Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ancient Little Neck Cemetery

Ancient Little Neck Cemetery in East Providence, RI

Ancient Little Neck Cemetery in Rhode Island,  11 Oct 2004
I located this cemetery by accidentally mentioning to my husband that Elizabeth Tilley, wife of John Howland is actually buried in Rhode Island. When I told him the name of the cemetery, he said, "Oh, that's on the paper route I used to have as a kid! We can go there on Columbus Day when we visit my parents." Yes, it is listed as being in Swansea, MA in some records. 

We were just learning to use the mirror to take gravestone photos and it shows in this photo as it was hard to get the angle right. It is a big (6.2 acres) cemetery and I knew to look for the Brown surname as Elizabeth's daughter married a Brown and when John Howland died, she went to live with their daughter Lydia, wife of John James Brown It took us a while to find the "Brown Path" so I didn't take any more photos. It has been 10 years and we never went back. My in-laws moved to a retirement-nursing home and sold their house and after a few years have passed away. 

Using the finding aid of the Rhode Island Historical Commission, I found out the this is EP005 and I was delighted to see a history of the cemetery and have found out there are a thousand burials. 

Proving your Mayflower ancestry is a big challenge but it taught me so many skills as a genealogist.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Heartbreak of Marble

Minister's Monument, Newman Cemetery, Rumford, RI, Sept. 2009
In the Newman Cemetery, I expected to find monuments and gravestones for the ministers of the Newman church. All four sides of this marble monument to the ministers of the church are very quickly becoming illegible. It is to the credit of the town that bronze plaques were affixed at the bottom of each side telling us what that side says. This was the side I could actually read so I decided to show it.

Another side lists all the early ministers. Without the plaque I would not have been able to read each name.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: Little Dutch Girl

Little Dutch girl from Germany,
 belonged to my mother, Dorothy F. Stewart Broadfoot
This cute little figurine belonged to my mother. At one time, it was in her dollhouse, which one of her grandfathers, both who were carpenters, made for her. One day, it disappeared from my room at my grandparents home in Cranston and because it belonged to my mother, she made the decision to donate it to a children's ward. I only know this because I asked her, before she passed away, why it wasn't saved for me to pass on?

She replied that she didn't have room to store it in our small house in "The Plat" but she did save some of the furniture in the dollhouse. I put those in my daughter's dollhouse and she recently sold them. The only things I didn't give to my daughter, I carefully packed away. Today, those items live in my mother's "perfume" shelf. I think they would make excellent Sentimental Sunday posts.

I don't think she's valuable. She has a stamp on her that says Germany.

When I married hubs, his father told me they were of Dutch descent. It wasn't for several years that I decided to investigate his surname. It was German! (Frazel, Frauzel, Frossel)

To his dying day, my father-in-law insisted that Germany was not right. What can you do about false family tales! Oh, well.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Dr. Darius CARPENTER, photo by Midge Frazel
How could you not photograph such an interesting gravestone with so much information on it? I couldn't resist. 

The page for it at Find a Grave is just as exceptionally fine. Take a look.

By the way, the graves behind it are surname IDE. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: David CARPENTER

Photo of David Carpenter's stone by Midge Frazel, 2011
Newman Cemetery, Rumford, RI

Footstone or Headstone?

It is hard to define gravestones into just three categories as fieldstones, headstones/footstones and monuments. When I looked at this marker and decided to photograph it, I could see that by its placement in the cemetery, that the surrounding stones were of the surname CARPENTER and many were initialed fieldstones. 

You can see that this says: David C. Ag 26Y/Dy 26 IVLY1701 [Translated David (Carpenter) age 26 years/ died 26 July 1701.]

The month of July is written with the capital I for the J. I have seen this on other gravestones in Rhode Island.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: Following the Lily of the Valley

Photo of backyard by Dorothy Broadfoot, Spring 1966

Sentimental Sunday: Following the Lily of the Valley

As a follow-up to my Sentimental Sunday post of last week (thanks to everyone who commented), I went looking for a photo that would show the plants in my parent's back yard. My dad called this area "the deep, dark woods". I didn't understand that this was supposed to be funny until I grew up. 

This very blurry photo with a developing date of May 1966 tells me that my mother was already losing her ability to take good photographs. (I am a college student as of this date.) 

The focus of this photo is supposed to be the flower garden around the bird bath. In the very back of the photo you can just see the outline of the fence that sets the property off from the land owned by the State of Rhode Island.

In earlier photos, the fence isn't there. It was erected because the "escapees" from the mental hospital section of the correctional facility at Howard (as it was called then) wandered away from the section that they were supposed to be farming. They were looking for food, cigarettes and liquor. The housewives, who were home in the daytime, called the police to come take the wanderers back to the buildings where they lived. 

Mental health is still a problem in families. My family had its share, did yours? 

Lily of the Valley for remembrance of my father, whose birth date of 21 July 1917 is memorialized tomorrow. He was only 17 when he came home from high school and found his father dead in the kitchen. 

Westerly, RI Vital Record book, 1937

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Just call me Mary

Gravestone of Mary Carpenter, died 28 Jan 1734-5 in Rehoboth, MA
Newman Cemetery, photo by Midge Frazel, 2011
The "Rehoboth" Carpenter family found at (love the author's photo!)

Mary's name is listed with her husband Abishai Carpenter (#270) on page 80 as Wilkinson as shown below:
Jonathan, Samuel, William Carpenter)

It took me a while to find the Vital records of Rehoboth (at and much to my amusement, the index was compiled by James Arnold (of the Rhode Island vital records). Notice that the title doesn't say Massachusetts.

On page 401, I finally found the marriage with her maiden name of Wilkinson. (with husband as Abisha)

This goes to show that where two states overlap in history, you must spend twice as much time searching for the right record. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Over State Lines

Photo by Midge Frazel, 26 Sept 2009, Newman Cemetery

Lived, died and buried in Massachusetts
Now it's Rhode Island!

The Newman Congregational Church, in Rumford, (East Providence), Rhode Island is surrounded by cemeteries. When many of the people were buried in the Newman Cemetery, the land belonged to Massachusetts but now it is land that belongs to Rhode Island. (A good explanation of which areas were once Massachusetts and are now Rhode Island is here.) 

The Newman (EP003 Cemetery) and the Hunt (EP008) cemetery share the same land with no line of demarcation between them.

If it wasn't for my friend Charlie Carpenter, I would not know that William Carpenter is buried here, his grave marked by a fieldstone (WC).  Additional post here.

Randy Seaver (the famous Geneablogger) and I are both descended from William Carpenter and Randy is descended from Edmund Rice who is my husband's ancestor. It makes me sort of famous, doesn't it?

According to the Rhode Island Historic Cemetery Commission, there are 75 fieldstones in the combined cemetery. It looked like more but many do have some sort of marking on them. I hope in September to return to this cemetery and take some additional photos. The Rhode Island Genealogical Society meets in the church that month. 
Some of the gravestones that I took in 2009 are very interesting. Let's take a look at them in the next few posts.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Highly Caffeinated Genealogist: Identify Yourself

Highly Caffeinated Genealogist Rant Photo by Midge Frazel, 2014


People who ask me a question about an ancestor, a gravestone or family history information that is in my public family tree at or in my blog really need to identify themselves. I try to help people as much as I can but it is getting harder not easier.

Not telling me who you are (just your first name is appropriate) and not giving me an email address to contact you is on my list of things to rant about. It you are someone I know, just signing your name is fine. I might not know the answer but I keep list of people who know about certain New England surnames.

I am suggesting to all of you who read blogs or "comment" on trees that genealogists may not respond to unidentified readers. I just deleted a couple comments on my blog. They might have been SPAM.

While I was on my blog vacation this week, I had a man contact me about a possible ancestor. When I didn't call him back that day, he finally sent me an email. I looked up what he wanted to know and his ancestor turned out to be from a country in which none of my family has an ancestor. My blog is about New England gravestones and families. I think that is obvious.

I declined to call him back after giving him that information. That was the polite way to deal with it. I could have said, "I charge a fee of $$$". 

This is why I only took clients for a little while. People expected me to do it for free.

I need another cup of coffee....

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: Heritage Garden

Heritage Garden, photo by Midge Frazel, 2014
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, then, my uncle got married and moved out and my father moved to Providence and then 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. They are just now beginning to grow and take hold. 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.

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