Monday, May 21, 2018

Fredrica Denison, daughter of Rev. Frederic Denison, dies at 99

Saturday afternoon, 16 Aug 1952, The New London Day, page 10 [Google News Archive]

Fredrica Denison 
#52ancestors Post #21
Miss Fredrica Denison was a descendant of Roger Williams through her mother, Amey Randall Manton Denison.

For some time, I thought the Roger Williams line was through her father, Rev. Frederic Denison, because I didn't know how to read her baptismal record at NEHGS.

It pays to revisit past searches because there is a much better explanation of what this "text only" database represents.  It is a church member database. Adult baptism is a practice of American Baptists and occurs only when the person professes to believe in Jesus Christ without prompting  by an adult.

This is what the record looks like today and below that on the page is what the "original text" means. The B stands for baptism, and the rest is listing of her lineage. This database did confirm what my grandmother told me about her since she was alive in my lifetime.

In fact, my grandmother told me that when my grandfather went to visit Fredrica and told her I was going to be born, she insisted that I be named Frederic or Fredrica. (thank goodness they ignored that)

Fredrica is often spelled with an extra e (Frederica) and of course, the father's name could be spelled with a k.

Church Member Database:

NameFredrica DENISON
Church Member1638 - 1908
LocationProvidence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Original TextFredrica Denison Feb. 24, 1878, B Descend, of Roger Wil-liams and of Samuel Winsor. D. of Rev. Fred-eric. G. g. d. of Stephen Randall. G. dau. of Shadrach Manton.
Record TypeChurch Member
Providence, RI: Catalog of the Members of the First Baptist Church. (Online database., New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003.) Originally Published as: Historical Catalogue of the Members of the First Baptist Church in Providence, Rhode Island by Henry Melville King. Providence: F. H. Townsend, 1908.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ann Borodell Denison, dies at 97 in 1712

" Lady Ann", photograph of a photograph by Midge Frazel

Ann Borodell, 2nd wife of Capt. George Denison
#52ancestors #20
Born in Cork, Ireland to English Parents, Ann nursed Capt. George Denison when he was wounded in the Cromwell War. His first wife, Bridget Thompson died and left him a widower with two little girls. Ann and George married in Ireland and when they left for America, Ann was heavily pregnant with their first child, John who was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts on 14 July 1646. It is said that this was ten days after they arrived in America. It is a recorded birth. There were six more children born to Ann and George. 

Ann was my 8th great grandmother and her petite and perfectly readable gravestone is a stone's throw from the graves of my maternal grandparents. No one ever showed me this stone and it wasn't until I began to do gravestone work that I appreciated how special this original stone is and how beloved Ann was over the many years since she died.

Of course, she doesn't have an obituary but The Dension Society gave me an article about the miniature hand drawn portrait written by historian and descendant Grace Denison Wheeler. (The portrait is now in a safe place and no, I did not see it.)  But, it has been dated to a later period than previously thought and so is not evidence of her actual face. 

More about Ann in future posts...

Monday, May 07, 2018

Sarah Gardiner Schofield, Pie Maker

Sarah Frances (Gardiner) Schofield
widow of Joseph A. Schofield, Jr.
2nd great grandmother
#52ancestors  Blog Post #19
From the family photo collection of Midge Frazel, privately held
The Westerly, Rhode Island City directory of 1945 lists the exact death date of my 99 year old second great grandmother, who lived most of her life in Rhode Island. She is buried with her husband in River Bend Cemetery in Westerly, RI. Her daughter Nellie/Ellen's birth record lists Sarah's birth location as East Greenwich, RI where every other source lists this fact as North Kingstown, RI. 

East Greenwich, RI and North Kingstown, RI share a border. In 1850, she is listed as living with her parents and siblings in East Greenwich, RI. As a family of Baptists, her baptism at the age of 11 in the First Baptist Church of Westerly, RI,  places them living there. Her older brother, George C. was baptized in 1851 so it places this family living in Westerly, having moved from East Greenwich before 1850.

Sarah's father was a twiller in the 1850 census and I remember a spinning wheel in my great aunt's home when I was a little girl. 

Joseph and Sarah lived in the house on Elm Street, in Westerly until about 1925 as Sarah is not listed in the Rhode Island State census of 1925. The whole family moved to 160 West Broad St. in nearby Pawcatuck, CT probably in that year.

My mother told me that Sarah was sharp minded in her nineties and was making pies on Memorial Day weekend and said she felt unwell so they put her to bed. She died on Monday, 29 May 1944 having never arisen from her bed. 

I can tell you that I will not be making pies the day before I die.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Was her name Nellie or Ellen Schofield Barber?

Nellie E. Schofield 
wife of James Frederick Barber
maternal great grandmother
#52ancestors Post # 18
Privately held by Midge Frazel
photo of Nellie Schofield taken at Schofield Bros Studio
30 Main St. Westerly, Rhode Island
For many years, all I had for my grandmother's mother was a date of birth and death on the Barber family gravestone, which read 1868 to 1944. I have no idea who placed the gravestone at River Bend Cemetery but it was before my lifetime. 

This week with the help of my wonderful researcher/detective cousin, Barbara Fallon, I have the birth record of Nellie. It was not filed until 18 February of 1868 but a white, single female child born on 8 Dec 1867 to Joseph and Sarah Schofield in Westerly, Rhode Island is surely her. The heading on the vital record book (Book 2) says, "First Name, if any"so I think the record keepers may not have been concerned about first names in this place and time.

All records found to date tell me her name was Nellie with a middle initial of E. She preferred to be called Ellen and that might be her middle name. 

Nellie/Ellen was an only child and sometime in her childhood before she married J. Fred Barber, at the age of 22, she had rheumatic fever (Streptcoccus pyrogenes) and suffered with the pain and side effects of that, all her life. My grandmother who told me this said that she tended to be obese after she bore three children. Because of my grandmother's birth weight of 13 pounds, I think Nellie/Ellen may also have been diabetic. My grandmother was the middle child and Nellie's last child, my great aunt, Tattie was small and had poor hearing and eyesight.

I have several photographs of her taken when she was young and her face is so much like her father with the dark circles under the eyes (she probably had allergies). In 1935 at her mother's 90th birthday party, Nellie looks uncomfortable in an outdoor setting on Elm St. in Westerly, Rhode Island.

When Nellie's father, Joseph died in 1917,  the property became joined jointly by his wife Sarah and Nellie and the family decided to move there. When the house became too small for everyone to live together, they moved to Pawcatuck, CT. It is most likely that she died at home there on 16 Jun 1944. My grandmother called this period of time, the terrible year, because so many family members died.

The furthermost ancestor in my Scholfield/Schofield line was Arthur, spectacle maker of Saddleworth, England. He was my 6th great grandfather.

Monday, April 23, 2018

J. Fred Barber, great grandfather

James Frederick Barber
2 Apr 1866-11 Nov 1949
#52ancestors #17

undated, unsourced obituary found in my family Bible

Oldest son of James Albert Barber, Civil War Medal of Honor recipient and one of seven sons, James, was my maternal great grandfather. When I saw his photograph in my mother's wedding album, I asked my mother to tell me about him. As she talked, I began to remember him. Both my parents were there and I only remember him a tiny bit as I was one year, eleven months and seven days old when he died.

My research tells me that he loved cars and hated fishing and repaired marine equipment as well as automotive repair. He was once in business with his father-in-law, Joseph Schofield, who repaired bicycles and lived his last years, as a widower, living in Pawcatuck, CT with my great-aunt Tattie (Dorothy Palmer Barber Bliven).

I am grateful to own a photo of him in his middle years (1918) and to find his marriage record to my great grandmother, Ellen. 

Collage Photo of J. Fred and Ellen (Nellie) Schofield Barber

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Dorothy Stewart Broadfoot, mom

Dorothy Frances Stewart Broadfoot
Mom with boyfriend Bob McClosky before marriage
to my father, Thomas Broadfoot
#52ancestors #16
Two Obits sent in by funeral home, 2002
Before my mother passed away in 2002, I had moved her to a local nursing home from the Rhode Island Hospital where she was admitted for pneumonia and dementia. While she was only there a month or so, she never really recovered from the pneumonia and like many women of her age, she fell and was taken to the Brockton Hospital for treatment.

Fortunately, we had paperwork in hand that stated she did not want heroic measures taken to save her life and she had a clear, lucid moment and talked to the hospital doctor about it. They moved her from intensive care to a regular floor and she passed away soon after. I gathered a few photos from my collection to show the nursing staff and one nurse told me that was a great thing to do because they can't imagine what an elderly patient must have been like when they weren't ill and dying.

I was in the process of working with a local funeral home to be ready. I filled out a form and typed up the information they needed and cut out the resulting obituaries from The Providence Journal and the local (to me) newspaper. The one on the left is from the Brockton Enterprise and the two on the right were from the Providence Journal. Notice the typeface difference. The Providence Journal one I can match to other obituaries in my collection whether they are labeled or not.

In Rhode Island, it was still customary to print the "death notice" (in this case "deaths reported") for free and for a fee, the obituary.  I made this one page sheet for her lawyer to add to the death certificate for the probate court to declare me the executrix of her estate. When all of the paperwork passed, all her property and her bank accounts (already in my name) cleared. This enabled me to sell her home. I often tell people to gather as much evidence as possible because grief is so crippling that you can't think clearly.

Writing an obituary is harder than you think.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Tattie, maternal great aunt, queen of the pop-beads

Dorothy Palmer Barber Bliven
#52ancestors #15

Dorothy Palmer Barber Bliven was born on 7 April 1895 in New London, CT where her father, J. Fred Barber took a job as a barber (hairdresser) and moved his wife Ellen (Nellie) Schofield Barber and his other two children, H. Josephine Barber (my grandmother) and Harold Schofield Barber (my great uncle) from their native Westerly, Rhode Island where he had also been a barber.

My grandmother told me that her first memory of living in New London, was of a parade for returning soldiers from the Spanish American War. (April 1898 – August 1898) She was such a pretty brunette haired, brown eyed little girl that one man stopped and asked her father if she was Spanish! J. Fred's store was on State Street which was probably shut down for the parade. By 1900, the family returned to Westerly. 

Dorothy was petite and blond in contrast to her siblings. As the baby of the family, Dorothy was not "rough and tumble" like her brother and my tomboy grandmother. 

Dorothy was smart, outspoken and good at math, and was the scholar of the family. She lived the rest of her life in the Westerly area.  Her eyesight and hearing were poor but it didn't hold her back. For a time, she did the bookkeeping for her father's automotive business, J. Fred and Son, she also was a stenographer for the Red Cross. Always employed, she was an office manager for the Narragansett Electric. I attended her retirement party hosted by her co-workers.

She was married and divorced from Henry (Harry) Bliven, a young man from nearby Stonington, CT who was an automobile parts salesman. They had one child, Gloria Josephine Barber who died at the age of ten. 

My mother told me that her brother, Evans Stewart, Jr. couldn't say "Aunt Dot" and it came out Tat, so she was known from then on to family as "Tattie". I was also told that she had an out of wedlock child, before he married Harry, a boy, given up for adoption.

I can't prove this and had to coerce this information out of my mother. I asked my father if her knew about this but he shook his head no. He looked surprised. It is a mystery.

After selling the house she lived in, Tattie lived in two apartments before she died. Her friends, Harry and Mary helped her move and as he was an attorney, he took care of her estate. My mother, her niece, was not named in this obituary so I assume a non family member or the funeral home wrote this all too short obituary.

She always came to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with us. When we had the beach house at Bonnet Shores, she would vacation with us. When she gave up driving, my father's family would bring her from Westerly to Cranston and for that I am grateful. My husband and daughter remember her and we say out loud on her birthday, "Oh man, Oh boy it's Tattie's birthday!" as it was her favorite saying and beige was her favorite color. I remember her fondly as a fun, talkative, friendly person.

On 16 Dec 1981, she died in the Westerly Hospital at the age of 86. She is buried at River Bend Cemetery with her father, mother, brother and his wife Martha and of course, her little girl. My parents are buried in the same section along with the paternal grandparents I didn't know.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Anne Crompton, godmother and aunt

Annie Broadfoot Crompton
#52ancestors #14
Not only did I not have an obituary for my godmother and aunt, I didn't even know she died because my mother had passed away and my doctor advised that I take a vacation to relieve my anxiety. My cousin tried to call me but she only had my home phone number and I didn't even know she had called because she called me from her cell phone. If she hadn't called me back a week later, I might have tried to call the nursing home listed and found out from a stranger.

I have searched all the newspaper sites but as I knew she died in Warwick, the obit would have been placed in the Providence Journal. I was so surprised that GenealogyBank had this partial listing because I thought I had no hope of finding it.

When my father, Annie's brother died in 1998, we seated her in the front row with us. My mother and Annie sat side-by-side and it suddenly came to me that the only one of the four children of my paternal grandparents left alive was Annie and she was the oldest. I was appreciative of my now deceased cousin who put her had on my shoulder from the row behind us to let me know to turn around and see that she and the rest of my father's family was there. It was a comfort.

Monday, April 02, 2018

The Widow Bliven

The Widow Bliven
#52ancestors #13
13 May 1971 The Day
Although this person, Mildred Alice Britton Bliven is not my ancestor, she is important because she was the second wife of Harry/Henry Manuel Bliven, the husband of my late great aunt, Dorothy Palmer Barber.  

Through records, I have determined that my great aunt and Harry must have divorced sometime between 1924 and 1929 because he married this woman Mildred Alice Britton and they had their first child in August of 1930. I found that child's birth date from his obituary. I have not found the date of divorce or the second marriage date in many searches.

Mildred was from New York and Harry was a traveling salesman who sold automobile parts. My great aunt must have met him because her father was in the automotive business with his son, Harold Schofield Barber in Westerly, Rhode Island.

My late mother told me that my great aunt had an illegitimate son born to her and given up for adoption when my mother was a toddler. I can't prove that. I think maybe someday, a descendant of that son may find me through DNA, so I keep researching.

My family was not so wild about Harry. He liked fast cars and he scared my mother.  I have found that Harry may be buried in Elm Grove Cemetery because this wife is listed in this obit as buried there in 1971.

The best part about this obituary is that I did not find it by searching for it. It was on the same part as one of my Broadfoot relatives.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Necrology: Rev. Frederic Denison, 2nd great uncle

Necrology: Rev. Frederic Denison, 2nd great uncle
#52ancestors #12
presented by:

One of my most famous relatives was my 2nd great grandmother, Eliza Fish Denison Stewart's brother, Frederic Denison. Born the second child and second son, into a large family of nine children, Frederic was a prominent figure in both Connecticut and Rhode Island history. This necrology is the only obituary that I have located of him and it does contain information that I didn't know before.  This article lists all the churches he ministered at and a list of the books and articles he authored. 

It is the personal information that I couldn't prove (beyond his childhood and marriage) was quite unknown to me. 

He was born in 1819 "in the Old Denison Homestead", which was the home of John Borodell Denison and his wife Phebe Lay and that house was torn down in 1883. The family moved into a house at 6 Willow Street in Mystic in 1839. (Grace Denison Wheeler's book Old Homes in Stonington, p. 99) When he retired, he moved to Providence and rented a house at 28 South Court St. with his surviving single daughter to live a quieter life and finished his writing career.