon. I was married on a Saturday and it was hard to find a location for the reception that didn't involve a big expensive meal. If it wasn't for the photographs, I wouldn't remember what was served.

Trying to prove the possible weather, was easier than I thought. I went back a day for the newspaper, "The Day" and learned it was "Unsettled".   Barbara Fallon looked in the Westerly Library archive and discovered the same forecast. At least it wasn't snowy and cold.

The newspaper announcements were similar but not exactly the same. The perspective from each account was slanted to the family of the bride in her state and the groom in his. That's the next piece of evidence to be analyzed.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Grandparent's Marriage Certificate


Grandparent's Marriage Certificate 

Evans and H. Josephine (Barber) Stewart Marriage Certificate, 2004, privately held
link to larger version
Along the road to becoming a professional genealogist, I was given the wonderful advice to send for as many certified copies of the vital records of birth, marriage and death as they are proof for joining many lineage societies and to have authentic records. I made a list of the ones I needed to send for, read the directions at the state and town level and sent my requests for certified copies. 

For purposes of this blog post, I blurred the name of the town clerk certifying the record.

When I received this one from the town of Westerly, I was disappointed by the lack of information provided. Although it gives the full name of the bride and groom and the place of marriage, I knew it could not be all of the information. The book and page number were given. 

Barbara Fallon, genealogist who lives in Westerly, who is a distant cousin, offered to stop by the town hall and look at the record. Fortunately for me, she was well known to them and they allowed her to copy down the information and she emailed me (the screen shot on the right) what she learned. 

You can't beat this kind of service. 

All of the information was correct as far as I knew from my oral family interviews, the Family Bible and the inscription in my grandmother's ring

But, the town clerk should have entered the additional information on the certificate or in a letter to me for the fee I paid. Luckily, I have never had this questioned when I needed this certificate but I have included the additional information on my applications.

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. 

Update! I found the inventory card of my grandparents belongings. The ring cost $5.00. 
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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Crompton Family in 1911


James William Crompton
1911 Census

Find My Past, 2017 (used with permission as an Ambassador)

This is the only UK census that lists my Uncle Jack's whole family living in Kearsley, England.

It is learned from this census record that his parents had two children that did not live.  Census lists "born alive" as a choice, eliminating children stillborn. Family has 5 living children. Where they fit in the birth order of this family can't be determined without oral history which I don't have.

James is 44 and Rebecca is 45 and they live at 14 Victoria Lane having moved from 3 Tasker's Lane as listed in the 1901 UK census. From my research on the coal mining industry in this area, that street was where the coal miner's lived because people either worked in the coal mining industry or in the textile mills. It is easy to forget that they walked to work.

Jack's oldest sibling Fred is an adult as he is 17 and employed as a Cotton Peicer/Piecer. 

This investigation now involves the Coal Mining Industry and to help me with that I first had to find out about Mining Occupations.

Mining is dirty, dangerous hard work. In an earlier post, I mentioned that Uncle Jack's father was missing a finger and that's how I was sure of a passenger list? 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

School Days at Kearsley Moor School

Uncle Jack's School Records|
The Crown Register

While searching for information about my late Uncle Jack's baptism, I was stunned to see his school enrollment records in a database called "National School Admission Registers & Log-books, 1870-1914 Transcription" at Find My Past. (As a Find My Past Ambassador, I like to report on interesting records I find there.) 

This is the title page of the 1893 book of school records. Since Jack was not born until 1902, I took a closer look at this record. Notice it says, "infant department". 
Find My Past, 2017
(original image I downloaded)
(record page I downloaded
This is a crop of the record page: It lists Jack correctly as John Crompton, with a student number of 880, with a registration date of 5/6/05 (which is June 5, 1905), and his birth date as 8/7/02 (which is correct as July 8, 1902). This indicates that he was registered for school when he was only 3. The full name of the school is Kearsley Moor Church of England School. If he had not been baptized in the Church of England, then there would have been an exemption checked for the religious classes taught with the academic subjects.


The 1940 US Federal Census reported that Jack went to school through the 8th grade, indicating that he was about 13 or 14 years old when he left school and probably went to work before coming to America.

The next record I located was one whose book cover (shown here) says "school register" and is for admissions, progresses and withdrawal.
Find My Past, 2017
Find My Past, 2017
(Full image posted here)

Most of the students listed are withdrawing from school and going to work. Jack is listed as student #793, with his father's name as James William, 25/7/10 (July 25, 1910) as "date of admission or re-admission", with the correct birth date. 

The 1911 English census doesn't say he is at work like his older brother. I am assuming he was still a student as of 1911. In 1911. Jack is 9 years old. 

St. Stephen's Kearsley Moor School Today

I am going to continue to try to find a record that indicates he withdraws from school. At age 19, he is traveling to Ellis Island.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Uncle Jack's Family


Uncle Jack's Family in England

In 1901, the year before Jack was born, the population of Kearsley, England was 9,218 people. His parents, having been married in 1893, already had two children when Jack was born on July 8, 1902.  British History Online was a big help with understanding the place names and what places used to be called.

Kearsley's description is important to knowing about a family and helps to understand why people came to America.

"The township is a busy industrial place. There are collieries, iron foundries, paper mills, powerloom mills, spindle works, and chemical works;  bricks and tiles are made and cotton-spinning carried on." Except for mining (collieries), most of these occupations were common in New England. 

Of all of the children of James William Crompton and his wife Rebecca, only their daughter, Doris, married and remained in England all of her life. All of the sons came to America. Uncle Jack was only 19 when he traveled through Ellis Island with his father.


Fred (1893-1952), Doris (1899-1974), John (Jack) (1902-1985), Frank Crompton (1904-1988) and Harry (1906-1965)

When my father talked about Uncle Jack, he always said that Uncle Jack was more like a father to him than his own father. To a genealogist, that tells me a lot about what my father thought about his brother-in-law. He told me he met Uncle Jack's father and mother and James William Crompton was missing a finger. That small fact helped me to identify the right record in the Ellis Island passenger lists.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Marriage of Uncle Jack's Parents

Ancestry.com. Manchester, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

James William Crompton
 and Rebecca Wolstenholme Marriage
I learned about Uncle Jack's parents in my oral interview and I was delighted to see their marriage at Ancestry.com. I had learned to read English marriage records while working on my own ancestors and I find the marriage and banns records from the Church of England to be wonderfully complete.  Parish names change over time as in 1893, Ringley was in the parish of Prestwich in Lancashire county. 

Original record replicas like this one, contain the signatures of those who married, the witness signatures and the clergy that married them. Notice that everyone can write their own name since no X in the signature line appears. 

The charming terms bachelor and spinster tell me that neither person has been married before. The bride and groom's fathers are recorded (with their occupations) and the occupation of the groom and sometimes the bride are listed. 

The record indicates that it was "after banns", so everyone had time to be assured that no one would come forward to dispute that neither was married to someone else at that time. Read aloud at church service, mostly on consecutive Sundays, they are carefully recorded as in this document. 


Banns listed with dates from Ancestry,.com
I have learned over time, to examine closely the names of the witnesses because oftentimes, they are family members and delightfully further research tells me Harriet was Rebecca's sister and Edwin was James's brother. 

Married on the 2nd of January in 1893, James was born 10 Feb 1867 in Whitefield and Rebecca was born 27 July 1866 in Ringley. Most brides chose to be married in their home area and that seems to be the case because the place they were married is Ringley Chapel in the Church of St. Saviour. 

We are so lucky to be able to see online information about this place of worship. If I wanted to visit there, this would tell me the location and the church history. If the handwriting wasn't clear, then, the names of the places may be easier to trace. The web site lists the marriage and banns and who read them and a transcription of the records.

From this transcription, I can see that the place Rebecca was living is called Outwood which I was unsure of while making my own transcription. Outwood is a hamlet.



"RINGLEY, a chapelry, chiefly in the parish of Prestwich, partly in the union of Bolton and partly in that of Bury, hundred of Salford, S. division of Lancashire, 4 miles (S. E.) from Bolton." (Source: Family Search)

Research and recording of these records took over a week but was a rewarding adventure. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Blog Stats


I write three blogs. People are reading them. 

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The Highly Caffeinated Genealogist Today's Stats
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Monday, May 1, 2017

Oral History Interviews


Oral History Interviews
1969-1971

Screen shot of scan of handwritten interviews by Midge Frazel, 2017
When I was in my twenties, I decided that it was time for me to interview my paternal family since my father and I had been working on designing a family tree. My soon to be father-in-law, an engineer, gave me a few pieces of huge blueprint paper and keeping that in reserve, Dad and I wrote down just names, dates and relationships of what we knew. 

Cousins from California came one summer and after Aunt Annie fed them, I put them to work adding names and handing out self addressed envelopes. They were happy to help and they still help me today, only through email and via Facebook. Now that those people who came are gone from this earth and the next generations have taken over, three have tested their atDNA and and they match. (Phew!)

One Thanksgiving afternoon, probably in 1970, I brought over a hand designed family group sheet, pens/pencils, and erasers and asked the women to fill in the blanks. It went well. My favorite moment was when I asked Aunt Annie to fill out hers and Uncle Jack's. She did hers and my grandparents and I passed that page around to my father, my aunt and my uncle to read and they discussed my paternal grandparents for a few minutes. 

My paternal grandfather was an alcoholic and committed suicide and I didn't know that then. It explains their sadness and their quiet moments that day.

Aunt Annie filled out her own and they turned it over to fill out Uncle Jack's. She got stuck and my dad went in the kitchen to get him. He sat down and spelled the maiden name of his mother and the place name where he was born and then filled out the paper himself. That is important as I now have his handwriting sample.

Everyone was riveted. I looked at their faces and that of my father and we could tell that they did not know much about Uncle Jack and where he came from. My father told me on the way home that Jack's parents came for a visit and that Jack's father was missing a finger. 

If you are a genealogist reading this then you know that that is how I was sure I found them at Ellis Island. More about that later.

This may be a pivotal date in my life as a genealogist. I am going to go through my calendars and look for a note that we went there after Thanksgiving at my maternal grandmother's apartment.

I could have asked more but dessert was ready and you know how much everyone wanted dessert.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

St. John the Evangelist Baptism

St. John the Evangelist Baptism

Our earliest vital records are not something we usually remember and we only discover the originals if our parents kept them for us. Genealogists locate and pay for having copies of original records as they are the best proof.

As Uncle Jack came to America when he was a teenager, I am sure he did not think he would need his baptismal record. 

John Crompton was always called Jack by his wife and friends. I easily found his baptismal index (this is not a record but an index to the church records) I checked every database I subscribe to and only found the index at FamilySearch and at Ancestry. I was hoping to find the actual record at Find MY Past but it does not seem to be there. I will continue to look. I almost forgot that uncle Jack's name was John even though his name is written there in my tree. 


"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N1SM-QF2 : 6 December 2014), John Crompton, 23 Jul 1902; citing Deane, Lancashire, England, reference item 4 p 62; FHL microfilm 1,538,439.

Ancestry Index
As you can see Jack was baptized on 23 July 1902 when he was 15 days old. The Anglican or Episcopal Church practices infant baptism. St. John the Evangelist  is a "Church of England" church which is near Kearsley. The church records do hint that there would be more information on the actual certificate.  Since this transcription gives us the name of the location of where they lived, the father's occupation and the name of who baptized him (who was not the vicar: 1900-1912 Robert Whittaker Gordon)



It is important to read the history of an area while looking for records. History

Jack Crompton: Twice Blessed

Still from my parent's home movies, undated, but before 1957
Person in the movie in this segment died that year.
Privately held by the author

John Crompton
1902-1985
I am twice blessed to have this man in my life. He's not my ancestor, because he was my uncle. He's also my godfather. 

An ancestor is defined as somebody that is "directly related" in your lineage line. They are what we used to call blood relatives. Terms are helpful to place people in in charts but not in your heart. Uncle Jack was married to my father's oldest sister. Therefore, he had a life and ancestors of his own that have nothing to do with me. But, I feel like I know them after all my research. That's what counts.

A stand out memory of Uncle Jack is when we went to the Woodridge Congregational Church for what I thought was my baptism. 

The church was not even built yet, so the ceremony was to be held in the upper room in the Parish Hall. I had a new dress and my mother curled my hair. I was excited to be the person of honor. It was December 11, 1955. I was 8 years old. 

But, the adult chatter around me was about Uncle Jack and his baptism. That's right. Not about me at all. 

Uncle Jack couldn't remember if he had been baptized, so the minister baptized him first so he could be my godparent and so my aunt and uncle and mother and father could join the church. 

Some years later, I had need for my certificate of baptism and since it could not be found, I made my Dad go to the church and pay the fee for a replacement. I think now that because it was such a new church and everything was confusing, they forgot to give my parents the certificate.

Yes, I got presents. A Bible and a necklace. The necklace had a cross and when my daughter was baptized, I gave it to her.

Here's a present day photo of the church. The Parish hall is to the right. 


Woodridge Congregation Church, Cranston, RI
photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
Scan of the replacement copy of my baptism 

But, was Uncle Jack baptized as a child? Stay tuned...