Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mind Your Own Beeswax

Mind Your Own Beeswax

Highly Caffeinated Genealogist Rant Photo by Midge Frazel, 2014

First rant from me the "Highly Caffeinated Genealogist "

Since the earliest days, Rhode Islanders ascribe to the expression, "Mind your own Business".

Teenage New Englanders used to call this "Mind your own beeswax", because well, kids, have always desired to have their own attitude and language. 
Much to my amusement, this might be a "colonial" era expression and it didn't come from us kids of the fifties and the sixties. 

Roger Williams founded Rhode Island and he set the tone for the tolerant attitude that many people in the smallest state in the Union still believe in. 

Polite and reserved, we tend to shy away from things that are unpleasant to discuss. Religiously respectful and knowledgeable about different ethnic backgrounds, Rhode Islanders tend only to get riled up over matters of politics. Then, there is a lot of yelling and sometimes more than that.

Most of the time, people who live in Rhode Island are just too busy eating, beaching and shopping to listen to matters outside the borders of Rhode Island. When you are able to drive in just a few hours over all of the whole state, you don't have time to worry about what neighboring states are doing. 

We joke that the borders of Rhode Island close at dark. (They don't?) We think things outside of our state are very far away. 

The statue of the Independent Man watches over the state capitol building of Providence. I think it is a symbol of us minding our own business. 

As a group, genealogists try to "mind our own beeswax" but that is not always possible, is it? How would we ever find out anything about the past if we weren't aggressively questioning and researching?

Why am I including this in my blog? Well, because the New England Genealogy Conference (NERGC) "sails into the future" this next April 15-19, 2015 to be held in Providence, Rhode Island.

It may be the last conference I attend and I may not be there for all of it. Providence is a big city and like others, it is crammed with people, heavy traffic and old and new buildings. I hardly recognize it anymore. Oh, and the airport is NOT in Providence. Pay attention to the directions you are given if you are traveling here.

Now, about the "minding your own business" part. Here's the thing, in the early years of our state we buried our dead in the backyard. (Even other surrounding states did the same.)

Many gravestones have been moved to bigger cemeteries. Unmarked graves are not unusual. Vital Records can be hard to come by. Each town had its own records. Read Diane's blog, One Rhode Island Family, for free Rhode Island information.

In the coming summer months, I will write about my Rhode Island ancestors and the graveyards I have visited. I hope you will enjoy my posts. 

By the way, the flavor of Rhode Island is coffee. We are highly caffeinated and proud of it. 


Dorothy Hanna said...

A great "rant", Midge. But I do agree that we who love genealogy cannot always "mind our own beeswax". If we did, how much great information might we lose?

Diane B said...

Thanks for the mention, Midge. Look forward to seeing pix from Rhode Island cemeteries you have visited.

Anonymous said...

Hi Midge, Though a West Coast native, I grew up in the late 50's and 60's saying "Mind your own bees wax" as well. I do however have R.I. ancestors. So, there is that. I look forward to reading about your R.I. grave stones and the stories behind them (and just about any other surprises you have for us).

Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana said...

Midge, I'm fascinated by your description of Rhode Island! I was so happy to have had the chance to meet Diane B at FGS 2013; 1st I'd never actually MET someone from RI and she's just fabulous and 2nd I'm a direct descendant (tho I've not done the full research myself) of Samuel Gorton. My understanding is that he was a bit of a nutball, which certainly explains a lot about me. Heh. And since my line to Gorton is through Barton/Greene, you know I've dragged my feet a bit on getting started at proving them. I read Diane's blog and can't wait to add yours to the list to see if I can find some tidbits that I'll be able to use.

Anonymous said...

Another RI'ism is " I had to drive or go ALL THE WAY to...(insert destination). If it is more than 5 miles in RI it is a long way. Had a fun discussion on FB when a Rhody classmate used that term.

Midge Frazel said...

Samuel Gorton is my 10th great grandfather. Everytime I eat fish sticks, I toast to him.

Midge Frazel said...

I still hate driving. Everything is so far away. If it takes more than 15 minutes, I get nuts.

M. Diane Rogers said...

My Rhode Island relatives probably subscribed to 'minding their own beeswax' as I haven't found out much about them. I had a great trip there some years ago though and hope to go again. (Kids far away up here in British Columbia used to say that too.)