My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday -- A Step-grandmother Connection

In the photo above, Edna is on the left. Along with my parents, siblings and my grandfather. Earle Bishop. I took the picture.

When you least expect to get a lead, somebody leaves a message for you on FindAGrave. Mine came from Claudia, who wrote the following: "When I 'googled' Earle Bishop, I saw your flowers on his memorial. Mr. Bishop married my 1st cousin 2x removed, Edna May Smart.

Edna's parents were Joseph and Ellen (O'Reilly) Smart. Joseph's sister was my great-grandmother, Edith Emily Smart. Their parents were Joseph and Emily (Ford) Smart.

I wonder if you have any information on the Smart family? And if so, could we collaborate on "Smart" information? If you don't, would you be able to steer me in the right direction? This side of my mother's family is a mystery to me and have been finding it difficult to find anyone who still has information on the family.

I was delighted, since Edna was my step-grandmother, the only grandmother I ever knew, so I wrote Claudia back with some information.

Her reply, "Sorry, I guess your grandfather marrying Edna May Smart didn't sit well with you?  Was she a nice person? Can you tell me the story or anything about her because I don't know anything about the "Smart" side ... whatever you can tell me will shed some light on things.  Also, if you have pictures of your Grandparents as well as Edna or others, and can send them to me, I would love to put them on their pages in my tree.  I would love to hear about your grandmother Sarah, too!!  

The only info I have on Edna is that in 1930, according to the census records, she was working as an office clerk in a bank and living at 162 Weldon Road, Berlin, CT; then sometime after 1930 she was married to a George Simmone and they had 1 child, a son they named George Simmone, Jr.   But don't have any info on the husband and don't know if he died or if they divorced ... but then she married your Grandfather on July 25, 1953.  I was only 3 yrs old at that time.  She also had a brother Howard Frederick Smart.  I have that she died on July 5, 1992, either CT or FL ... but don't know where she is buried.

My 85 yr old cousin, Shirley Baker, who lives in Stamford, CT had written to me one time that Edna's son's name was George J. Simmone. I scour the internet for information ... some days I get lucky, other days I don't.  That's how I found Mr. Bishop's obit.

Well, it was very nice to hear back from you, Barbara ... thank you for responding.  I would love to hear more about my 1st cousin, 2x removed, Edna May (Smart) Bishop."

Claudia and I have since shared information on the phone, I only wish she was related to me, because we had so much fun chatting. She filled me in on Edna's family, and I did for her. There are things we don't know, such as where she was buried, and what happened to her son, but we are hoping clues will come soon.

Why am I posting all of this? Well, I am hoping there are other family members who will google any of the above names, just like we all do.  I would like to help Claudia out, because I absolutely loved her cousin, Edna.

Edna deserves very much to be in my genealogy, and I am happy to have her genealogy. She became my step-grandmother when I was about 10. She was the sweetest person, always showed an interest in what I was doing, and insisted I go with them to NYC for a week, one summer, as they had an apartment there, Monday thru Friday. I saw everything a tourist would see, as well as a show at Radio City Music Hall. Through the years, it was she who always sent all the grandchildren a birthday card with money, and a personal note. She wrote lovely letters, and I still have one or two. I also liked that she introduced me to candy at age 11! My grandfather was so happy and they shared a great love of music and travel, in that they traveled the world several times, and lived part-time either in London or Florida. What a great step-grandmother, I was lucky to have Edna in my life for 30 years.

The conclusion was written the following week, and may be seen here.


Susan Petersen said...

It's not just blood lines that make a family. All of those relationships have a place in our family history. Hope that other family members will discover this post. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

Oh Barbara, this is just wonderful! What a blessing to have made this contact! It took me over 15 years of genealogy research to wake up to the importance of the *step people* in both my husband's family and mine. I have been making up for it by focusing on researching their lives so I can finally treat them like the family they were! Thanks for sharing this!

Barbara Poole said...

Susan and Lisa, you are so right, and thanks. However, Edna always felt like family to me, she was a doll, and it pains me to realize I knew nothing of her past, her likes / dislikes. She gave so much, and I nothing to her, now to make it up. She would have been 110 a few days ago, wow, where does the time go?

Susan (Nolichucky Roots) said...

This is so lovely! You've found a step-cousin as well as information on your lovely step-grandmother.

My own definition of family is that it's whoever I want it to be! The joy of doing the research is that I choose what to focus on. I have close friends in my database whose family and mine have been friends for four generations. Someone may prune them out someday, but it won't be me!

Claudia said...

Barbara, what a lovely post today. Thank you so much for doing this! Wouldn't it be nice to "get lucky" and have someone contact you about Edna or her son George Joel Simmone? Oh joy!!

Barbara Poole said...

Susan, you dear...I never thought of the person who wrote me as a step-cousin. Thanks a lot, as a matter of fact, she, Claudia just left a comment below you!

Carol said...

Hoping you get lots of good hits on this post and lots of new insight into Edna.

Elizabeth said...

This gives me the inspiration to look for my step second cousins (second step-cousins?). My father's stepfather had four children, before he married my grandmother (Dad's mother). The four step-siblings have died (they were born in the 1910's) and I know there were children in my generation. "Dad Rust" as he was referred to, was a wonderful stepfather to my dad, though I didn't know him; he died before I was born.

Thank you for sharing.

Greta Koehl said...

I love these wonderful "out-of-the-blue" connections - and those step-relatives can be so important! What a beautiful personality you have described.

Barbara Poole said...

Thank you Carol, Elizabeth and Greta. I always intended to write about Edna, but I hadn't gotten around to it. I'm glad it's done.
Elizabeth, please try to find your cousins, you won't regret your effort and think of the outcome. I'm very glad my friend from FindAGrave contacted me.

dee-burris said...

Your post is just more evidence to me that if we put the information out here on the internet, we will get information in return, somehow, some way.

So glad you found your new friend to compare notes with, and equally glad Edna is getting her mention also.

No telling what you are likely to find about her...