Thursday, December 18, 2014

Everything Has a Beginning

Scottish Do-Over Collage by Midge Frazel, 18 Dec 2014
"Everything Has a Beginning" 

Recently, friend and cousin, Thomas MacEntee announced a Genealogy Do-Over Project for 2015. After admitting that I had already done a partial do-over two years ago, I began to think about what part of my genealogy needs the most work. 

The answer was amazing clear... 

Hubs and I both have ancestors from Scotland and I have spent a considerable amount of time wandering the virtual lowlands and highlands gathering records and at a considerable expense. But, are they organized? Do I understand what I've gathered? Have I written citations? The answer is not really.

So, today, I started working on this project based mini do-over of my Scottish adventures. I have gravestones, records, ancestral photos, and living cousins, but, no one who follows me would be able to understand any of it.  

This collage is to help me with where I am going, piece by piece and step-by-step. I need inspiration. so I pulled out my Scottish Proverbs book for some ideas. Crazy and often funny this book and another will put me in a good mood. 

There is one odd thing about this project. I feel most close to my Scottish ancestors in December. I call this the Auld Lang Syne effect. On New Year's Eve, before I go to bed, I do the "Out with the Old and In with the New" superstition. I open the front door and the back door to let out the old air and begin anew. You can do it too.

Citations: 
Wirth, Colin. Scottish Proverbs. Glasgow: Birlinn Limited, 2000.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Repeat Tombstone Tuesday: Where Are my Great Grandparents?

Photo by Virgil Veal, permission granted to post
The Aiken Monument
Originally uploaded by midgefrazel
Favorite Posts From the Past

I looked and looked and looked for my Aiken great-grandparents in the River Bend Cemetery in Westerly, RI 

Well, there weren't there! They are buried in Georgia of all places! In Lithonia City Cemetery in DeKalb county. They retired here sometime after the 1920 census where they were living in Westerly, Rhode Island.

David and Ann Aiken found the area, where the a kind of red granite is cut in Georgia, a lovely place to live and work. The clue that they lived in Georgia after they left Scotland was that they named a daughter Georgina.

Sometimes they went and lived in Rhode Island. But, when they retired they went back to Georgia. Without the late Virgil Veal and his wife (my cousin) Ann I would have been looking for the rest of my life and not found this family monument and their headstones.




Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Repeat Tombstone Tuesday: Richest Woman in Stonington

SHEPARD, Mary by midgefrazel
SHEPARD, Mary a photo by midgefrazel on Flickr.
Favorite Posts From the Past

If wishes were horses....

I SO want to be directly descended from Mary Shepard (1679-1761), wife of Isaac Wheeler. She was very cool and I know you want to know more about her.

Mary was the daughter and granddaughter of ministers in Lynn, MA. Right away you know there is a story here. Her father was the Rev. Jeremiah Shepard [his grave] and his wife Mary Wainwright. Mary's grandfather was the Rev. Thomas Shepard, the first pastor of Cambridge, MA and his third wife Margaret Borodell (who was the sister of my ancestor Ann Borodell, second wife of Capt. George Denison.) Got that? 

Mary married Isaac Wheeler (1676-1737). Isaac was the son of Isaac and grandson of Thomas. I am directly descended from both Isaac and his father.

Isaac inherited land from his grandfather Thomas, upon which he built a house for his bride. They were married in Stonington, CT on 12 Sept 1697 [Barbour index Stonington VR 1:185]. When they wed he brought her to his house and he commenced his life as a farmer. Obviously, Mary was not brought up to be a farmer's wife. Here's what the History of Stonington states about Mary. [p. 638]

"...But, his wife aspired to a more active business life, and to gratify her wishes he changed and enlarged his house, making it two stories on the south and one on the north, with show windows on the west, which were utilized for a variety store by Madame Wheeler, who became the leading merchant of the town, buying up all the surplus farm products of the region round about, which she sent to Boston and the West Indies for market, exchanging the same for goods necessary for the planters of the town."

She made equestrian trips to Boston ALONE, where she purchased her dry goods. She was not only the leading merchant of the town, but her mansion house was the center for all the neighborhood families. Her store was not only a place of business, but a political center, where slates were made for all the offices of the town. She became wealthy, and at her death was the richest woman of the county.

The couple only had two children. My closest relationship with this amazing woman, calculated by Ancestry.com's relationship calculator, is "2nd great grandmother of husband of 2nd great grant aunt".

Isn't this a great story? The gravestone you see here was taken with permission of the present owners of the land on which it rests by Fred Burdick. The graveyard is located in their front yard! After Mr. Burdick took the photos, they planted bushes all around the perimeter so no visitors to their house could see the graves. He took me there and asked me (from the driveway), so where are the gravestones? Seriously, I would not have know they were there.

Paul Wheeler Cemetery #40?

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Best Seat in the House

Photo by Midge Frazel, 19 Nov 2014

Celebrating my 2,000th Blog Post
(bathroom humor on my birthday)




Recently, I broke a toilet seat cover after only four years of living in our condo. Hubs bought this one which is much sturdier. I need that because I sit on the cover to apply my makeup every day. I guess the cover was not meant to be sat on. Me without makeup is horrifying!

When he came home with the box, it reminded me of a funny Thanksgiving and Christmas event in my family history. It is the same brand name as the one in my story. Church is a funny name, isn't it?


I don't know how it began, but the adults in my grandmother's family drew names after Thanksgiving dinner with the idea that they can make fun of the person whose name they drew, as long as they made a poem to go along with the gag gift.  After I went to bed on Christmas Eve, the grownups gave each other the gag gifts. 

As the only child in the family, I can only remember the laughter coming up the stairs as I was trying to get to sleep on Christmas Eve. I think of it every Christmas Eve. Laughter is important to remember.


My father drew my mother's name. He loved to write poetry so that was NOT a problem. Choosing what to make fun of WAS a problem. My mother was easily annoyed and could hold a grudge for a long time so he had to pick his battles carefully. 

One morning, right after Thanksgiving, she complained (again) about how cold the bathroom was at our house. 


My grandmother's house was heated with radiators and she turned them full blast in the bathrooms all of the time. At first, it was so hot, you couldn't breathe but you got used to it after a couple days. Over that Thanksgiving, we stayed at my grandmother's house as my dad worked near the house and my mother considered going there as her vacation from cooking and cleaning. 


I don't think my grandmother was too pleased with this arrangement. I loved going away for Christmas and Gramma loved having me to talk to. We were a lot alike.

My father went shopping and bought his gag gift which was a new toilet seat because the box said it was the "best seat in the house" (my box still says that on the back). He wrapped it and hid it at my grandmother's house on his way home from work. A sacred gift, he said because it was made by Church. Then, he would laugh.

The poem was hilarious. I wish I still had it. It made fun of my mother to a "T" with plenty of references to her unhappiness at living in a tiny house with only one bathroom. (My father grew up with a house that didn't have indoor plumbing, so he was not sympathetic! )

My mother was so delighted with an improvement to the bathroom, she paid no attention to his poem. The rest of us laughed and laughed. Every time, after installing the new seat, when she headed for the bathroom, he reminded her it was the "best seat in the house". Those funny moments warm my heart now that everyone but me is gone. 

By the way, my new toilet seat closes silently when you just give it a little close. That's good because I can hear the laughter better every day.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Be Bold; Be Wyse

Cake from the Denison-Gallup Family Reunion, 2010



Be Bold Be Wyse is the Gallup Family Motto and so I have created a page on my blog where the blog posts will be linked so future Gallup descendants can peruse them. While you are waiting, you can have a slice of cake. It will help with genealogy cravings and by the way....

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving



Happy Thanksgiving
 from all of us here at
Granite-in-MY- Blood

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Follow the Map!

Bird's Eye Map of the Gallup Burying Ground by Brian Zoldak,  2014


By clicking on the link (above) under the photo you can go to the copy (and zoom it) of this amazing birds-eye map that Brian Zoldak made for our project. Is it great? 

This is above and beyond what I expected him to do for the project. 

Because of the holidays, it is best to wait until the new year (2015) to start blogging about individual gravestones in this cemetery.  In the mean time I will post some of my favorite post from the past. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Project Based Gallup Cemetery Collaboration 2

Photo by Midge Frazel (2014)
Project Based Gallup Cemetery Collaboration
(Part 2)


I like my workspace to be neat and to have things at my fingertips. I have my own home office, but I often work in my living room or in my kitchen. 

For this project, I purchased a light flexible brightly colored three ring notebook and in it I have placed some printouts of the Hale Cemetery Index and some printouts of records about the Gallup family that I may need to refer to. The next thing I have done, is to think about how I wished I'd organized my cemetery research in the first place. Since I am not allowed to go back in time to 2006, I decided that there is no time like the present to develop a plan for this big project. 

The goal is to have a 5x8 card for each gravestone. So, I purchased both white and colored index cards. The colored ones I got at Office Max. The white ones are cheaper and can be bought at Walmart. I like the lines but the backs of all cards are un-lined.

The card file boxes come in a set of four, snap firmly shut and are available at Amazon.com for $11.99. They are lightweight. I bought tape flags, a pencil case and some heavy duty elastics. All of it fits in the yellow plastic handled basket. For now, I just need two card file boxes to work with so I put two boxes away for another project.

I am still developing what needs to be on each card but I wanted the option of adding more information as needed on a second card. I will be adding a date of the blog post and noting if this person is in my family tree. Realizing that the spouse or parents of each person may not be buried in the same cemetery, I will need a place to add that. Any ideas you have are appreciated.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Project Based Gallup Cemetery Collaboration 1

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2014
Project Based Gallup Cemetery Collaboration
(Part 1)

In my opinion, being organized is part of a genealogists job and I manage that in many ways. I promised that I would give the readers of my blog some ideas on how a group of people, who do not live near each other, can work collaboratively on a cemetery project.

The first thing we did was agree that we needed a place to work so Carmen created a private (by invitation only) Facebook group for us to share ideas and help each other with our research. We aren't excluding you as anyone can join. Just let me know if you would like an invite.

Brian volunteered to go drive to the Gallup Cemetery and take all of the photos. That's a huge job but he did it with gusto and flair. He has shared his photos with the group and I am backing them up to my person Flickr account. As you can imagine this takes time. While he was doing that, Carmen dug through her family genealogy records and loaned me a copy of the 1966 printed genealogy so that I can compare the information in all editions of these genealogies. 

Brian has developed a gravestone numbering system and has created a gravestone map of the cemetery. Soon, I will be posting this with a link so you can look at it as we go along.

We discovered that some gravestones are broken or too shady, so together we have added to our collection of photos.

I am starting an Excel spreadsheet of the basic information and I have been developing a cemetery card system. I will be taking photo of that as I go along. 

In case you don't know about project based learning in a genealogy setting, I have explained it some time ago and it is linked here.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mayflower Ancestors: Got Pilgrims?

Top of the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, MA, photo by Midge Frazel
Got Pilgrims?


At this time of year, all of us who have Mayflower Ancestors get questions about how we proved that we are related to them. It is a lot of work to do so. I learned so much about proof by researching mine. Each step of the proof from my parents back taught me how to send for vital records, how to take gravestone photos and how to stay organized.

Many New Englanders have ancestors who came over in the years after the Mayflower and it is important to remember them too! 

I gathered the basic resources into a tab on my blog called "Our Mayflower Ancestors" so I thought I'd remind you that this is there to help anyone. I have listed mine and hubs too (as we are Mayflower cousins) and below that are several good site for information on them.

I am thankful to all of those who helped me with mine.