pagerd: (genealogy)
I used up all my good karma yesterday. The morning started out with a thunderstorm and it rained off and on all day. Still hot, too.

I was going to take the local bus into the airport to catch the express, but it passed me. I walked back and caught the hotel shuttle instead. It rained while the bus was driving to Providence, but it was only a few drops by the time we got there. Two blocks before I got to the historical society library, the sky opened up. I was soaked. The library is well-air-conditioned to keep the documents safe so they advise everybody to bring a sweater. Mine got wet so I hung it up to dry while the rest of me was also drying.

I avoided anything paper and looked through newspaper fiche. The early 1900s Providence Journal wasn't gossipy enough to have the kinds of things I was hoping for and the one issue of a Johnston paper they had was of a socialist tract from 1898 called the Beacon. No luck.

After a few hours I was dry enough and cold enough to grab my sweater. I looked through the cemetery database for information the internet-published version doesn't have. There were a few nuggets of data, but none in the direct line.

Then I browsed through the published (both professional and amateur) family genealogies. I didn't find a Fenner match, but I did find a source for Harlan's wife's, Emma Randall, mom's last name. Then I checked in the death index, because it was an online death record that originally got me her first name, and got a different last name for the same person. And then it was closing time. I'm worse off than when I started.

I also looked through the Warwick city directories to find a listing for William, Margaret & family. No luck. (Hm.. maybe check for Margaret's parents, they were living next door in the 1900 census)

I'm going back tomorrow. I found out in the last few minutes that, even though they disallow portable scanners, they now have a camera day-pass for society members and I joined before I came.

I just checked the weather. It's supposed to be dry tomorrow, but check out what's hitting me now:

Goals for tomorrow:
Photograph the pages of the Randall book I'm interested in.
Compare the photo requests for Pocasset Cemetery to the database to find lot numbers so I can take pictures of the stones near our family plot.
The death index for Marcena Randall nee ?(Groton/Goodman) is a tertiary source, try to locate at least the secondary source to hopefully clarify.
See if there are Johnston city directories for Harlan & Simeon.
See if the 1926 paper microfiche has a clearer version of Harlan's obit.
Whatever occurs to me.
pagerd: (genealogy)
This is the house my grandfather's grandfather, Harlan, was born in.

When they built the new grammar school in the seventies, one of the proposed uses for the land that the old school was built on was a park. The park never happened; most of the building was torn down and the remnants are being used for the Gloucester Light Infantry storage. The land was originally donated by Harlan's father.

I met the woman who drew up the poster. Edna Kent is the town historian. She let me stash my stuff at her house while I hiked up the hill to take pictures.

The adults of the family that live in the house weren't home, but I talked to the daughter as she was leaving. She mentioned her grandmother, who was at home in her house next door, used to live there. I knocked, introduced myself, and asked if it was okay to take pictures of all sides of the house. She agreed and I got started. She came out to talk to me after I took one or two pictures. She told me they didn't stop calling it Page Hill until she was a little girl. Harlan's mom sold the land after the death of her husband around 1850. A Page hasn't lived there in one hundred and sixty years. I would have talked to her longer (I wish I had a tape recorder with me), but I had to catch the last bus back to Providence.

It was .61 miles one way from Edna's house on Dorr Drive according to The farm was called "Page Hill" and the house was at the top. I just googled a topographical map. Remember, the closer the lines, the steeper the hill. Page Hill is the second dot to the left of the "S" in Spring.

Edna also looked in her files after meeting me earlier in the day. (I did the trek up the hill after Town Hall closed.) She found a "provenance" of the house the current owners had done in her files. I'm returning to Chepachet (pronounced "Cha-PATCH-it") on Monday to get copies (she doesn't have a scanner, and I didn't have the wand scanner with me, so we're meeting at the library (which was closed today). She doesn't have email or a scanner of her own.

I had a REALLY good day. (Oh, I also found the probate records for Harlan's dad's death; he died intestate, so the heirs went to probate court more than usual. I have 13 pages of 1842 handwriting to decipher.)
pagerd: (genealogy)
My sister and I went to visit our great-grandparents and great-aunts and uncles today.

The cemetery they're buried in closed in 2006. Luckily for my genealogy purposes, some volunteers have been uploading the data from the records they've been able to acquire to A co-worker was having difficulty uploading a photograph, so I logged in a couple weeks ago and tested the site using a family name and one of my brick walls came tumbling down. My great-grandpa William had been entered since the last time I looked for him, as well as his wife, and four of their children.

The court has ordered visitation days (a whole four hours) every two weeks or so and the timing was such that I only had to wait a week and a half to go.

The family lot has twelve graves, eleven of which are filled. Only five had markers. Only two of those five are direct relations. I am assuming that the family couldn't afford the markers in the twenties and thirties.

It looks like six of the twelve plots were purchased by the spouse of one of my great-aunts and he allowed the burial of his wife's deceased siblings and mother at the time of his late wife's interment in the early twenties. William and another sister were added in the late thirties. Only his wife, my great-aunt, has a marker. My sister was worried about the dust's affect on my eyes after she noticed one was considerably bloodshot at breakfast (allergies, she thinks), so she did the lion's share of unearthing the marker that was covered with a five inch layer of dirt and dead weeds.

Some time after the original purchase, his wife's brother (my great-uncle) and spouse bought the other six sites. Upon his death, the lots were hers and later, her father (no marker), her second husband and she were also buried there. The most recent interment is my great-uncle's daughter's husband. The empty plot is next to his. His stone gave me enough information to be able to identify my dad's first cousin (I hadn't had her marriage data before), her two children, and six grandchildren.

We did clean up the entire lot, raking away the worst of the overgrown weeds and bagging them, and cleaning all the markers. We also cleared the weeds from some of the neighboring markers to be able to identify each of our family graves. Within our lot, the graves are aligned foot to foot, so my great-grandmother is across from her son at one end and my first cousin once-removed's late husband is across from my great-aunt at the other end. This puts the markers of the next lots over within inches of our lot's markers or where markers would be if they existed.
pagerd: (genealogy)
Finally, finally, finally made it to my parents' house to collect the family history pages of the family bible.

My dad downsized his tv/vcr setup by replacing the full-sized tvs with baby-sized monitors, so it was easy to clear the top of the hope chest enough to actually empty it. I grabbed everything: holiday cards, me and my siblings' school-made projects and photographs.

I now have a death date for my great-grandmother (dad's dad's mom), but whoever updated the page didn't know when her husband died. But it did have the dates for marriages for my great-grandparents and birth dates for all of their children. I have marriage dates and spouses for most of the children. They didn't record dad's dad's first marriage (the one that resulted in dad), but his second marriage is listed. The bible had changed hands by that time.

My dad and I paged through his scrapbook from his time in the Navy. He bought the book in Okinawa when he was stationed there. My aunt had a pandigital photolink scanner sent to me to test for her, so I was scanning pictures as he took them out and they were returned to the book right away. The scanner has a limit of four inches, so I did have to ask to borrow a few larger photographs to scan at home.

The bible dates from 1888, at least that's the marriage recorded on the MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE HEIRLOOM MEMORIAL page. It's in terrible shape. The binding is completely detached, and several signatures have dissolved threads. To preserve the family history pages, my dad removed them and put them in plastic sleeves. They are like jigsaw puzzles and a few pieces at the edges are missing. Fortunately, the only information that was lost was the final digit of a few birth years. I can and have filled in that data from other sources.

Another prize was a photograph of my dad's mother with her parents and five of her siblings. My first cousin once-removed, who acted as my dad's foster mother after my grandfather's death, had had the picture copied and she annotated the back with names, birth dates, death dates and added the names of two other siblings. One had died at eighteen months, she had "ate green grapes".

The youngest child on the far right was born in 1913, so I think the picture was taken in the early nineteen-twenties.

I started trying to organize the other contents of the hope chest and have my mom do some picture identification, but it was too hard to organize and identify at the same time.

I brought everything but the bible (about eight inches thick) and dad's scrapbook home with me.

December 2015



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