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.


Linda Stufflebean said...

My 2X great grandmother was always "Nellie F." and I have yet to find any record where her middle name is given. I also don't know if her formal given name was Ellen or Eleanor, both of which have Nellie as a nickname. There is no birth record for her, as they weren't kept in Maine in 1856. Every census calls her Nellie, as does her marriage record and death certificate. I think her actual name might have been Nellie!

L Smith said...

Ellen, Nellie, Lilly or Lillian, Eleanor are all forms of the name Helen. (There may be others.)Your ancestors formal name might have been any one of those. I wondered for years why my husband's great grandmother was Judith Helena in Catholic Church Records, but was always known to the family as Lillian. I think I searched the name Lillian on Google.