Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Swiss in Tennessee

Mark Rose has an interesting post about a Swiss group that settled in Grundy County. I had no ideas that we had Swiss in Tennessee. I know that my Swiss ancestors came by way of the Alsatian portion of the Palatinate to Pennsylvania and then Ohio and other parts.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Perpetual Speeder

When I visited Yahoo! this morning I saw a headline that captured my attention: Arizona Driver Gets 70 Speeding Tickets in Five Months. I immediately wondered why this person had not had her drivers license revoked long before she hit 70 tickets. (Actually I suspected it was a male until I read the article. My apologies, men, for making a false assumption.) Anyway, she appears to have always been running late for meetings with clients and just kept throwing away her tickets. Her fines could add up to $11,000 (I'm surprised it's not more) and she could lose her license. It sounds like they should require her to take "Driver's Ed" before she's allowed back on the road. I (like Glenn) am not a fan of those traffic light cameras, but I just can't imagine anyone being stupid enough to get 70 tickets in 5 months and toss them all in the garbage thinking they'd just "go away".

Friday, August 11, 2006

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Wow - I had no idea it had been so long since I last blogged. Anyway, I ran across an item on Marie's blog that is worthy of comment and linkage. It seems the local school has decided that students only need to go to the restroom 39 times a semester. That's going a bit to the extreme, punishing everyone when it is only the abusers who need to be disciplined.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Common Ancestor

LINK - This article talks about a common ancestor without offering a solution to the problem. If the author would just read the Bible, he would have the answer. I'm not even going to go back to "Adam" to solve this one. Noah, his wife, his 3 sons, and their wives were the only persons left on earth after the Flood. Therefore, the common ancestor would be Noah. (Of course, Noah can trace his ancestry to Adam.) The date recognized by most Bible scholars (at least Evangelical or conservative Bible scholars) falls withing the mathematical probability of the common ancestor as recognized in this article.

She Was Born a Moonshiner's Daughter

LINK - An interesting obituary for Hazel White of Wears Valley and Walland. It has a lot of local color in the article.

Hazel White was a moonshiner's daughter, born in Wears Valley in the days when the road surfaces were dirt and electricity was not yet universally available. . . .

Rest in Peace?

LINK - When a family buried its father, they discovered that Mom's coffin had been broken into and her remains disturbed.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"Digging Up Bones"

No, I'm not talking about the country song! Nathaniel Hawthorne's wife and daughter were disinterred from their graves in England and reunited with Hawthorne in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Massachusetts. I have read that Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter was inspired by one of the wives of Stephen Bachiler (or Batchelder), one of my ancestors. Disclaimer: The alleged "Hester Prynne" was not my maternal descendant, and I have not been able to verify this claim. This article claims that Hawthorne's own wife's independence can be seen in Hester. Maybe he had multiple inspirations for Hester?

Murder at Markham

Patricia Houck Sprinkle is a Christian author who has been picked up by major publishers. She is much better than your average Christian fiction author. My friend loaned me her copy of Murder at Markham. It appears to be part of a series featuring Sheila Travis, the widow of a diplomat to Japan. The book had enough red herrings to keep you guessing about its outcome. I was a little dissatisfied in the conversation on the last few pages of the book after the mystery had been resolved. I suspect that it was just a set-up to the next book in the series, but it "left you hanging". Overall, it's a pretty good read.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Family Vault

I've had this Charlotte MacLeod book for a number of years and finally got around to reading it. The Family Vault was full of unexpected twists and turns. It's one of the better who-dun-its that I've read in awhile. Many are quite predictable, but this one had enough red herrings to keep you second-guessing your conclusions. I will have to get the next book in the series!

Sweatiest City

Will Sullivan of the Picayune Item is disputing the rankings of the sweatiest city in the United States. He believes (and I concur) that New Orleans should have a higher ranking than it does. Will doesn't mention Charleston, South Carolina but it is close to New Orleans in heat and humidity. I do think New Orleans might be a little higher though.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Social Networks are Shrinking

Researchers have found that we have fewer close friends than pre-Internet generations.

Strange Product of the Day

This gives a whole new meaning to Jesus as the Great Physician.


Today I decided to make chocolate chip cookies. I mixed all the ingredients and then went to the cabinet to get my chocolate chips only to discover that I had none. I did what anyone would do in such a situation--I improvised. I had a bag of Andes Mint chips and used those. The taste was surprisingly good. I did decide to leave out the nuts though!

Friday, June 23, 2006

On the National Register . . .

LINK - St. Augustine is one of Northern Kentucky's oldest parishes, and it has now achieved National Register status.

Italy Trip Pays Off

LINK - Bonnie Fauver's trip to Termini paid big dividends in her quest for her roots. She plans to go back next year to add to what she has discovered.

Largest DNA Database?

LINK - MedGadget reports that Vandy Hospital has plans to develop the largest DNA database for medical purposes. I wonder if FamilyTreeDNA has the largest one otherwise? (via Instapundit)

Carlock, Illinois

These are photos from the town of Carlock in McLean County, Illinois. As a librarian, I had to take a photo of the library (which was closed over the lunch hour). I had discovered that Abe Lantz, my great grandfather, was postmaster of Oak Grove which became Carlock. I know this was not the post office at that time and that it was run out of his store. The last photo is of the Christian Church which is where the family attended after he married Laura Lucy Taylor. (He was Amish before that time, and Laura was Methodist.)

Denman Cemetery

These photos are from the Denman Cemetery near Carlock, Illinois. As you will be able to see, most of the graves are well-kept, with the exception of the Taylor family plot, which, of course, was my ancestral family. The photo of Stephen Taylor's stone had to be taken from the road below the cemetery as his stone faced the road and the growth around the stone made it impossible to take it from the cemetery. I also took a photo of the Taylor plot from the road.

Tired of Driving

I'm completely tired of driving (and living out of a suitcase), having been on the road most of the last month. Illinois drivers are the worst. I thought Atlanta was bad. Illinois has Atlanta beat hands down. In Atlanta, most folks drive about 80-85. In Illinois, they drive about 90-95 (except in the inner parts of Chicago where it is stop and go).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

McLean County, Illinois

Today I visited some ancestral lands in McLean County, Illinois. I started my day at the courthouse where I discovered that it is a waste of time to go to the county clerk's office. I had decided to start my day at the courthouse because the Museum of History doesn't open until 10 a.m., and the courthouse opened 2 hours earlier. Basically I discovered that the county clerk only issues certified copies of marriages and that they cost $12. You can order a photocopy of the certificate from IRAD for less than that. The Museum of History has the microfilm available as well.

The other hassle in downtown Bloomington is that the parking is only for 90 minutes so you have to go move your car every 90 minutes. I had seen a parking enforcement guy when I parked the first time so I knew I'd better move in 90 minutes.

After visiting those, I made a trip to the Denman Cemetery where many of my Taylors are buried. Their graves are the ones nearest the road, but I discovered that someone needs to bring a weed eater to tend to their graves. The rest of the cemetery is well-kept. It's just my ancestors' graves that are in need of TLC. There were also some broken and missing markers in that corner of the cemetery. I'm pretty certain that my great grandmother's sister's grave is among those with lost markers. I didn't find it, and I looked through broken markers.

After that I toured the town of Carlock where my great grandfather had a dry goods store. It's pretty small, but I did see the church where the family attended.

I definitely need to make another trip to McLean County in the future, but my time was limited. I'm now in the Chicago area for the National Genealogical Society's Conference in the States.

I will try to upload photos of my McLean County trip sometime later.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Craving Greek Food

I've been craving a good gyro or souvlaki now for a couple of weeks. There are no good Greek restaurants near where I live. My craving just got worse when I read Taneya's blog today and discovered she'd been to a Greek Food Festival over the weekend. I plan to find a good Greek restaurant in Chicago while I'm there for the National Genealogical Society's Conference in the States.

Smart Idea

LINK - Schools in Kentucky are beginning to offer courses in Chinese. Some experts believe Chinese could very well become one of the main languages of business. Many of my colleagues believe that we should begin teaching Mandarin Chinese to all students in the first grade.

Tea Time

LINK - Charleston Tea Plantation, which was purchased by the Bigelow Family of tea fame in 2003, is open for tours again. I'd say this is a must on my next tour of Charleston. It's appropriate that the city which has America's only tea plantation is the setting for Laura Childs' tea shop mystery series. I read her latest installment in a single day last month. It is Blood Orange Brewing. If you have not read any of her tea mysteries, I recommend that you begin with the first in the series, Death by Darjeeling.

Courthouse Research

LINK - Here's another book to add to my wish list for the NGS conference coming up in a couple of weeks. Christine Rose has a new book on courthouse indexes. Dick Eastman is giving it very good press!

Summer Reading

I love Dottie Frank's books. Full of Grace is probably the one with the most profound Catholic message of the three. While I am Protestant rather than Catholic, I did appreciate the journey of faith in this book. I love the Charleston area and have really embraced Frank's books because of the setting. This one is set in Charleston and Hilton Head. One of the features I really enjoy are brief appearances by characters in her other books. We got to revisit the friends from Shem Creek briefly in this most recent novel.

Jaroslav Pelikan

LINK - Well-known Yale history professor Jaroslav Pelikan of Yale has died. I remember using some of his works for church history courses in Bible College and seminary long ago.

Monday, April 24, 2006

One Room Schoolhouses

LINK - Here's a story about a one-room schoolhouse that's been around since the American Revolution in New Hampshire. I guess I've always romanticized these relics of the past. Education Wonks questions the quality of the education children are receiving at these. Personally, I wonder if the education quality is not better because it is more personalized. There is a 1:18 teacher-student ratio. The community is close-knit and probably keeps better tabs on what is going on at the school. There is likely even more accountability. In this day and age, the teacher is going to have to be aware of all the standards and meet the state-mandated requirements anyway.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Paving Over Graves

LINK - In Wellington, Ohio, a businessman paved over two graves to make room for a parking lot. The headstones were saved and will be relocated. The graves belonged to Charles Seeley (d. 1880) and his wife Lucy (d. 1882). The owner has offered to exhume the graves and rebury the deceased if family members come forward.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

East Tennessee Historian Dies

LINK - Peter Hayden Prince, author of Ghost Towns of the Smokies, died earlier this week. He has an impressive resume.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Monday, April 03, 2006

I Hope This Prediction Holds True

LINK - I've been trying to find a new home that I would really like, but everything that is acceptable is priced just a little beyond what I feel that I comfortably afford. If home sellers do lower their prices 10% by fall, I might just be able to enjoy the "American dream."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Instapundit on Knitting

LINK - I never thought I'd see the day that Glenn would post on knitting. I don't knit. I actually would love to learn, but those self-instruction books do nothing for me. I just can't get the art of "casting on" mastered. I'll stick with cross-stitch, even if it might not be quite so "cool."

Back to Blogging

Sorry - I've been on "hiatus" for awhile. My life has just been very busy for the past 6 weeks or so. I should have more time after this weekend. This article caught my eye. As a college educator, I see more reports of plagiarism these days than we used to see where well-known persons are accused of taking someone else's work and passing it off as their own. This time it is the leader of a country accused.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Reinterpreting Curious George

LINK - I think some literary critics have nothing else to do so they dream up strange interpretations of children's classics! (Actually, they were probably desparate for tenure at some university so they used their imagination to crush a classic children's story.)

Friday, January 27, 2006


LINK - An interesting article - even talks about a male physician who knits. I can't seem to get the hang of "casting on" so I've give up trying to teach myself and will hopefully find a knitter who can show me the "ins" and "outs" of knitting sometime. In the meantime, I'll stick with cross stitch.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

East Tennessee Historic Registry Candidates

LINK - Three East Tennessee sites are under consideration for the historic registry: Miners' Circle Cemetery in Anderson County, St. Mark's Presbyterian Church in Hawkins County, and the Moore Family Farm in Hawkins County. [Free online registration required.]

Before the Tennessee House

LINK - A bill which would allow access to cemeteries on private property!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Back from Christmas Break

Okay, everyone, in case you couldn't tell, I decided to take a blogging break over our Christmas break. I'm back now. I waited until I got most things settled for the classes I teach to begin blogging again.

I went to the cross stitch shop today for the class on waste canvas. I'm stitching a snowman on a sweatshirt. I've learned that your stitches will not be as even as they are on evenweave cloth! It's also harder to "frog" with jersey knit. Fortunately, I only had about 10 stitches that had to be redone due to a miscount!

I went to Gulf Shores, Alabama on New Year's Day for overnight. I got to see damage inland from Katrina in Mississippi and Alabama and damage remaining on the Alabama Gulf from Ivan. It's amazing. Katrina also made the USS Alabama in Mobile a little lopsided, and they had cranes out there trying to get it upright again. I don't think I could have taken a look at the Mississippi Gulf. I have seen photos taken by folks who've gone down to help, and I cry and cry and cry. It's so sad!