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 ( : 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
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...

Friday, April 28, 2017

Go-Over What You Know

Crompton Binder with Ellis Island Passenger Record
Photo by Midge Frazel, 2017. 

Go-Over What You Know
I staged this photo this morning to motivate me to work on this binder today, so that my research will be kept in order. Staying focused is my goal, no matter what this next week brings. As the weather improves, it will get harder to stay put it my office and get this project to a certain point.

Yesterday, I pulled out some worksheets and some information on immigration and naturalization to make my "go-over" process move along smoothly. The article, Passenger Lists, to the left of the binder was authored by my friend, Lisa Alzo. It will help me work on the printout on the right side of the binder from the Ellis Island Web site showing my subject's passage through Ellis Island. This is an important part of the story and I want to make sure I have it analyzed correctly, as this record was found before I kept a research log. I can find no transcription of this document, so I will have to do that first. These worksheets will help me. They are sold on CD by Family Tree Magazine. Many are forms you type into and keep in your research binder or in your computer folder in PDF. I write on them, first and then type them into the form to be kept electronically. I find that I read the documents more completely with this system. Then, I shred the handwritten forms.

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2017
The "Be Brave" card by Erin Condren, who created the notebook I am keeping my ancestor profile checklists in, is in this blog post, to remind me to tell you that when you find an immigrant ancestor that CHOSE to come to America, you should remember that they left behind family and friends and all they knew before. 

Could you do that? Put yourself inside their shoes. The passage to America was listed as $50 paid for my my relative's father. I have twice that in my own wallet today.

Writing a Profile: Joy and Tears Ahead

42 Dedham Ave, Providence, Providence, RI
Photo from the collection of Hannah Tucker Champlin Broadfoot, 1954
Inherited and privately held, by the author,
Writing a Profile
Joy and Tears Ahead

In my ongoing "Close to Home" series of blog posts, I have noticed that by using the Genealogy Go-Over Method (as defined by Thomas MacEntee), I am having a great deal of success researching the people that I knew who were alive in my lifetime. When the 1950 census is released, I hope I am still able to spend hours and hours investigating ancestors and relatives because I was nearly 3 years old when the census taker came to call. 

Most people want to write an ancestor profile because they want future generations to know the person above and beyond the vital records. Photographs of the people and places they lived play a strong role in that (when possible). I am convinced even more today, that blog posts need at least one screen shot or photo clip in order to be interesting and inviting to read.

Recently, a 1st cousin once removed, who lives in England, asked me to tell him where our mutual relative lived before he came to America. It turns out that the place is within driving distance for him and he has been there and noticed signs with the relative's family surname. Immediately, after sending him the location of the birth, I became re-engaged in the quest to know more about the relative in question.

Writing a profile is like making a photo collage. It blends photos, names, places and events into one and has to be carefully crafted to engage the reader. Although the writer must have all the facts and the proof behind them, the writing of the profile must be engaging to read and not necessarily sequential.

The more you remember about a person, it can be hard to write about because it becomes about you and your memories and not about the person who is the subject. Fortunately for me I have a whole surname book devoted to this one person and his family. I pulled it out from the wall of binders and drank my daily iced coffee while looking over what I knew. Then, I spent 4 days more of research using records at places like, Ellis Island and Find My Past. As I am a Find My Past Ambassador, I knew there would be records I had not looked at before that would make writing this worthwhile for my readers. 

I hope you will enjoy following along with me as I make this Profile Collage and learn, as I have, how spending hours on just one person can ease the heartache of losing them forever. Steps in research can be boring to write about, but as I am a life-long teacher, I need for others to learn how my adventures can help others follow the steps to find their own family.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Changing My Mind: New Planner

My New Erin Condren LifePlanner Plan

2017 Erin Condren Life Planner
Last fall, I purchased a Deluxe Monthly planner from Erin Condren and I quickly learned how to use it. However, there really wasn't enough for me to write in as a daily view. So, when the offer was made to purchase a Life Planner for 50% off, I decided that it was time to buy one and salvage what I could from the old one. I uncoiled it, removed the pages I wanted to save and put them in a Erin Condren notebook. Uncoiling is tricky and it took some time to get it right but I saved most of the pages and some of the stickers.

I decided that I wanted the neutral version with a horizontal weekly layout so that there was more room for keeping track of my blogs and research. While I was waiting for it to arrive, I read in a Facebook Group  how to make a "temporary" page to clip in by using tape on the reverse side and adhering a coil clip to that. It will be my "To-Do List". I like the satisfaction of crossing off tasks completed and changing to a new page whenever I feel like it.  See the right side of this photo (above).

Another tip I gained was to put stickers on Avery Removable labels so they can be moved as the months progress. Avery 5418, 6728, 5444 will be holding my smaller stickers. (The larger ones I will sparingly use) I set the monthly page view up for this May and I love it so far. In May the 2018 planners will be released and I will be ready to order it after the initial rush of customers. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A New Wrinkle: 2 Year Blogiversary

A New Wrinkle
Two Year Blogiversary 

Keeping an Eye on my Readers, 22 April 2017

My mother used to tell me that she didn't get any wrinkles until she turned 70. Of course, that wasn't really true because we all get wrinkles before that. Exposure to sun, stress and smoking gives everyone wrinkles. As I recall, she had cataract surgery around then and because of that she could see more clearly, so she could see her face better.  She was a sun lover and she did smoke. She thought that I should do those things too because it was thought smoking could dull your appetite so you wouldn't gain unsightly fat and being a sun lover gave you a lovely tan and she thought that made her look younger. As a artist, it was all about how everything looked and since I was her creation, she should have influence over me and how I looked. 

Coincidentally, I have a new wrinkle near my eye. It hurts and I am hoping it is caused by the excessive pollen that I am allergic to. I'm keeping an eye on it by applying dry eye tears and eye cream. I will be 70 in December. 

The Wrinkle Age.

Also this week, my friend who is a recent widow came to visit. She doing OK but she is experiencing the stress of being alone. She will throw herself into her work. She is ten years younger than I am and she mentioned my age twice. It's the shock of grief. 

Genealogists are talking about how blogging is over. It's NOT. It is just that it takes a lot of time to do research, make blog posts interesting and find the time to write. I admit that this got under my skin. Maybe that is what's causing my wrinkle?

I am planning to write more this year; not less. Maybe my readers won't see it all because some of the work I do is not exciting enough to publish but that doesn't mean I'm not doing it.

When I started this blog, I had been writing my other two blogs for many years. I have "stick-to-it-iveness", says Family Tree Magazine. The day I started this blog, I did so to separate my genealogy research from my gravestone work. I am not going to tell you how many hits I have because that is not my motivation to continue writing. Posting my blog posts to Facebook and Twitter is part of my job and increases my traffic because not all blog post are read via RSS in a aggregate blog reader like Feedly.

I write because I have something to say, something to share, something to keep me connected to life.  

I celebrate this blogiversary even more because of my planning method and my journaling, which is working for me. I'm keeping an eye on what people say but I am not focusing on the wrinkles.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Blogging in the Past, Present and Future

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2017

Blogging in the Past, Present and Future 

With an iced coffee in hand, I thought today about my past, present and future as a genealogy blogger. I decided to begin by creating a new logo for this blog, by using some stickers I have been using to motivate me in my Erin Condren Planner. As I am forgoing attendance at the 2017 NERGC conference, held next week, I reviewed my commitment to blogging about the work I have been doing in genealogy research. In the past, I wrote about my adventures in gravestone hunting in Granite-in-My-Blood, in the present, I am writing about planning and bullet journaling, and in the future, I strive to write about my personal family research and the ancestor profiles I am working on. 

I hope you have been enjoying my writing and my photographs. Some blogs have returned to being just text narratives and links for easy mobile blogging but I feel that the photos and screenshots are important too. Hoping that you stick with me as I continue to research and write, please visit my blogs and share your thoughts with me.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Marched on the Alarm of the Revolution

Statue to the Men of Sudbury, photo by Midge Frazel, 11 April, 2011

My husband's ancestors lived in this part of Massachusetts, so when we moved here I went in search of the gravestones of his family. This statue overlooks a churchyard and church in Sudbury Center. The churchyard is called the Revolutionary Cemetery. It looks squashed together by the roadway and the paved parking lot. I imagine many of the graves are unmarked but it is filled with gravestones you can see.

Up on the hill where this statue was erected, there is another cemetery and only some of the gravestones are of the old style.

In nearby Southborough, there is a very old graveyard with many unmarked graves, but I was able to find Nathan Fay and his wife Lucy Beamas Fay.  Nathan was a Revolutionary soldier. Their gravestones are set close together for eternity. I have thought about this man and his wife more than my own because we are so near to where this War began.

Hubs with his ancestors, Nathan and Lucy Fay
Nathan Fay, marched on the alarm
Corporal Nathan Fay served 15 days in Capt. Elijah Bellows's Co.   and marched in the Lexington Alarm. Nathan and Lucy had a dozen children.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Working On: Robert Williams of Roxbury, Tree of Midge Frazel, 2017
(larger view)

Working On: Robert Williams of Roxbury, MA

I find it a daunting task to work on my earliest New England Ancestors. I decided that I would spend some time working on Robert Williams (1607-1694) of Roxbury, MA to see if I could do a better job than 10 years ago with finding sources instead of relying on Wheeler's History of Stonington, CT for information.

Because this is NOT a Williams family which includes Roger Williams of Rhode Island (not my ancestor), I decided to see what the brief (4 generations) genealogy of Robert Williams of Roxbury, Massachusetts, had to say, because I think that this genealogy is the source of Wheeler's chapter on the Robert Williams family. I found the right genealogy easily at the Internet Archive and downloaded it as a PDF and compared it to the information in Wheeler's History. 

As the gravestone of Col. John Williams is one that I want to write about in my Granite-in-MY-Blood blog, I wondered if it was possible to find out where Robert Williams came from in England now that some parish records have been digitized. 

I found a baptismal record at I was very surprised and pleased. Facebook friends may also be descended from him so I thought it worth my time to look into this before I write about Col. John Williams and his wife Desire Denison who are one set of my 6th great grandparents. They are buried at Whitehall Cemetery in Mystic, CT. Their daughter, Thankful Williams, wife of Avery Denison, china is on display at the Denison Homestead.
In addition to this resource, I have Martin Hollick's expanded version of his book, New Englanders in the 1600s to use as a reference. Martin's book gives me hope that I will be able to understand my earliest ancestors who came to America. His books and his emails have been a big help to me thorough the years.

I would never have thought that I could research immigrant (New England) ancestors with any luck when I started looking for gravestones. 

Finding the baptismal record with a date of 11 Dec 1608 in St. Nicholas Parish Church in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England presented a new challenge of big able to actually read it and see that it matches the transcription provided by Ancestry. It worked!

In another one of those "not so rare genealogy date events", that is the day and month in which my only child was born in 1975.