Kimmitt Genealogical Research

19 October 2010

Diary of a Medium, Georgianne (Hagerman) Jones, 1928

Georgianna Hagerman, 1888,  Fredericton, New Brunswick.
My mother's mother's mother, before life got to her, but already looking a bit glum.
She was variously called Georgia, Georgia Ann, Georgie, Georgianne, Georgie Ann, and Georgianna 

My first genealogical education was the National Genealogical Society’s Basic American Genealogy home study course. An early assignment was to interview a relative we had never met in order to practice interviewing and learn more about that branch. So my sister Ann and I went to visit my mother’s maternal first cousin, Jackie (Jones) Towler in July of 1998. My mother had passed away two years earlier, and since Jackie was in the older generation and from a side of the family I knew little about she fit nicely. Though there was a 17 year age gap between Jackie and my mother, they had always been very fond of each other.

Jackie had genealogical experience and understood my interest in family history. She had successfully researched my great-uncles’ births in Lawrence for my mother, but the birth of my grandmother, Vernetta Gertrude Jones was nowhere to be found––by Jackie, my mother, my Aunt Abbie, or even Vernetta herself, who was an ardent genealogist! 

Ann and I went to the home of Jackie and her husband, Herbert ("Red") in Lawrence armed with a video camera. Jackie had also invited her sister, Barbara, and they had gathered some old photos and assorted memorabilia. One item in particular just blew me away –– a typescript of the diary of Vernetta's mother, Georgianna (Hagerman) Jones. (See the variety of ways her name appears in records in the caption under her photo, above.) Jackie had given the original diary to her son Jared, and he transcribed and typed it. It looks like he transcribed it verbatim, but sometimes I can’t tell if he has made typos or if Georgianna did! So in my transcription of the transcription, I fixed the obvious ones (i.e. uncerstand, mornign, etc.). I surely would love to see the original, though! Apart from the obvious need to get down to the original for accuracy purposes, the diary is in Georgie's handwriting, which add would add so much depth to something as poignant as this.

Georgianna was a Spiritualist, and communicated regularly with the Great Beyond. She held dinner séances where guests paid a fee to dine and then chat with their dearly departed over coffee. My mother Priscilla (Barnes) FitzGerald was her granddaughter, and I can still see the childlike excitement on her face as she recounted visiting her grandmother and being allowed to collect money at these dinners, starting at the impressionable age of six.

Georgianna’s son, Frank Dewey Jones, died at the age of 29 on 4 December 1927. [1] His death certificate gives lobar pneumonia as the cause of death, but Jackie thought it might have been from tainted alcohol he obtained (Prohibition). The diary mentions his legs giving him trouble, but I do not know what that refers to. Georgie was obviously heartbroken, and used her diary as a way to comfort herself and make sense out of her painful world by channelling her son and documenting her own feelings. 

Jones/Barnes Gathering circa 1925, location unknown,
perhaps the Barnes summer cottage at Rivermoor, Scituate, Mass.
Back Row, L-R: Cecil Jones, Bill Barnes, Ernest Jones, Georgianne (Hagerman) Jones, Priscilla Barnes
Front Row: Louise Barnes, Frank Jones holding twin Anne Barnes,
Billy Barnes turned away, Jared Smith Jones holding twin Abbie Barnes.
Missing is Vernetta (Jones) Barnes, probably the one taking the photo, which has her parents, siblings, husband and children.

Georgianne's diary mentions other family members:

• Her husband, Jared Smith Jones, “Pa”;

• Sons Ernest Jared, born 1895; Clowes Warren, born 1900; and Cecil Roy born 1907. Cecil was Jackie and Barbara’s father.

• Daughter Vernetta Gertrude (Jones) Barnes, “Vernie”, and her husband “Bill” or William Otis Barnes (my grandparents);

• Bill's mother, “Mrs. Barnes”, Bethia Augusta (Clapp) Barnes, who had died on 6 February 1928--only five days before Georgianne started the diary;

• Vernie and Bill’s children, Priscilla (my mother), Louise, Billy, and twins Abbie and Anne, whose ages ranged from three to thirteen;

So far I have not been able to ascertain the identity of “Nolan.”

Jones family photos are rare. I have one that could be of Frank, but all it says, in my grandmother's handwriting, is "Uncle Frank 1920". He looks older than 22 to me, and is dressed in a fine suit, which seems exaggerated given his occupation as clerk. She usually labelled people by how they related to her, so it's odd that she'd call him "Uncle Frank." As far as I know she didn't have an Uncle Frank, though, so perhaps it is, indeed, him.

The diary is almost a stream of consciousness, which is why I love it. I’m including a few of her entries below to give you a feel for it. It is too long to include in its entirety, but when I get my act together, I will upload it to my website.

Detail of above, Georgianne (Hagerman) Jones
Born 3 Feb 1868, Queensbury, York, New Brunswick
Died 3 June 1932, Lawrence, Essex, Massachusetts


Feb. 11th 1928 

Mrs. Barnes [speaking to her daughter's mother-in-law]

you have gone to your beautiful home over there. I have been thinking of you ever since you passed on

First you was always good, sweet and good to everybody. Always wore a smile and dear Frank liked you and you was good to him and all the boys and to all of us.

I know you are happy
Just gone on before
Through the open door
Where all the love ones met
you and I hear the soft
Murmur. Ah so happy so happy 

Feb. 11th 1928

Ah spirit of light that has
guided you right
be though of good cheer
knowing we are here
sending rays of light
Around you day and night
ah though spirits we arte
to be attuned with the great divine
spirit until we shall rise above

all the trying and grey condirations. Each day may we ask guidance for that day. When the day is done give thanks for something good that has been done.

Knowing that God is lone power and strength sufficient for all needs. For all times and places. giving thanks at the end of the day

call all the wise spirits that you can each day at your command. Then soar in heights unknown until you are healed in mind soul and spirit heading back to earth that you have received in the silence when you ask and then receive, give thanks. Ah, though great divine spirit and loved ones that come close to me I give thank for the prayer that you answered when I said save my boy, the loved one of earth now in spirit. Who am I, so small, that

you heard the call and answered. Again I bow my head in thanks trying and believing that I will see that. I remain good and true always guided by truth love and have faith in thee.


march 12th 1928 

a letter from Frank was shown to me this morning. This is what it appeared to me. 

Dear Ma

I am alright and happy. Think of me just away doing well and that you will hear from time to time from me. Always thinking of home and love for all, hoping you will be as happy as you can be feeling in the space and time on rejoicing that I have gained a new place; not a stranger in a strange land but many faces. I see that seem to know me. And they lead me and guide me, with the thought always before me that I will be able to come into the home and you will know. And then I can help you. So don’t think it was a great sorrow that you have to dwell in but a great gain for you and me. Listen, Ma Dear the best place yep. Keep on thinking that yes, I see you. I went with you to see his mother. Keep on. Don’t turn to the right or left. Keep straight ahead. They would harm shall stand just where they are. Yes, poor Pa, I see him. I know when he thinks about me. I will (----) again like Clousy [Clowes] from Florida. Cecil heard me. Ernest thinks about me. I with he was happy now. He will soon be working. Better days are showing ahead

love oh love love


P.S. Bill, Vernie and all of them, I think of them and all the old times. Tell Vernie don’t cry, Vernie everything is all right. Good night.


March 13th 1928

Dear Ma

No time, no place, just a great big place, always on the move. Always something new. I was glad everyone received my message. All but Clousy. It seems like collecting all your thought on one big whole. I am beginning to know and understand. I am not sorry it all happened as it did. It seemed like floating. Now I know. Don’t be sorry for anything. Just listen and I will be around. I wouldn’t want to be back in the old way. But glad I know that I can come into the home. The circle will never be broken. I am and will be one of you. That will be seen later. Of all the wonders that I passed through sometimes it seemed like being on a great wave that was always on the move. There came times when I could see through. Sometimes I would see you all--Sad- And I wished you could see it as it was, not with doubts and downcast. You heared me saying, Of course not. I could vibrate that and thought if I could of that I would be able to get something more through. I have heard ringing. something like this: The winds and waves, they shall all obey thy will. Peace. Be still. It sounded great. Something like the radio. There is a great wave that will wash over you. Then all old things will be washed away. Everything will be new. Remember I am alright. Just keep on to the end of the way. I will come nearly every day. Will go with you someday. I have no fear. Good ahead.

Love, Ah love


From out of the Silent throng 

March 14th 1928 

Dear Mother

I come on the wave of the morning. You know I am not so far away. We don’t stand still. I haven’t got so very far but what I have learned is very clear and I am happy expecting something to be shown to me. I sense that I will see clearer and be able to get just a little farther. I was weary and my feet and legs bothered me so much that sometimes I go through again, but have been placed in the healing power class. I wonder sometimes how you learned it of knowing those things. There was no beginning you just tuned in. And I am going to find out a lot and tell you. Sometimes it’s light and sometimes clouded and shaky, but no grief. Know I think of you all, then I look and wonder, but will soon be so I will get it clear; the soldiers on the fields and the great white Pope that walked beside. You will get well and stand before the people as you have been told you would. I have a lot to work out yet but am happy you know. Yes love oh love


from a land that knows no sorrow

I can feel her pain right in the pit of my stomach. The poor woman managed to calm herself this way, and at the same time, gives us an extremely personal peek into her heart. It's so touching. 

1. Massachusetts, Department of Public Health, Deaths, 1927, Lawrence, reg. no. 1056, Franklin D. Jones, 4 December 1927; certified copy issued by the Bureau of Vital Records and Statistics, Columbia Point, Boston, Mass.