Monday, November 28, 2016

A Happy Birthday Mirror Message (November 28, 2016)

Today is my father's 94th birthday.  He was born November 28, 1922. This coming April, my father and mother will celebrate their 66th wedding anniversary.

For many years my mother has greeted my father's birthday with a message that he will see as soon as he rises on the morning of his completion of yet another trip around the sun. When I visited them this afternoon and went into their bathroom her now traditional message was still there written in toothpaste across the mirror so he could not miss it and so it would be her first communication to him today -- it reads "HAPPY 94 BIRTHDAY."

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Photo by the author.
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Heather's Honor Roll Project (Veteran's Day 2016) -- Wallingford, Connecticut World War II Memorial: Part 1 - A through B

Wallingford, Connecticut Town Hall

Tomorrow, November 11, 2016, is Veterans Day. 

Among the Honor Roll memorials located in Wallingford, Connecticut on the grounds of the Town Hall is one for those who served (and in some cases died) in World War II. It is by far the most extensive memorial listing of veterans of war who lived in Wallingford.  The list contains hundreds of names -- in fact so many that it will take several posts to get them all transcribed and published. This post will cover all the names in alphabetical order from A through B . . . and that comprises 244 names alone.  

I know that finding a database of transcribed names is one thing for those who are searching for ancestors and relatives, but for those who cannot make a trip to see the actual memorial, a photograph of their family member's name would be a very useful gift for inclusion in family genealogies; therefore, it is my intention to take several blog posts in the future to publish the photographs from which I worked to do the name transcriptions. 

For readers who take the time to scan the names, you will probably notice that unlike memorials for earlier wars there are a significant number of women listed on this memorial. Also, apart from the sheer number of names on the World War II memorial, one will note the wonderful ethnic diversity of the names in the list. And there are a number of obvious family members listed so that it appears several possible brother, father/son, and cousin combinations are listed.

My father is listed on the World War II memorial in Wallingford since he briefly attended a year of post-high school education at Lyman Hall in Wallingford before he entered Kings Point, the United States Merchant Marine Academy.  Prior to 1957 what is the present Town Hall was the Lyman Hall High School. [1]  I previously posted a close-up of the section of names containing my father's listing here. This post will begin the transcription of the hundreds other names that are honored on the World War II memorial. The transcription posts will be submitted as part of Heather Rojo's wonderful Honor Roll project to create a searchable listing of all U.S. war veterans on memorials erected in this country. 

The World War II memorial on the grounds of the Wallingford Town Hall

The names of the men and women honored on the Wallingford World War II memorial are as follows . . .

George C. Abbott, Jr.                    Thomas Abel                    Edward J. Achino
Harold Addy                                 Leroy Addy                      Charles D. Ahearn
Donald R. Ahearn                        Eugene T. Ahearn             John R. Ahearn, Jr.
Muriel Ahearn                              William J. Ahearn             Anne Aiello
Susan Aiello                                 Antonio G. Alagna           George Alagna
Edward J. Albuquerque                Elmer Alex                        Milton Alex
Raymond E. Allain                       Roy C. Allen                     Leonard J. Altieri
Einar J. Andersen                         Robert L. Andersen           David W. Anderson
Charles Andrade                          Andrew C. Andrews          Robert C. Andrews
Edward Angelo                            Louis E. Angelo                Carolyn Anthony
Harry F. Anthony, Jr.                   Roald L. Antinolfi              Anthony J. Antonucci
William Antunes                         Clarence F. Appell              Pierre Appell
Albert Ardo                                 Bernard A. Aristosky         Benjamin Arnold
Ford W. Arp, Jr.                           Joseph J. Arujo                  George Asman
Harold J. Atkinson                       George R. Audette            Charles L. Austin
Raymond A. Austin                     Charles B. Ayers                Russell Ayers, Jr.
Thomas R. Ayers                         William Ayers                    Marino Bacci
Gordon D. Backes                       Frank S. Backsa                 James C. Baggott
John A. Bai                                  John S. Bai                        John W. Bailey, Jr.
Charles Bakanas                          Frank Bakanas                   John C. Bakanas
Joseph A. Bakos                          Joseph Baksa                     Frank R. Ball
Albert E. Ballough                      Alex L. Ballough               Joseph R. Balon
Martin Balon                               Gerald Bampton                Hugh E. Bandecchi
Louis L. Banka                            Stanley P. Banka               William W. Banka
Joseph P. Barberino                     Peter Barberino, Jr.            Stephen J. Barberino
Paul R. Barbuto                           Joseph H. Bardon              Frank M. Barker
John C. Barker                            Florence E. Barnes             Joel P. Barnes
Charles Barney                           Leonard G. Baronowski     David J. Barry
Robert Barry                               George A. Bartek               George J. Bartek
Louis R. Bartek                          William J. Bartek                Alfred O. Bartel
Raymond J. Bartel                     Chandler H. Bartholomew  Harry L. Bartholomew, Jr.
George W. Bartlett                     Clifton E. Barton                 Michael N. Basarab
Stephen Basarab                         William J. Basarab             F.O. Donald Bates
George A. Bates                          Ruben Bates                       Alex L. Bayne
Joseph Bayne                              Paul Bayne                         John C. Beadle
Clifford L. Beaudoin                  Walter E. Beaudoin            George B. Beaumont
Harvey E. Beaumont                  Arthur E. Becker                Raymond Beecroft
Richard J. Belden                       Gordon Bellafronto            Malcolm J. Bellafronto
Charles E. Bellows, Jr.               Clarence W. Bellows          Robert E. Bellows
Stanley J. Bellows                      Erwin J. Benard                  James J. Benarro
Lawrence L. Benigni                  Durwood W. Bennett          Leigh C. Bennett
Malcolm O. Bennett                   Henry E. Benoit                  Edmund E. Benway
Joseph A. Benyi                         Carmen A. Berardesco        Paul S. Berceli
Charles W. Bercier                     Romeo A. Bernaby             Leo L. Bernardoni
Walter Bernat                              Edward B. Berry                Ralph Bertini II
Robert H. Bertini                        Pasquale Bia                       Stanley G. Biega
Victor J. Biega                            Charles E. Bingham           Julius A. Biro
Frank J. Bishop                          Joseph A. Bisi                     Joseph A. Bitel
Stanley Bitel                               Frank Blachowicz              Edwin L. Blaski
Henry J. Blaski                           Robert L. Blaski                 Waldemar E. Blaski
Betty Boehm                              Marc A. Bolduc                  William R. Bolton
Joseph O. Bonelly                      Richard A. Bongoll             Joseph P. Bonocchi, Jr.
William R. Bordeleau, Jr.          Anthony M. Borges             Richard J. Borghi
Frank J. Boryszewski                Francis X. Bossily               Russell W. Bowen
Walter D. Bowen                       Harry M. Boyarski              Gilbert D. Boyd
Robert B. Boyd                         Roger W. Boyd                    Hamilton F. Boyer
James J. Boylan                         John P. Boylan                    Albert Braga
Joseph Braga                             William F. Bramlett             Salvatore S. Brancato
Donald J. Brandt                        Michael J. Brassil               George J. Brauch
Robert E. Brayshaw                   Charles A. Breck                John F. Brennan
Thomas F. Brennan                    James H. Brenton               John F. Bresnock
Charles A. Bridgett                    Frank E. Bridgett                Nicholas E. Bridgett
William E. Bridgett                    Robert E. Brinley               William R. Brinley
Robert E. Bristol                        Lawrence Broe                    Earl E. Bronsord
Alice J. Brooks                           Edward C. Brooks, Jr.        Charles A. Brosnan
John J. Brosnan III                     Robert J. Brosnan               Charles E. Brown
Edward O. Brown                      Franklin A. Brown              James A. Brown
Robert W. Brown                       Walter E. Brunetti               George F. Bruton
James J. Bruton                          Leo R. Bruton                     Alex Bryda
Albert R. Buccy                         Allen Buck                          William G. Buckley
Stanley P. Budleski                    John H. Buffum, Jr.              Jacob Bugaichuk
Henry W. Buijnarowski             James J. Buijnarowski         Vincent A. Buijnarowski
Bronislaus M. Bukowski           Charles A. Bukowski           Edward J. Bukowski
Henry R. Bukowski                   Henry S. Bukowski              John J. Bukowski
Edward M. Bullock                   Henry J. Bundock                Howard G. Bundock
Roland F. Bundock                    John D. Buongirno              Kenneth A. Buongirno
Robert A. Buongirno                 Charles A. Burghardt          George J. Burghardt
John H. Burghardt                     Robert O. Burghoff             Willard L. Burghoff
Cecil O. Burnham                     Helen Burns                         William H. Buschel
Louis Butcher                           Steven Butcher                      George Butts
Alfred Buza                              John A. Buza                         Joseph E. Buza
Raymond F. Buza

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[1]  Lyman Hall (1724 - 1790) was born in Wallingford and served as a representative to the Continental Congress from Georgia.  He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later served as a Governor of Georgia.

Photographs of the extensive list of names on the World War II memorial in Wallingford, Connecticut were provided to me for transcription by my cousin, Bruce O. Marquardt, of Wallingford.  This transcription contribution would not have been possible without Bruce's very kind and willing efforts to make sure I had legible photos from which to do the transcriptions.  THANK YOU BRUCE!
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Momentous Presidential Election of 2016 (November 9, 2016)

Since the inception of this blog almost four years ago, I have assiduously avoided turning it into anything even approaching a forum for my political beliefs. This blog is, however, a genealogy and family history forum AND it is preserved in book form for my sons, descendants, and relatives; as such it occasionally delves into matters of present concern because my involvement in present day events will unavoidably become matters of family history for my descendants. [By way of example, see my blog post about my experience of the events of 9-11 here.]

And so this brings me to the historic events of yesterday, November 8, 2016, when Donald J. Trump became our President-elect and soon-to-be 45th President.

I emphatically did not want Mr. Trump to become our President. I contributed, organized, advertised, volunteered, and voted to try to prevent it from happening. But Mr. Trump won in the electoral college and so he (by his own words) will not contest what he repeatedly called a "rigged" election. . . and neither can we or should we. We must have a peaceful transition of power if we are to preserve our democracy and our country.

It was a hellish campaign. The absolute worst of my lifetime. And we as a nation are going to have to reconcile to it and live through the repercussions -- indeed the entire world will have to. Donald J. Trump will be our President for at least the next four years.

Fifty or a hundred years or more from now this election will be distant history. We have no idea how the Trump presidency will turn out. We can only hope that it is a net positive for the great majority of Americans, who comprise a true melting pot of various people. History and results will judge the winner of this momentous election . . . and our descendants will judge us with the hindsight of decades or centuries regarding how we stood at this time and in this place.

I write this post to go into the book version of my blog in order to make it clear for my descendants that I stood against Mr. Trump and tried my best to prevent him from becoming President of the United States. Those who supported Mr. Trump will have to own their decision too . . . and perhaps have to explain to their descendants.

They say that when a person actually assumes the awesome power and responsibility of the presidency of the United States it changes him. He has such power and responsibility that it alters his perspective and his deliberation before deciding on a course of action that will affect an entire nation. Our history is replete with examples of presidential evolution in office. For the greater good of this country we can only hope that Mr. Trump is transformed by the high office to which he will ascend and that he deliberates carefully and circumspectly as he moves forward!

Finally, for those of you who are frantic about the results of yesterday's election, I highly recommend you read the post by Tim Urban at Wait But Why blog. It is titled "It's Going to Be Okay."  

[I should note that Tim Urban's piece does contain some words that many readers might consider profane or vulgar, but I must -- in all fairness -- mention that the words are no worse than language that our President-elect used publicly before tens of thousands of Americans over the last year or more and that were broadcast over our radio and TV airwaves.] 
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The photograph of the parachutist with the American flag was taken by the author.
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (October 29, 2016)

Here are a few recommended reads for this weekend . . .

1.  The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS mentioned a wonderful story about placement of six Irish orphans for adoption in the U.S. in the 1950s. The woman who arranged the adoptions, Noreen Sullivan, is now 93 years old with failed eyesight and has been wondering how the adoptees have fared.  Read the full story here and learn about how some good-hearted genealogists assisted.   

2.  Having completed her wonderful series on genealogy research in Rhode Island, Diane Boumenot of One Rhode Island Family blog posted a very interesting and useful piece titled, "Working With A Strategy."  You can read Diane's post here
3.  On the delicious side of history came a bit of levity this week from The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS. Learn about the history and recipe for "muster cake" and a resurgence of "election cake" in a piece about the efforts of some bakers to "Make America Cake Again!" You can access the original article here.      

4.  James Tanner posted a timely reminder for those of us who spend a lot of time using our computers to do genealogy research and related efforts. Have a look and his post "How to protect yourself online for genealogists" here and get some links to sites with additional information.        

5.  As a reminder to readers about Bill West's Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge and the approaching deadline of November 17th, have a look at the entry posted yesterday by Barbara Poole of Life From The Roots blog.  You can see Barbara's submission here.  [P.S.  My entry for this year was posted here.] 

6.  Isn't it amazing how those little hints and clues dropped by folks can lead to the solution to problems or challenges in genealogy research? Have a look at Nancy Messier's post on My Ancestors and Me blog and see how an aunt's identification of just the first names of an unknown couple in a photograph -- along with the unusual first name of the woman's sister -- led to discovery of the full name of the woman in the photo and a photographic mystery remaining to be solved. See the blog post here.     

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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (October 22, 2016)

Today Molly and I will be attending a reunion of her O'Kane fist cousins, but here are a few recommended reads for this weekend . . .

1.  At a time when this tumultuous election has now become focused on the possible abandonment of one of our democracy's longest and most precious traditions, The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS brought us a nice, feel-good story about a family tradition that started in 1965 and is still going strong through 17 girls in the Parker family. It involves 51 years of school Picture Days and a very special item. Read the story here and wonder like I did why they did not include the photo of the 17th girl. :-)        

2.  And speaking of NEHGS . . . for those of you with New England roots who are not yet members of NEHGS, you have a golden opportunity to try out nearly all of the early New England resources and databases available on the NEHGS website. From October 18 - 25, a FREE "Guest Membership" is available that will allow you to access and explore  almost 300,000 records and other resources.  Better hurry since there are only three days left (including today).  Read more and gain access here.  
3.  If you use Family Tree Maker (FTM) for your genealogy data and sync it with a site such as, then you might want to check out the Family Tree Maker User blog by Russ Worthington -- if you are not already aware of it. Russ has recently (Oct. 14 and 16) posted two "Back to Basics" audio-visual presentations about his "best practices" for using FTM. One is about file maintenance and the other is about checks to run before syncing FTM with Ancestry, etc. Watch and listen to the file maintenance presentation here and the syncing presentation here. [NOTE: You will want to set aside some time for these presentations.  The first is 10 minutes long and the other is 21 minutes long.]       

4.  Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings blog had a post this past Thursday that serves as yet another reminder to all of us to be very careful in relying on and adding data compiled by others to our family trees. Randy and his faithful reader's fact checked the results Randy got from's "We're Related Mobile App" that indicated he was the 8th Cousin 2X Removed of William Jefferson Clinton (who is likely to become the nation's "First Dude" in January). The app was most definitely wrong! Read Randy's fact check post here and get a link to his original post on the "We're Related" app results.       

5.  Not to pile on poor, but Judy Russell, of the The Legal Genealogist blog, also checked out the "We're Related" app and begs to differ about the app's notification that she is a 9th cousin of Barack Obama, 8th cousin one removed of Johnny Depp, 7th cousin once removed of William Jefferson Clinton, and an 8th cousin of different levels to Demi Lovato and of Kurt Cobain. Read Judy's debunking post here.   

6.  If you use, or are thinking of using, 23and Me for your DNA genealogy data, then you might want to read Judy Russell's post this week about 23and Me.  You can access the post here. Be sure to read the comments too. 

7.  James Tanner at Genealogy's Star blog has an informative post this week about copyright law and the need for reform. Read his post here

8.  And finally, UpFront With NGS blog had a post this week titled "Many Reasons to Write a Family History." Read the post and get some useful links here.     

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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Friday, October 21, 2016

It was recently pointed out to me that the link in my post of September 23, 2016 did not take the reader directly to my original post about "genealogy factoids." Since I had several kind comments about the original post, I decided to do something I do not think I have ever done in my four plus years of blogging . . . republish a previous blog post.

Below is a reprise of my original February 17, 2015 post titled, "Genealogy Factoids -- What Are They And Are They Worth Saving?" I hope this serves as a convenient correction to the faulty link in my recent post and that new readers who would not have seen the original post will find the piece of some interest and possibly of some use.


Recently, Nancy at My Ancestors & Me blog posted a nice personal remembrance piece about her father's favorite entertainer -- the singer, pianist, actor, and comedian Jimmy Durante.

Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy blog has written several times over the years about her participation in Girl Scouts and memories of her experiences. Examples of Heather's Girl Scout memories are here and here, but more are found at her "Girl Scout" tag in her blog's Lables list.  Barbara Poole of Life From The Roots blog has also shared her Girl Scout memories and photos as can be seen here

Jana Last of Jana's Genealogy and Family History blog answered six simple questions here about her childhood memories as a participant in Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun series a year ago. The questions were adapted from Judy Russell's keynote address at RootsTech 2014 and included questions like, "What was your favorite book as a child?" and "What was the first funeral you attended?"

Back in 2007, Bill West of West In New England blog posted about his doomed love affair with Fluffernutters and his ongoing love of Hot Chocolate, which can be enjoyed here.

Recently I have been posting about my family's 1998 backpacking trek on the Northville to Lake Placid Trail in the Adirondacks using entries from my trail book and photos taken along the way. The series began here and can be followed under the topic "Northville-Placid Trail."

What do these various posts share in common? They all recount little bits of information that were important in the lives of the bloggers themselves and/or their immediate family members, but they are not the kind of facts that are likely to be found in some public document or record in the future -- the kind of document records generally accorded the status of "primary sources." These blog posts are contemporary written oral history of events actually experienced by the writers and are about matters that will easily be lost in the course of just a couple or three generations if not recorded and preserved. These bits of information are what I would call "genealogy factoids," but do they -- or should they within a genealogy context -- meet the dictionary definition of "factoid" ("a brief or trivial item of news or information") or the definition generated on a whiteboard school exercise depicted below?

I would argue that the well-documented, contemporary written oral history that is often the subject of posts on genealogy blogs (especially those blogs more focused on a particular family history than on academic and technical aspects of the genealogy discipline) should be accorded more attention and effort at preservation.  I have written that those of us with living memories of ancestors and their likes, dislikes, and quirks should consider recording those "factoids" in some way before they are really lost for lack of some "official record."  Blogs accomplish this goal, but are probably only temporary themselves in that the vast majority exist only as stored electrons easily lost or abandoned.  Realizing this is why many bloggers increasingly now take the time to preserve their blogs in book form -- to increase the odds that the information contained in the blogs will be more easily preserved, passed down, and perhaps continued by descendants. 

In my opinion, genealogy factoids are important and serve to create color for our descendants and the genealogists of the future so that a genealogy becomes something more about the people than a black and white word portrait of dry, document-supported facts of birth dates, death dates, marriage, occupation, education, military service, etc. It is well written contemporary oral history full of factoids that will fill in the the portrait of an ancestor and give him or her the depth, color, and nuance that really makes each of us different, and which influences those around us -- especially our family members.

My 6th great grandfather, Col. Thomas Carpenter of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, fought in the Revolutionary War and is the basis for my membership in the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). I know of no existing portrait of what Thomas looked like. His appearance is apparently lost in time. But there is this genealogy factoid about Thomas found buried in the famous Carpenter Memorial by Amos B. Carpenter that provides some insight and color to who Thomas must have been. He must have been a man who (at least in his later years) loved food because his granddaughter told Amos Carpenter that her grandfather Thomas, "was a large, portly man." So much so that she was able to make a whole suit of clothes for one of her children out of one of her grandfather's vests!   

By paying attention to the careful and accurate recording of genealogy factoids we do the service of fleshing out the image of family members with facts that otherwise will be gone forever. How else will my descendants know that I loved backpacking in the woods and completed a trek of over 100 miles through the Adirondacks way back in 1998? How else will descendants or relatives know that Nancy's father loved an entertainer named Jimmy Durante? Or that Heather and Barbara were Girl Scouts and that the experience stayed with them all their lives? Or that Jana loved horse books and cherished ones her father gave her well into her adulthood -- and maybe passed them on to descendants who would otherwise wonder where they came from and why the old books were saved? Or, after learning what a Fluffernutter even was, that Bill West had so many Fluffernutters as a child he could not bear looking at one in adulthood?

Blog on . . . and remember that accurately written and preserved genealogy factoids are special kinds of facts that belong in any genealogy that is to be something more than a list of dates and events supported by primary documents!

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Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
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Monday, October 17, 2016

"A Poem on Little Russell's Passing" (October 17, 2016)

Florence Leonette ("Nettie") Flagg 

Nettie Cooke [nee Flagg] -- b. May 13, 1870 - d. July 20, 1904

Next month is the "Eighth Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge" conceived and hosted by Bill West of West in New England blog. Under the Challenge rules, a poem submitted for inclusion in the Challenge can "be a poem you or one of your ancestors have written." This post is my submission for the Eighth Annual Challenge and it publishes a poem written by my great grandmother, Florence Leonette Flagg (pictured above as a young teen and as an adult). "Nettie," as she was always called, is the mother of my maternal grandmother, Ruth Eaton [Cooke] Carpenter. I posted previously about Nettie where I included another one of her poems, which can be viewed here.

Nettie had a short life that in many ways was tragic and I believe she turned to poetry to try to express her pain, her hope, and her discovery of respite and beauty when and where she could find it. She wrote numerous poems that are mostly sad, but they must have been cathartic for her given her experiences. I am very lucky and privileged to have several originals of her poetic writings and a few others that were transcribed by her eldest child (my grand aunt, Helen R. [Cooke] Roberts) from now lost originals. The poem in this post was written about 1894 when Nettie was twenty-four years old and as the images of the poem below show, this is one of the original poems in her handwriting that I now have in my collection.

To understand where Nettie's poem originates, it is necessary to provide some brief context and background about Nettie.

Nettie was born in 1870 to George W. Flagg and his wife, Mary J. ("Jennie") Eaton.  When Nettie was just two and half years old, her mother died at age 26. And then Nettie's father died at age 35 of "phthisis" (an archaic name for tuberculosis) when Nettie was barely nine years old.

By the time of the 1880 federal census, Nettie Flagg was living as a "boarder" in the home of Susannah Stanley (age 69) and her daughter Frances Stanley (age 30) in Attleborough, Massachusetts. She apparently lived with the Stanleys until she married Walter W. Cooke in August 1891 in North Attleborough. She and Walter had known one another since they were children and they were both 21 years old when they married.

Leonette ("Nettie") Flagg and Walter W. Wilson

Soon after Nettie and Walter married they had their first child, my grandmother's oldest sister, Helen Raeder Cooke born February 21, 1892. Helen was followed by five additional children -- two boys and three girls. Russell was born in 1893. Lois Vinal Cooke was born in 1894. My grandmother, Ruth Eaton Cooke, was born in 1897. Dorothy was born in 1899 and Russell Church Cooke was born in 1902. 

By the time my grandmother was ten years old, her mother and father had lost three children. Russell died about a month shy of his first birthday. Dorothy, who was a special favorite of my grandmother's, died just a month after her sixth birthday of typhoid complicated by a severe ear infection. Russell Church Cooke died just over two months after his second birthday of meningitis. I never heard my grandmother ever mention the fact that she had two brothers and she never told me she had a younger sister named Dorothy. My mother did tell me well into my middle age that her mother always said she would never name a son of hers Russell because both her brothers were named Russell and they died very young. [When my grandmother did have a son, she named him David and I got my middle name after him.]   

My grandmother, Ruth Eaton Cooke (left) and her younger sister Dorothy Cooke (right)

The original handwritten poem below was written in 1894 just after the death of Nettie's first son, Russell Cooke. The poem is now 122 years old. It was preserved by my grand aunt, Helen [Cooke] Roberts, in the envelope shown here. It is inscribed by Helen to explain when the poem was written and why.

Here is Nettie's untitled poem that I have begun calling "A Poem on Little Russell's Passing." It is transcribed immediately after the images of the original handwritten poem. To my knowledge the poem has never been published before or shared outside the family . . . and few in the family have ever seen it before.

A Poem on Little Russell's Passing*
                           By Florence Leonette "Nettie" Cooke (1894)

                                               I sometimes grow weary of waiting
                                               And long for the time to come,
                                              When I shall see my baby,
                                              In that beautiful far off home.

                                              Sometimes when I feel discouraged
                                              And my life seems full of care,
                                              I wonder how long I shall have 
                                             to wait
                                             Before we meet over there.

                                             I wonder if he is happy, 
                                             My dear little baby boy.
                                             If he thinks of Father & Mother
                                             And wants us to share his joy.

                                             At the gate of the beautiful city
                                             In that bright and Heavenly home
                                             Will he be watching and waiting
                                             And longing for us to come?

                                             He was beautiful when he left us,
                                             But will he grow more fair?
                                             Will he grow in Heavenly beauty
                                             And will we know him there?

                                             I wonder sometimes why my baby
                                             Was taken away so soon
                                             Was it because I was straying away
                                             Into the darkness and gloom?

                                             Was the Shepherd trying to call
                                              me back
                                             And I heeded not his cry
                                             Until he took my little lamb
                                             To the home beyond the sky.

                                             Was it in love that He took him
                                              To draw me back to the fold
                                              Because I had grown so careless
                                              And my heart seemed bitter and 

                                              Ah yes, the lesson was hard to learn
                                              And my heart seemed crushed
                                              with pain
                                              And the time seemed longer than
                                              I could wait
                                              Ere I should see him again.

                                              But one time, ere I closed my eyes
                                              in sleep
                                              I looked out into the night.
                                              And gazing up into the darkened sky
                                              I saw a misty light.

                                              And in the midst of that one bright
                                              A little star twinkled and shone.
                                              And it seemed to me like a guiding
                                              To lead to that Heavenly home.

                                               And in fancy I saw that little
                                               Was held by my baby's hand
                                               To safely guide me through the darksome
                                               To that home in the spirit land.

                                               And in it I read God's lesson to me
                                               That my work is not yet done
                                               So I'll gladly wait
                                               Till someday, sometime
                                               My God and my child will welcome me home.

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All photos are scanned from the originals, which are in the collection of the author.

*Nettie did not provide a title for her poem, so I have taken the liberty of providing one 122 years after she wrote these poignant words. I hope she would approve. 

There are actually two handwritten copies of Nettie's poem following little Russell's untimely death, but one is inexplicably missing the last lines of the next to last stanza as well as all of the final stanza. I have chosen to follow the verse structure and punctuation of the version with the missing lines, but I provide images of the complete poem. For this reason, the transcription does not follow exactly the structure of the complete poem depicted above. 

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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (October 15, 2016)

Here are a few recommended reads for this weekend . . .

1.  The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS  posted a piece with important news for anyone with ancestors and relatives from New York. The organization known as Reclaim The Records won the first public access to the marriage records for marriages between 1930 and 1995 in New York City. This opens up more than 3 million records. Read the details here.       

2.  Sticking with NYC genealogy tools, UpFront With NGS brought to our attention this week that the New York Public Library is digitizing its collection of New York City Directories -- which could be quite useful to those looking for ancestors or relatives that are known to have lived in NYC or are thought to have lived there. The directories will cover the years 1786 through 1922/23. There are also links provided for other locales that have directories available. Read the details and get the links here
3.  Love maps? So does Diane L. Richard at UpFront With NGS.  Yesterday's blog post about digitized maps can be seen here and you can get links to previous UpFront posts about maps. Yesterday's post informs us of the current Library of Congress exhibition on maps called "Mapping a Growing Nation From Independence to Statehood." There is also an online exhibition related to the new exhibit AND the current edition of LOC Magazine is devoted to maps!  Both can be accessed online for free!  Read the post and get the links here.   

4.  I have always been fascinated by the Shakers and their religious beliefs and building/furniture style. Barbara Poole -- and her camera -- have been busy this week documenting the Shakers of Canterbury, NH, but she also has documented the "Venice of America" (otherwise known as her town of Lowell, Massachusetts).  Have a read and especially a look here, here, and here.  

5.  Veteran's Day is approaching fast and so this means another opportunity to participate in Heather Rojo's wonderful Honor Roll Project. The project invites folks to find, photograph and transcribe the various war memorials all over the U.S. and to link to your posts so that they can be compiled into a giant searchable database of veterans. Read more and get links here. This is the 6th year of the project! 

6.  Judy Russell has a post worth reading at The Legal Genealogist. She takes on the question of continuing education for genealogists and why one should recertify periodically. Read the post here.     

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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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