Tuesday, July 14, 2020

52 Ancestors Week 29: Newsworthy

From Amy Johnson Crow: Week 29's theme is "Newsworthy." Did any of your ancestors make it into the paper? What's an event that would have been newsworthy in their lifetime?


Is it weird that I can actually HEAR JK Simmons's J. Jonah Jameson in the caption? That man was clearly born to play the cranky Marvel Comics' newspaper publisher. I was pleasantly surprised to see him in last year's "Spider-Man: Far From Home" because he was amazing in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy from the early 2000s. Here's hoping he returns in Spider-Man 3!

Anyway, when it comes to being in the news, my family has made it into the paper many times. They weren't just in the obituaries! My family showed up in articles ranging from a fire at a Salisbury beach motel to even a story about a lost dog being found. That last article, by the way, was in a box my aunt so graciously gave me a few weeks ago. I haven't scanned it. I will get around to it, eventually! 

Naturally, anyone can find these and many more articles if you use Newspapers.com. The website is the Internet's leading archive of newspaper articles from all over the country. If you have an ancestor who was born in America, chances are you can find the person in the paper! Yes. Newspapers.com is an amazing website. However, the article I am going to talk about today was NOT found there. Shocking, I know.

No pictures?! PARKER!!!!!!!!!
A few weeks ago I made a passing mention of this article in this blog. I think it's about time we dig into it a little further because this article has a ton of genealogical information and is proof that you can find a ton of information about your family in a newspaper.

Let's refresh your memory. The article to the right is about an open house held by my 2x great-grandparents, Joseph Laplante and Georgianna Ross of Newburyport, Massachusetts. This was published on June 4th, 1945 in the Newburyport Daily News and Newburyport Herald. I found this article on the Newburyport Public Library website. The site itself is smaller than Newspapers.com. But, it gets the job done. The only drawback is that sometimes the quality of the pictures in the article leave a lot to be desired. At least I found great articles like this one because this was definitely news to my mother and everyone else in the family. Let's break it down, shall we?

That's Joseph Laplante in the front and behind him is Georgianna.
Right off the bat the article mentions that the open house was for the couple's fiftieth wedding anniversary. They were married on June 3rd, 1895. This was previously confirmed by a document I found online. However, if you were just starting out, this and several other facts would be very important. 

The article goes on to mention the couples' parents and provides a rough estimate of their ages in 1945, their parents and where the couple was born. 

Clara, my great-grandmother, was even mentioned as one of their children. Grandchildren were listed as well since in mentioned my grandfather as being in Italy and serving the Air Force at the time of this open house. Great-grandchildren were even mentioned. However, they were probably very young at the time. No names were used as they were more than likely minors.

There were even some interesting facts about Joseph that you wouldn't get easily. He was a mill worker before becoming a barber. That, we didn't know about. We knew he was a barber. My mother remembers him when she was growing up. He and Georgianna lived nearby and all that. Still, we didn't know about him working in a mill and there were plenty of them around the Merrimack Valley.

Another thing that caught my eye in the article was a list of the callers to the house. One of the people who stopped by was a bridesmaid of Georgianna's. Her name was Hannah Casey. In my research of the Ross family, I found that a Ross married a Casey. I wonder if she was connected to that family. It definitely is worth investigating!

If you were just starting your genealogical adventure, you'd find a treasure trove of information which can help you get started. A small tree would have been made and you can then look for more things not readily found in a database. It just goes to show that newspapers have been and always will be a vital source for genealogical information. Check yours out today!

Oh and before I leave, a family member did graciously give me a picture from the event. The quality isn't as good as I would have hoped. However, beggars can't be choosers. Go out there and see if you can find your ancestors in newspapers! They're out there!!

Not a bad looking crew.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

52Ancestors Week 28: Multiple

From Amy Johnson Crow: Week 28's theme is "Multiple." Twins? Triplets? Multiple marriages? Numerous nicknames? How are you going to interpret "multiple"?

Thank you, Google.
How should I interpret "Multiple"? Hmm....How about how multiple siblings can help you get started on your genealogical adventure? It makes life a lot easier. Oh, there may be discrepancies along the way, sure. But, you have to admit it does make for interesting conversations!  Check this out.

The Carrabs sisters, Fountains of knowledge and makers
great food!
My father is an only child. He has no brothers and sisters. That doesn't mean he didn't have aunts and he had a LOT of them. On my grandmother's side, he had four aunts: Jenny, Josie, Eleanor and Louise. My grandma Ollie was the youngest and they all lived in relatively close proximity to each other. Josie lived in Nashua, New Hampshire and the rest lived in Haverhill.

I should note that though my dad was an only child, he has several first cousins. They were pretty much his brothers and sisters growing up!

Having all of the aunts so close by often meant that they'd be at each others' houses every once in a while. When I was growing up, we'd visit every chance we got and more often than not one or three of the aunts would be sitting at the round table in the kitchen having tea, eating cookies or just talking about anything.

Once they saw my brother and I, they'd crowd around us like we were the center of the universe. We'd sit down and talk about stuff like school or what we were doing in the area. It didn't matter. They listened intently to everything we said.

When they finished and resumed talking about family stuff, I usually returned the favor. I often asked "Who, what, where, why and when". The five ws aren't just for reporters. They have be very helpful when talking to a bunch of chatty great-aunts and your grandmother. Trust me. When dealing with multiple siblings sitting at a table, it's a good idea to follow these steps. It'll help paint a picture of your genealogical adventure and help get you started. Here's what you do:

1. Listen.

That's the first step you should take. Save all of your questions for the end or a break in the action because sometimes they'll answer the questions for you.

The sisters and their parents in the US Census.
One time my grandmother was talking about how her father, Giuseppe lived in the apartment building Louise ended up living in.  He had a garden and grew many vegetables. The sisters all nodded and talked about their neighbors on Bartlett street in Haverhill. Later on, this would be confirmed in the 1920, 1930 and 1940 US censuses.

2. Write stuff down!!

In many cases, talking to a bunch of people at once can be a little daunting. If your grandma starts talking and her sister starts talking over her, you might want to ask for a piece of paper to write stuff down. This is actually how I managed to get a rudimentary family tree....written on a napkin. Hey. Some of the best ideas in the world were written on napkins! Don't judge!
 Actually, they gave me a sheet of paper and I wrote some stuff on it. =)

3. Be polite.

If you're in an impromptu genealogy filled conversation, it's a good idea to be polite and patient. Sometimes your family members will give you some information. I remember one time one of the aunts got up and came back with a box full of photos she wanted to show me while everyone was talking. I should also note that you probably should wipe your hands before handling a photo because chances are you're going to be EATING when this conversation happens. Nine times out of ten it happened to me. It's unavoidable.

Carrabs clan
4. Q and As!

Once the family stops talking, it's a good idea to start asking questions. I often asked how Gesualdo was since I knew my grandmother went to Italy in the late 1960s. I often asked if she could tell me about grandpa Marco because he died when I was four. She was more than happy to do so. However, she always told me to ask his sister for more information and since she lived in Tennessee I often asked questions in various letters or over the phone.

5. Be aware!

Like any conversation with a bunch of people, there are bound to be some discrepancies along the way. Sometimes one sister would correct the other saying "That didn't happen like that!" In that case, it's up to you to look things up and judge for yourself. I've been fortunate. Many of the things they told me about turned out to be true.

* Their parents did come to America aboard the Adriatic. We have a picture of the boat.
* The family DID live on Bartlett Street in Haverhill. I've been to that house.

The list goes on and on. Some things they did talk about turned out to be false like us having a connection to Queen Isabella of Spain. I have NO idea where that came from and it was one of the first things I disproved when I really got into genealogy. I always thought it was a little far-fetched.

6. Have a good time.

It isn't enough to look like you're having a good time, you have to BE having a good time. That way your great-aunts and everyone will be more than willing to share all kinds of info. The same can be said of you're interviewing one person. And that brings up another point. Don't make it seem like an interview. Just let them go. Sometimes the information will come out on its own. You aren't going to learn much by pressing too hard. Just enjoy yourself and let the information come to you.

That's really about it. I am sure there are more tips people could use. I was fortunate to have several great-aunts and my grandmother living close to each other. Others may have more difficulty in getting information for various reasons. But, if you are lucky to have a bunch of siblings and your grandma nearby have them sit around a big round table in the kitchen and just let them go. Just have your notebook handy just in case!! If they go off topic let them. Listen and learn. You'll never know what you'll discover by just observing and eating your nonna's cooking. Eat every bite. She spent all day cooking that! MANGIA!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

52 Ancestors Week 27: Solo

From Amy Johnson Crow:

Week 27's theme is "Solo." When I wrote this theme, I though first of an ancestor who was an only child, but don't limit yourself there! How about someone on a line where you feel like you're the only one researching them? (I have a couple of those!) Any musicians or singers in the family tree? How about a "solo" name, like Singletary?

The pop culture reference was practically gift wrapped this week.
Before I get started with this week's topic, I have some exciting news to share with everyone! A couple days ago, one of my aunts stopped by with some boxes from my grandfather's house. My grandfather saved a bunch of things over the years from golf balls to golf cards and more. Various things will be going to various relatives. Not a bad haul. However, there was a genealogical gold mine and my aunt knew that I had to take a look. Why not? She knew I'd be interested, right? So, the last couple of days I found many items including:

My great-grandfather Alfred Francis Hamel's glasses.
Documents pertaining to my grandfather's military career.
Photographs from my parents' wedding which had color photos of my great-grandparents, Austin and Henrietta.
Photos of Austin and Henrietta's wedding anniversary!
Photos of my great-grandmother, Clara Laplante.

That's just the tip of the old iceberg! Not only did I get two thirty pound boxes and a cart full of pictures, there's a satchel of documents and other things to sort through. Various pictures will be sent out to family members who want them. The golf stuff, for example, will be going to one of my uncles. Several pictures have been scanned. It took me a while to remember how to scan a picture. I hadn't scanned anything since my last comic review in 2019. And speaking of comics, my aunt tossed in a Captain America backpack. I think my family knows me all too well!!

For the Solo prompt this week, I've had to think about it for a while. I don't really have many people who are only children in my tree save for my father. Finding something to talk about this week was a bit of a challenge. Until now....

Allow me to introduce you to one of only a handful of American Civil War veterans I have in my tree. His name is John Sargent Fisher and he is one of my 4x great-grandfathers. He was born on April 12th, 1820 in the town of Malden, Massachusetts to Lewis Fisher and Sarah Sargent. His credentials are all listed in the article I uploaded. There is, however, an error here. His grandfathers were Joseph Fisher and Amos Sargent. Not Silas Sargent. Silas was his great-grandfather.

Bad newspaper editing aside, let's talk about this guy shall we? He enlisted in the Union army at the age of thirty when he was actually closer to forty-one. That was kind of odd don't you think? I'm sure it was more common than you'd like to believe. People lied about their ages all the time back then. Still do.

What does any of this have to do with "Solo", Well, here's the thing. John here enlisted with the Company Band of the Massachusetts 2nd Infantry on May 25th, 1861. He was listed as a musician!

Based on that, I'm not entirely sure what instrument he played. The article I posted really painted a great picture of him didn't it? He had some high honors and all kinds of accolades attributed to him. Apparently, he was also the man who took out the most books at the Malden library. I should go there and check things out for myself one of these days. Malden isn't that far away and I am sure they have more documents about him there if this article is anything to go by!

There's also a bit of family lore surrounding him and my 3x great-grandfather, Jeremiah Felker who also served the Union in the Civil War. Lore has it that either he or John played in the White House band for Lincoln or after Lincoln. I'm not sure if either case is true. Signs do point to John being the possible musician. However, there's a problem. He was discharged in June of 1862 due to injuries that left him disabled for the rest of his life.

Was he really in a band? It's hard to say. Family lore also says Jeremiah was ALSO in the White House band post Civil War. Is there a way to find out? It's hard to say. In the Reconstruction years, both men were living their lives in New England: FAR from Washington DC. Jeremiah was in Haverhill and John was in Malden.

In 1870, Jeremiah was living in Newton, NH as stated in the US Census for that year. I haven't been able to find John in the 1870 Census, yet. It should also be noted that Jerry was in the heavy artillery. Any music he'd be involved with would involve the 1812 Overture. =) Love that song by the way.

Signs seem to point to John being the musician. However, you'd think the tribute article would mention something about playing for Lincoln or something. More research is clearly needed. Was he really in the White House band? It's hard to say. It's the only bit of family lore I have yet to solve. Maybe the answer is buried in those boxes my aunt dropped off. I hope they are. So far all I've come across is recent history and unfortunate '90s haircuts. At least we weren't DRAWN like '90s comic characters.

In the mean time, I'll keep digging. Perhaps the truth is out there. It would be an interesting bit of family lore to try and solve. If I can't, it's no big deal. For now I'm glad to know that John was at least a musician. That part was true.

We'll see what else I can find. And maybe they'll be on the 19th Century version of "America's Got Talent." See ya next time!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

52 Ancestors Week 26: Middle

From Amy Johnson Crow: Week 26's theme is "Middle." (It seems appropriate for being halfway through!) Middle names. Middle children. Middle of the country. How might you interpret "middle"?

Wow. The year is half over? I, like many, will not be NOT sad to see this year go. To say 2020 has been a roller coaster is a wee bit of an understatement. At least we can say that even in this dark time, we've seen the best in humanity. Sometimes. Now than that's over with, we shall discuss the middle. How am I going to interpret this one? Hmm....

Let's talk for a bit about middle names. They first came about in the Middle Ages because Europeans couldn't decide between naming a child after a saint or giving them a family name. These days if your parents called you by your middle name after your first name you were in trouble. If they used all three names in rapid succession, you were dead where you stood. Not that that's ever....happened to me or anyone else named "Christopher".

Vincenzo Ferraiolo, grandson of Vincenzo.
I have noticed something interesting when it comes to Italian middle names. Sometimes a child will have not one but TWO of them. Or even three! Take Vincenzo Gregorio Francesco Ferraiolo for example. He was a 3x great-grandfather of mine and was born in San Pietro a Maida on November 21st, 1847. He had a sister named....get ready for this mouthful: Caterina Maria Concetta Marianna Ferraiolo who was born in 1840.

If you're thinking that these naming conventions are similar to Spanish and French naming conventions, you'd be right. It's a very Catholic thing to give a child more than one middle name. But, did you know that this tradition can help you figure out the possible names of a person's ancestor? It's true. Check this out.

Vincenzo and Caterina here had a grandmother named Marianna Russo who was born around 1780 in the same town. It's a tradition in Italy to name a child after an ancestor or two or three. Sometimes the oldest male child is named after the grandfather. Sometimes tradition is put aside after the seventh or eighth kid is born.

Marco James Ferraiolo
There's no doubt about it. Having a child with a ton of middle names can be very helpful when it comes to genealogy. If you have a brick wall, those names can lead you to who the parent or grandparent of the child might be. Of course you could be way off. It's just a thing to keep in mind if you find someone with a really long series of middle names.

I will admit that it won't always break down a brick wall. It will still give you a clue and it's something to think about as you dig through records.

Even today, middle names are a hint as to what certain ancestors' names may have been. My grandfather was Marco James Ferraiolo. He clearly didn't have the name "James" as he was born in Italy. Ah, but do you remember the blog where I discussed how Vincenzo became James? Somehow Vincenzo became James even in middle names, too. It's weird and very complicated.

Still, the name "James" has been passed down in my family. It's my brother's first name and now his oldest son carries the tradition.

Middle names remain very useful in field of genealogy and I don't mean that just as a Catholic guy with Italian and French-Canadian ancestors. I mean in general. Sure some of them can be long. But, they can help you break a brick wall and help you gain insight of why someone was named the way they were. Think about that the next time someone middles or third names you!

See ya next time!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

52 Ancestors Week 25: Unexpected

From Amy Johnson Crow: Week 25's theme is "Unexpected." There can be all kinds of unexpected discoveries when we research our family history. What have you found that was unexpected? Have you found anything in an unexpected source? What about an ancestor who experienced something unexpected?

In genealogy, unexpected events are a common occurrence. You're always going to find something you've never expected whether it's a DNA result that shows you're Scottish when you thought you were Irish or if you find a half great-aunt you never knew about. You might even find something you never expected to find while you're digging around looking for information on great-uncle Jed's worm farm. (Author's note. I do not have a great-uncle Jed!) Life is always about anticipating the unexpected. It's what makes life interesting!
Franklin Senter and family. But...Wait a second.....

Something unexpected happened about a month ago, actually. I was on Familysearch  looking for some information. I forget what it was. When I looked at the main page, I saw that someone had attached this photo to the right onto a man named Franklin "Tiny" Senter. Frank was the father of  Walter Howard Senter, the second husband of my 2x great-grandmother, Gertrude Stevens.

At first I thought nothing of it. Familysearch, like WikiTree, is a world tree. People put up pictures all the time. Results, of course, vary! I read the description and the user who uploaded it said that the picture was taken in 1903. She then went on to list who was who in great detail.

Franklin was the guy in the front row on the left. Walter was the guy behind him and next to him was his mother. She said that her grandfather was one of the kids in the picture and that the lady in the middle of the front row was Walter's wife. To my annoyance she didn't list her name.

Naturally, I sent a message to the lady. I wasn't going to leave this hanging by a thread! I needed to find out who the lady in the middle was! I took the pic and upon a closer inspection, I saw that she and my own mother share similar features! Was I freaked out? Nah. Excited was more like it! So, who was she? From the beginning I suspected she was Gertrude. I just needed a little thing called evidence. I'm not the type who'd claim some lady was my ancestor without proof. That's how genealogical fights break out.

Luckily, I had plenty of evidence! Walter married only one person in his lifetime. That woman was Gertrude. They were married on September 22nd, 1899 in Kingston, New Hampshire. Walter and Gertrude were married for four years by the time that picture was taken. Everything seemed to click. I just needed confirmation from the lady who uploaded the picture.

Eventually she wrote me back and greeted me as a cousin. Well, half-cousin if you want to get technical! She confirmed that the woman in the middle of the front row WAS Gertrude Stevens. Then it all clicked into place. That's why she and my mother looked so similar! I shared the picture on Facebook to make certain I wasn't seeing things. Other people in my family thought the same thing I did. I showed my mother and she said "Yeah, she and I look alike." Dunno if it freaked her out. Probably not. My mother tends to be more pragmatic than anything.

This was an unexpected discovery. What was really amazing is that several cropped versions of this picture was uploaded to several trees on Ancestry. No one tagged Gertrude so I never got that hint in the years I was ON that website. The people who were tagged were typically the Senters. That's when I sprung into action!

After I received confirmation, I uploaded the picture to WikiTree, Geni, Myheritage and Ancestry. I then tagged the correct people to make sure that this information would never be lost again. Pro-tip: If you upload a picture, make sure you tag everyone! If you know them all, at least. With the picture all over the Internet, my work seemed to be done. Or so I thought.

I kind of wanted to know who the adorable baby on Gertrude's lap was. It wasn't my great-grandfather, Austin. He was living in Haverhill at the time the picture was taken and was also eleven years old. The baby had to have been one of the Senter children. I just wasn't sure who. Gertude had the following children with Walter:

* Theodore Franklin
* John Howard
* Lawrence
* Ruby
* Clarence
* Hilda
* Helen

Conventional wisdom dictates that the baby is probably Theodore because he was born February of 1902. This picture could have easily been taken in early 1903 before his first birthday. That's my theory, anyway. I could be wrong. Time will tell. Even my cousin wasn't sure. She said it was one of hers and Walter's kids. Teddy here seems to be the only option because the next one wasn't born until July of 1904. If I knew the exact date the picture was taken, I could extrapolate how old the kids were. But, I may not know the date.

Finding the picture was definitely unexpected because I wasn't looking for anything in particular that day. I was never shown the picture when I was younger because we didn't have a copy and it was unexpected how it just popped up like this. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The Internet can be wonderful sometimes. (As long as you avoid YouTube's comment sections). It was definitely unexpected how she and my mother look so alike. Gotta love genetics!

Now that I have a picture of Gertrude for my collection, I now have pictures of 10 out of 16 2x great-grandparents. Here's hoping I find the rest of them, soon!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

52 Ancestors Week 24: Handed Down

From Amy Johnson Crow: Week 24's theme is "Handed Down." Do you have a story that's been handed down in your family? Did it turn out to be true (or maybe have just a kernel of truth to it)? Maybe you have something tangible that's been handed down.

Getting "Deep Thoughts" vibes from this week's header.

You don't live in an Italian family without random things being handed down to you over the years. Every once in a while, your father, your cousin or even a second cousin will say to you "Hey. See this thing? I want you to have it.". That is very true for my family as the house I grew up in has a ton of tangible things that have been handed down to us. There are a lot of items to go over so let's get started!

Place to put your coffee or epic battlefield? You decide!
First up, we have this coffee table my great-grandfather, Giuseppe gave my grandpa Marco a long, long time ago. Marco then eventually gave it to us. The story behind it is kind of cool. Originally, it was a conference table and was a little taller. Marco shortened it and it became a six foot coffee table. My great-grandfather worked at Pentucket Bank in Haverhill for many years as a janitor. As part of his retirement, the bank gave him this coffee table when it was a conference table. It had been in our house ever since.

Growing up, it was the site of many epic battles between the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons. Come on. Coffee tables were practically made for epic battles and when you're a kid, it doesn't really make a difference where you have battles between two warring factions of sentient transforming robots. Though, I am willing to bet there are some scratches on there brought on by me swerving Optimus Prime just right. Rubber tires on wood will do that!

These days, the coffee table has been relegated to just serving drinks. However, my nephews have kept the battlefield tradition alive when they come over to visit. No Transformers, though. Just LEGOs and the occasional hot wheels car.

A coffee table wasn't the only thing Giuseppe gave my family. He had given us not one but TWO antique clocks. They clearly don't work. The first one currently sits in the den with a few other items we have including my grandfathers' flags, pics of Vincenzo and Maria and our photo albums. I don't really know the story behind that one. However, the second clock I want to talk about has an interesting story. Well, interesting in a creepy way of course. Too bad it's early June and not Halloween.

Here we go!

Clock's haunted.
This next clock currently resides near the garage door where we keep our coats and everything and unlike the first one it DOES work. It just needs to be wound. One day we were getting ready to shovel the driveway. New England winters can be very treacherous with all the ice and everything. I was getting my boots on and suddenly the clock started chiming! There was no provocation. No reason for it. It started chiming and hasn't rung since. I think the clock is haunted! There is no reasonable explanation for it! I think I like this clock better than the first one because it just looks a lot cooler. Plus it's the only one that caused me to jump.

Oh and the light next to the clock was once a headlight to a car my grandpa Marco once had. Sweet, right? I wonder what kind of car it belonged to.

Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster.
And speaking of my grandpa Marco we come to the last thing I wanted to show everyone. I've talked about this on Twitter a few times. My grandma Ollie had a collection of swords and antique canes that my grandfather had collected over the years. She kept them in great condition and when I was a kid, I would check them out. My favorite item in the collection was this sword!

When Ollie passed away, the collection was passed down to me. It's a very heavy weapon. The blade, as it happens, is still sharp. I have no clue what kind of sword it is. It looks vaguely Middle Eastern. I've asked her how Marco got it and she wasn't sure. She thought it was a gift from a friend of his. Some gift. It's pretty awesome!

Out of everything I shared here, I want to learn more about the sword the most. Not because I want to go on an idealistic crusade or anything ;). I just want to know what type of sword it is. Where did it come from? I hope I found out some day because it is a cool weapon and I'm not the type of person who collects weapons. That's not my style.

More heirlooms from my grandma Natalie are scattered among my cousins like those creepy dolls I have mentioned in the past. These artifacts give us keen insight into who the original owners were. I'm not sure why Giuseppe needed to have two clocks. But, it's all good. They serve as pieces of our ancestors that they left behind and should be cherished for all time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

52 Ancestors Week 23: Wedding

From Amy Johnson Crow: Week 23's theme is "Wedding." June is a traditional month for weddings, so what better time to highlight the story of an ancestor's wedding? Maybe you've found something surprising in a marriage record or you have an ancestral wedding photo.

You ask me for a blog on this the day of my daughter's wedding?

The Tardis starts materializing outside of a church in Haverhill, Massachusetts. It's a strange sight to be sure. A 1960s era British police box phases in and out of existence as a funny wheezing noise heralds its imminent arrival. You step out of the cleverly disguised time machine when it finally fully materializes and take a look around. The year is 1948 and the planet is recovering from the second world war. Life is slowly returning to normal as young soldiers on the front lines are starting to build families of their own. It seems, for once, the world is at peace. You pull an invitation out your pocket. It reads:

"You are cordially invited to the wedding of Robert Eugene Hamel and Natalie Florence Felker on June 5th, 1948."

I love weddings and I really liked writing that introduction. I had the option of using a delorean. But, can we all agree that the reentry is a little hazardous? Sure the Tardis isn't reliable, either. But, at least she takes you to where you're needed! And we need to talk about this wedding. First up, let's take a look at the picture:

What a dapper looking crew!

Not a bad looking bunch, right? Everyone is dressed to the nines. Let's see who we have here....

Back row from left to right: Donald Laplante (Grandpa Hamel's uncle), Alfred Hamel Jr, Grandpa Hamel, my grandmother Natalie Felker, Elaine Felker, Austin Felker and Norman Felker.

Front row left to right: Dorothea Felker, Brenda Welch and Eleanor Felker.

This is definitely quite a crew. I remember the first time I saw this picture. I was little and my grandparents were showing me several pictures from their wedding album. My grandmother pointed out her father, Austin, and told me some nice stories about him. Though, one thing always puzzled me about the picture even when I was a kid. Where were the parents of the groom? Where was Alfred Hamel senior and Clara Laplante? Where was the mother of the bride, Henrietta Legault

I think that the logical answer is that they were probably off camera and waiting to take another picture. This is most likely the official wedding party photo. After those are taken care of, you get the other pics taken in rapid succession. I mean ice sculptures melt, right? No one wants to see the head of an ice swan break off into a vat of meatballs, do they? Then again, that's a sign the wedding will have good luck! Or watered down pasta sauce.

My grandmother assured me that everyone who needed to be there that day was. And hey...check out the calendar. This blog is actually being posted almost seventy-two years to the day that my grandparents were married. Isn't that an amazing coincidence? It's almost like I plan these blogs in advance!

I should also note that my grandparents were married on my grandfather's birthday. How cool is that?

I really like how the picture came out. It's so clean and crisp. My aunt scanned it and distributed it among various family members. But, I think a lot of people have copies. Overall it's a great picture of what looked like a very classy time. I should also note that all the ladies made their own dresses! I doubt "The Time of Your Life" or the "Chicken Dance" were played at the reception. THANK GOD!

A few days after the wedding, an article about it was posted in the Newburyport Daily News and Daily Herald for June 15th, 1948. I actually found this article recently. It wasn't on Newspapers.com. I found it at the Digital Archives of the Newburyport Public Library!

Using that website, I was able to find a treasure trove of articles about my family who lived in the Newburyport area and some who were just visiting as they had businesses there. I found mostly weddings and a few obits. However, something very interesting caught my eye in the archives! An anniversary article!

On June 3rd, 1945, Joseph Laplante and Georgianna Ross celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary! My 2x great-grandparents were married on June 3rd, 1895 and wouldn't you know it? Tomorrow (June 3rd, 2020) will be their one hundred and twenty-fifth wedding anniversary! Hmm...I wonder if it's too late to hire a DJ.

Anyway, from this article we receive a ton of genealogical information. You probably could make a decent tree with this information. Everything is here. Who. Who, What, Where and When. Seriously, all that was left was everyone's favorite color.

If you look closely, my grandfather was even mentioned as serving in Italy at the time the article was written! This is definitely a great find!

Newspaper archives will always be an important part of genealogical research. I'm glad I stumbled upon that website because it's a great research tool. Newburyport has a long and storied history and I'm glad articles about it are just a mouse click away. I just hope that Haverhill, Mass follows suit with an archive of their own. Perhaps they will. Here's hoping!

Wedding photos are also useful and I have quite a few of them. I focused on my maternal grandparents because of how close we are to their actual wedding anniversary. A lot of weddings do take place in June and yet some people buck tradition and have weddings whenever they feel like it!
Though, if it were up to me I'd go for the summer option. Or early spring.