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.