Monday, January 15, 2018

Just a Death Notice for Adah

Death notice for Adah Evans Stewart, 1934, probably The Providence (RI) Journal

Death Notice for Adah Evans Stewart

Glued in my Family Bible, under her husband's obituary, is this small death notice for my maternal great grandmother, Adah.  My interview with my grandmother for a college assignment states that Adah was very quiet, loved to read and was happy as a housewife.

STEWART: In this city, on June 4, Adah (Evans), wife of Charles  E. Stewart, in her 69th year. Funeral services to which relatives and friends are invited will be held at her late home, 135 Lexington Ave. Friday. Time to be announced. Burial at Mystic, Connecticut.

The Stewart home. Last place they lived.
There is no known photo of Adah. Her mother died at 20 and her father remarried and raised Adah. Evans is probably a surname from Wales. Adah was born in Adams, Massachusetts.

Ancestor #2 Adah Evans Stewart

Friday, January 12, 2018

Revisiting the Heritage Garden

Heritage Garden, photo by Midge Frazel, 2014, update 2018

Remembering Those Who Came Here
I don't really remember when my father came home from Westerly with a box of plants but it must have been on a Memorial Day when I was a young child. I am fairly sure he dug up those plants near the railroad tracks where he grew up. The tracks were down a steep embankment behind his parents house in Bradford, RI. A friend told me that her cousin told her, that my paternal grandfather used to go down to the tracks and play the bagpipes. Family history travels a winding road.

After my paternal grandparents died, and before I was born, my aunt lived with her husband, and her two brothers in the house on Bowling Lane. They had my first cousins, my uncle Bill got married (1951) and moved out but before that my father moved to Providence (abt. 1946) and married my mother. Census records and city directories confirmed what I learned from family.

Dad planted the lily of the valley in the wooded area behind our house in Cranston, RI. After we bought a house in Bridgewater, MA, Dad appeared with a box with plants in it. "Share the wealth!", he said, ever the tightwad Scotsman.

The plants flourished in our yard. He checked on them every year until he passed away in 1998. My mom lived a few more years and when she died, I went outside and checked on the plants. Selling your childhood home is hard. But, the neighborhood is strong and lives on.

When my daughter and husband bought a house, we dug some up and planted those in the wooded area behind their house.  We transplanted them again when they moved. I was worried they wouldn't survive so hubs bought established plants for our yard and this summer we added two or three dug up plants to add to ours.

Recently, I received the obituaries of my paternal grandparents. I will be writing about that soon. Life was hard for them but I am glad to know their whole story. 

So, now I have my own little garden of remembrance. Why don't you start one?

Monday, January 08, 2018

Cleansing Firm President Dies

Obituary Transcription of Charles E. Stewart,
privately held in family Bible by Midge Frazel
dated by hand, 7 Aug 1937
Cleansing Firm President Dies

Charles Edward Stewart, president of the Victor Cleansing Company, died early today at his home, 135 Lexington avenue. Mr. Stewart, who was 78, had been active in business until the time of his illness nine weeks ago.

Mr. Stewart, was born in Mystic, Conn. in 1859, a son of Dudley and Eliza (Denison) Stewart. He was educated at Suffield Academy, Suffield, Conn, and went to work in the office of the gas company at North Adams, Mass.

In 1885 he married Ada Evans of North Adams. She died in 1935.

Mr. Stewart was engaged in the laundry business in Westerly for thirty years and established there the first dry cleansing plant in Rhode Island. He opened a branch store in Providence in 1911 and moved the business to this city in 1916, establishing the present plant on Cyr street.

Mr. Stewart was a member of the Providence Rotary Club for several years. The funeral will be held here but the body of Mr. Stewart will be taken to Mystic for burial in Elm Grove Cemetery.

Providence Journal-Bulletin (probably) labeled 7 Aug 1937 (by Dorothy Stewart Broadfoot) Glued into Stewart Family Bible

Ancestor #1 Charles Edward Stewart

Friday, January 05, 2018

52 Ancestors: Start

2009 Elm Grove Cemetery, Mystic, CT.

Fifty-Two Ancestors

I have decided as part of the family history book I am writing that I will seek out and transcribe family obituaries. It is a tedious task and one that I have not been doing as I go along. It was more important for me to use the resources in my family Bible, family journals and census records in my last and ongoing project called "Close to Home". 

I have been tracking family homes, a family business and finding the gravestones for more than 15 years now, knowing I might not be physically able to do so when I retired. 

I may not follow the project guidelines (which are very good), but this Start week (January 1-7's) suggestion, included "a relative that started a business". That fits.

In this photo taken in 2009, on a hot day in Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic, CT, may not be very flattering but I am sitting on the huge gravestone of my maternal great grandparents, Charlie and Adah (Evans) Stewart. My mother called her grandparents, not by their first names but by their last. A formal, now "old fashioned" New England practice that has helped me be sure of surnames. 

Charlie (Charles Edward Stewart 1859-1937) was the closest family historian to me. He died ten years before I was born so I did not get to ask him to dinner or find out why there are no photos of his wife. His interests in life mirror my own. He and his wife had two very different sons. He finally parted ways with one son and moved his business closer to his elder son who was my grandfather. Charlie was the owner of my family Bible and kept at age 15, a newspaper scrapbook journal. I copied the pages I wanted (and the cover) with genealogical information and then donated it to the North Stonington Historial Society. 

My grandmother was his daughter-in-law and said that I was a "lot like him". So, it is fitting that this project is dedicated to him. However, I will not limit this project to my maternal ancestors, I will work on my paternal ancestors too because for a while, all of these people lived in the same town. That makes it interesting. 

As you know, obituaries have changed drastically over the years and now that the funeral homes and families write them together, that will give a different slant. I wrote obitaries for my deceased in-laws and it still cost a thousand dollars each which were paid for by their estate money. 

In high school, my English teacher taught a few weeks of journalism. I learned that the death notice, was required by law, here in New England. The obituary was optional but it was a journalist's first writing assignment. I am fortunate that my family was literate and the newpapers liked printing ones about my family.

My late aunt saved obituaries of my father's family and I inherited them. My friend and distant cousin, Barbara Fallon, volunteers in the Westerly Public Library and has been able to obtain my paternal grandparents obituaries. Those are heartbreaking and/or "sensational" news. 

The problem with newspaper obituaries is that they are seldom dated or have the name of the newspaper. Great-Grandpa Charlie's is glued into my family Bible. I can't remove it to look at the reverse side for clues. 

It must have been published in the Providence Journal (and Evening Bulletin) once a prominent and excellent newspaper in Rhode Island, published twice daily in the past. It is hard to imagine newspapers published twice a day or that postal mail was delivered twice daily. 

This building, across the street from the Rhode Island Convention Center (taken by me in 2015), no longer exists. Beware of newspapers.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Joining Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Amy Johnson Crow's Logo, All Rights Reserved
This year, I am going to add new content to this blog by following Amy's writing prompts. [Link]

I am hoping to add new information on my maternal ancestors. My maternal line is large and I wouldn't have thought I'd have new content, but I do. 

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Carved Names and Dates over Time

The Barber Monument
River Bend Cemetery, Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island

Photos by Midge Frazel, 2002-2009

My maternal great grandparents have this lovely granite monument in Lot 60 at River Bend Cemetery in Westerly, Rhode Island. As a child, I always thought it was odd that, in this huge and well tended cemetery, my maternal great grandparents chose to be buried in the same small lot at my paternal grandparents!  

As you can see, the stone is deteriorating in just the time that I have been taking photographs. I took the top two (front and back) photos on the day, we buried my mother (20 June 2002) When I revisited this lot on 6 July 2009, I took this additional photo because I realized the lettering and the numbers were blurring and I hoped that I had a clear shot from before. 

Taking cemetery photos on the day you bury a parent is risky because you don't have a clear head and there is so much to do to clean out a house and prepare to sell it that you need a good plan of photo management.



There is one more gravestone in this lot and it is of a child and now that I analyze the situation and the dates, I find that sadly, she was the first person to be buried in 1933 and then family decided to erect the stone and add names to it. I am sure my maternal grandparents arranged this and I am grateful to them for doing so.

Not too much time can pass before I must know full birth, marriage and death date for those people on the stone and for months that is exactly what I have been doing. I couldn't do it without my friend Barbara Fallon who helps me with my Westerly research. 

Find a Grave is offering some new options and so I looked up Harold S. Barber to see if he was listed there. I shared it with my tree at Ancestry and then used the "copy to clipboard" feature to see what could be done. I thought my readers might like to see what is available. 

From the "new" Find a grave", this screenshot

"Copy to Clipboard" pasted here:

Harold S Barber
Birth: 1890
Death: 1944
Burial: River Bend CemeteryWesterly, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA
Memorial #: 129033394
Family Members
Martha Blanchard Barber*                1879-1968
Created by: T.V.F.T.H. (46496806)
Added: 2 May 2014

Citation: Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 27 September 2017), memorial page for Harold S Barber (1890–1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 129033394, citing River Bend Cemetery, Westerly, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA ; Maintained by T.V.F.T.H. (contributor 46496806) .

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Writing a Family History Book

Notebooks and Journals for Writing, 2017
Genealogy friends have begun to ask me if I am giving up on blog writing. Let me assure you that I am not doing that. I am going to cut back on blog posts because, like many other genealogists, I am having trouble keeping up with new information that is coming to light and doing that little thing called having a life. 

With a big birthday fast approaching, I do think my time is well spent by writing my family history, so I am going to be writing specific blog posts in all of my blogs. I will be posting them to Facebook so that everyone can see but with changes coming on, it is easier for me to not to stick to a specific day, like Tombstone Tuesday anymore.  I am doing some of my writing longhand and then putting sections of it into Scrivener. 

Gravestones are my passion but my readership is down as so many people have taken gravestone photos for Find a Grave. People are doing a great job. They are starting to photograph newer gravestones for those who have passed away since 1940 and that is helping people find information to prepare for the 1950 census.

I am working on my maternal grandparents and their families and so in the coming weeks, I will be showing those gravestones in this blog and why you need to continue to take gravestone photos and post them online.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Is the Gravestone Wrong?

When the Vital Record Does not Match the Gravestone,
What Do You do?

Maria, wife of John Tourgee/Taugee is my problem "Brick Wall". She was only 35 when she died. There two small children buried behind her. 

My second great grandmother, Hannah Josephine Tourgee was her only living descendant. She doesn't have a gravestone. She is buried with her parents, not with her husband.

A kind relative, emailed me the scan of the marriage record. The mother's name is listed as Marion. 

John Tourgee married a second time when his wife died. Her name was Henrietta MARIE Thompson. She is buried a short distance away with her first husband, Dudley Wilcox.

You can see that this is a messy genealogy problem. I was glad the gravestone was readable and that Rev. Frederick Denison listed a transcription of the stone with his cemetery records in his book, Westerly & Its Witnesses, with her name as Maria.

Here's the record from 1977:
Marriage Record Book 2 Page 33, Westerly, RI
 Here's the Gravestone:
Photo by Midge Frazel
This week, my friend and cousin, Barbara Fallon went to the Westerly Town Hall and looked at the actual book and reported that the handwriting was "very spidery and flowery" and she could see why the town clerk couldn't read it clearly. 

But, with some effort, she could read the name Maria. 

I may never know Maria's maiden name but at least the actual handwritten record is correct.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Another Look at Stewart Hill Cemetery

Another Look at Stewart Hill Cemetery

Photo by Midge Frazel, May 2004
In 2004, I started on a mission to record the gravestones of my ancestors, which very quickly turned into a blog. At least that's how it seems now. Thanks to my parents, my grandparents and my paternal family, I had great notes on the places of rest in my family. Deciding to do this helped me deal with and grieve for the loss of family members. I recommend finding and recording gravestones to other genealogists and to regular people too.

I knew that after the River Bend Cemetery in Westerly, RI, the next visits should be to the Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic, CT. I grew up knowing where family gravestones were located.  In my maternal family, I had the Stewart Family Bible to help me with names, dates and places. 

Stewart homestead with remodel not complete
just before it was demolished, photo by the author., 2004
I queried the North Stonington Historical Society and Gladys Chase and her invaluable help, I knew where my Stewart family was buried. It became a wonderful adventure which included this small family cemetery located next to the old Stewart Family Homestead to find buried here, my 3rd great grandparents Edward Stewart and Rebecca Noyes. Nested through an overgrown path, is this stone wall with graves enclosed. The family that owns the deed was found after this cemetery appeared endangered from someone who bought the land and legally tore down the house. They never touched the cemetery, thank heavens.

My family in North Stonington, cleaned up the cemetery and repaired the stones. My friend, Brian Zoldak visited and took much better photos of the stones. The neighbor on the other side, has recently moved away but she was wonderful to keep me posted through Facebook on the progress of the land being cleared.

Now it appears that the land immediately next door to the stone wall has been cleared and sold. A distant cousin travels this way frequently and is keeping an eye on this for me. She kindly took photos and sent them to me and is allowing me to post them in my blog. The cemetery looks quite close to the house but it looks safe and protected. It certainly is easier to find. If you look for it at Find a Grave, You see this photo I took with the person's name who took it from my blog, without permission, and posted it there. 

Photo by Rachel White, July, 2017

Photo by Rachel White, July, 2017

Monday, July 03, 2017

Served in the Revolution: Peter Brown

Served in the Revolutionary War

Capt. Peter BROWN, is buried at Whitehall Cemetery #21 in Mystic, New London, CT. (Additional Research for this post from 2009)

This will be the first post of gravestones from that cemetery with an emphasis on new information.

The DAR database lists his service as follows: "Sixth Regiment, Col. Parsons, 1775, 10th Company Capt. Abel Spicer and he served from May 10 to Dec 18, 1775." He is a recognized patriot by the DAR.

Peter was born in 1753 [calculated from his gravestone date] and died 20 Oct 1802. Probably he was born and died in Groton, Connecticut. He is listed in Grace Denison Wheeler's book, "Old Home of Stonington" on page 258 but he is not listed in the BROWN family in Grace's father's book, "The History of Stonington".

He married Mary ELLIOTT or ELIOT, who married Nehemiah GALLUP (1751-1843) after Peter's death, on 17 Feb 1782. Peter and Nehemiah served together in the Revolution and perhaps they were friends. When Mary, who was also called Mercy, died, she was buried next to her first husband, Capt. Peter BROWN as is the New England custom. Mary was my 2nd cousin, 7x removed.

All that I know about Capt. Peter BROWN is that he did not hold the rank of Capt. during the years he served and so he may have been called Capt. out of respect 

I am still not sure of his parent's names although many trees list origins in Scotland. I do know that he had a daughter named Catharine/Catherine who married Jonathan DENISON [#1561 p. 54, 102 Denison Genealogy] in 1802.

This is from's List of DAR members with interesting information about his service during the Revolution.

[photo by Fred Burdick, used with permission, all rights reserved]