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]

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

It's my Blogiversary!

Another Year of Blogging
Blog Began on June 6, 2006...
Happy Blogiversary to Me!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Summer is Coming

Photo by Midge Frazel, Elm Grove Cemetery, Mystic, CT, 2010

Summer is Coming...

This will be my last post for a while so that I can take most of the summer off. I WILL be continuing to blog about gravestones.

I will be blogging my gravestone photos whenever I can and not always on Tuesday anymore. 

Whitehall Cemetery in Mystic, Connecticut looks like my current choice. Ideas are always welcome!

Midge Frazel
Granite in MY Blood

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Jonathan and Esther (Denison) Wheeler

Photos by Midge Frazel, transcriptions by Fred Burdick, 2017
This morning I had a question by a new Facebook friend, about this couple who are one set of my 6th great grandparents. They are buried in the Jonathan Wheeler Cemetery in Stonington. I have visited there and have a CD of all the photos taken by Fred Burdick. The only photos that I took were of this couple. Fred's photos are VERY much better.

For some reason, Facebook won't let me post this collage. It says it is not a "picture". I suspect we are posting too many photos to Facebook and they are going to cut back. Well, that's why I blog. I am going to post this blog post and see what happens.

Fred got his transcriptions from the book Old Homes of Stonington by Grace Denison Wheeler. The cemetery section is not in all print copies. The one at Google doesn't contain that section.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Children of Elias Brown

Photos by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission

Elias Brown Esq.'s Children

Elias Brown's children, Rodger (1835-1835), William Henry Brown (1819-1838) and Charles Wolcott Brown (1828-1851) are memorialized together on one side of the monument.

On the last side are listed Joseph W. Brown (1824-1824), Mary Louisa Brown (1821-1825), Esther Brown (1831-1852) 

There was another child, Mary Elizabeth Brown, born 17 Mar 1826, who married 20 July 1859 to James E. Southworth. As she married and moved away, she is not buried here.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Enoch Brown

Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2016, used with permission

Enoch Brown

This side of the monument tells us about Enoch Brown, son of Elias Brown and Mary Louisa Burrows. Enoch was probably named for his mother's father, Enoch Burrows.

Enoch Brown was born 26 Jun 1833 and married his cousin Helen Agalice Hyde (1832-1910) 17 Sept 1862 in Princeton, NJ.

I have never seen the name Agalice prior to this monument. 

The Burrows genealogy lists Helen Agailce Hyde from her mother Lucy Ann Burrows, wife of John Hyde as (Enoch, Rev. Silas, Amos, John, John, Robert) Burrows.

Enoch and H. Agalice's unmarried daughter, A. Grace Brown is buried here (1872-1910). There was also a son, Carlton Williams Brown (1877-1943) who married a woman named Lila and is not buried here.

Also listed is Joseph W. Brown (1777-1812) who I think is the son of Elias Brown and Sebra Billings. He is not the baby son who died but this man is probably the namesake of that infant.