Wednesday, October 31, 2007

5 Question Challenge Continues

Juliana has another installment of the 5 question challenge

What is your favorite book and why? This one is actually easy. I'd have to say The Bible. It's because it's God's Word to us and is as relevant today as when it was written.

What is your favorite movie and why? The Sound of Music. I love musicals--always have, always will. This one is one I could watch over and over.

Where is your favorite place in the world and why? This is a tough one. If you ask me one day, I'd say one place. If you ask me another, I'd say something else. I love the Great Smoky Mountains because they are so beautiful. I love Charleston's charm and history. I love Boston. Flying in over the harbor there was breathtaking. There is so much history there. I love Cincinnati. It was my home for many years. I could go on and on and on. I think overall though, I'd have to say the Great Smoky Mountains. They just draw me.

What is your favorite time of day? Are you a morning person, an afternoon person, or a night owl? There are certain hours that I wish I only saw once in a day. Let me give you a hint. They aren't the morning ones. In the summers when I can be, I'm a night owl. The rest of the year, I have to try to adjust my schedule, but it isn't easy!

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas - because I usually see lots of family members that I don't see other times of the year.

Light Blogging This Week

I'm not saying that I won't post anything, but I'm rather busy this week so I may not have time to post much. We had the "Fall Festival" at church tonight. I was supposed to be on the registration desk for 30 minutes, but that turned into 2.5 hours. That's okay though. I got to see all the kids dressed up!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Great Pumpkin

Earlier tonight I asked my cat if he was looking forward to a visit from the Great Pumpkin tomorrow night. I don't know what brought childhood memories of watching Charlie Brown to mind, but I did. I was curious as to whether there was a Wikipedia article for the Great Pumpkin, and indeed, there was.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The answer's out there . . . somewhere

Earlier this evening, I was working with a student who was checking out some books on the Witch Inquisition in England. I mentioned to him that I had an 8th great grand aunt who was one of the Salem Witches. He said that he had wanted to do his paper on the Salem witch trials but couldn't find enough information. As someone who has used our library to find information on this subject, particularly as it applies to my 8th great grand-aunt, I was astonished he "couldn't find anything" because we have quite a bit of information. (Of course, it's possible that someone else had those books checked out, but we have so many that I'd think some would have been available.) So often students think that "the library doesn't have anything on that" when it may simply be that they aren't using the terminology that catalogers use to describe items or because they aren't looking at broader, narrower, and related terms. Sometimes they aren't aware of additional sources that may be wonderful resources such as the Evans Early American Imprints database which would have given him some wonderful resources, some of them dating to the time of the trials.

I began to wonder how many genealogical researchers give up simply because they can't find something. We hear of courthouses making discoveries of old documents that they didn't know they had from time to time. Perhaps that record we needed was among those undiscovered documents. Perhaps we think we are looking in the right place, but we didn't realize that location was in a different county at the time or perhaps the records were transferred to a different location.

As genealogical researchers, we must not give up on the quest. We need to ask the right questions of the right people to find the results we need.

I was a county coordinator and state coordinator for the USGenWeb Project for many years. I could always tell who the newby researchers were because their queries lacked focus. We need to learn to be specific about the information we are seeking. Perhaps we need to say, "I'm trying to determine the year that Great Uncle Bob moved from County X to County Y. He was here in the yyyy census, but not the yyyy one. I thought the land records might show me when he moved." Perhaps the records will cooperate and tell us the information we need to know, but the person you ask might say: "If you don't find it there, you might want to check the tax lists" or "Did you know that County Y was a part of County X until yyyy? Perhaps your ancestor never moved." If the researcher had just said "I need to look at land records," he might not have received the helpful piece of advice from the other person.

We'll probably still have a lot of unsolved mysteries, but we can keep pursuing the truth.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

DNA and Genealogy

The 35th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is being hosted by the Genetic Genealogist who is offering to analyze various genealogical mysteries which we think may be solved by DNA testing. The complete call for submissions is at the end of the 34th carnival.

As one who has had her brother's DNA tested in hopes of getting through a brick wall and instead of finding a common ancestor finding three more lines brickwalled in the same general location, I'm hesitant now to say that it is always going to be useful; however, I can see several things that might help us on researching that Thornton line if the right persons were tested. For example, we've always wondered if the David Thornton line of Fayette County, Alabama is related to the Richard Thornton line of Fayette and Walker Counties. If a male Thornton from David's line were to be tested, we would have a little more than similar naming patterns and an obvious economic disparity from which to make our observations. One researcher has tried to connect us with another group of Thorntons in the Tuscaloosa County area. This is a nearby county and certainly a good case could be made, but it is all circumstantial, and one can equally make a case against this scenario. The problem: I don't know a male Thornton who descends from these lines. All my contacts on these lines have been with females with other surnames and with whom I've lost contact because of e-mail address changes over the years. In the meantime, I'm working on documenting these other three lines back to the Carolinas where we are all stuck in hopes that I'll make a discovery that will get us past the brickwall.

I really am more intrigued right now with a mtDNA analysis. It's my understanding that this can tell you something about one's mother's mother's mother's mother and her ethnicity. This person for my mother (who is still living) would be Betsy Murry who is rumored to have Native American heritage. I can definitely place her husband in Indian lands in Georgia. My question for the Genetic Genealogist is whether I should convince my again mother to be tested or whether I could do the test. I would also want to know how likely I would be to determine that there is or is not Native American heritage in the matrilineal line with the mtDNA tests. There are different levels of mtDNA tests offered by Family Tree DNA. Which of these would be adequate to offer the information I desire and which would be best?

Football in the SEC

One of my colleagues asked me the other day if I thought Mississippi State (of which he is an alumnus) had a chance against the Kentucky Wildcats this year in football. He explained that it used to be that the 'Dogs could always count on winning two games a year--Vandy and Kentucky. I told him: The one thing I've observed this year in the SEC is that anything is possible this year. Today, the Bulldogs won.

The traditional Georgia vs. Florida match is on now. Later this evening is Spurrier vs. Fulmer (for those who don't know the coaches: South Carolina vs. Tennessee). I'm wearing my Vols orange and cheering for the Vols.

Update (7 p.m. ET): Yes, anything is possible. It is now evident that Georgia will be defeating Florida in the next 1 minute 27 seconds (football time).

Blog & News Post Round-up

I have one satirical political site among the feeds I regularly read. I think all of us have felt that sometimes Congress has a little "too much business". I got a kick out of this post.

I love the magazine cover on Amy's post that tells us how we can opt out of unwanted catalogs. Sounds like an interesting service!

Shorpy has some great vintage photos. This one is one of my recent favorites.

A cute little chick.

A piece of Anderson County, Tennessee history -- The Briceville Opera House.

Country singer Kenny Chesney has been in a little trouble with Vols fans lately who fear he's become a traitor. He tries to dispell those rumors.

Jack Neely remembers the Knoxville World's Fair. (It's the 25th anniversary.)

In honor of Hallowe'en: 25 Haunted New England Inns (complete with photos and stories). None of them were in Rhode Island. Does that mean that Roger Williams and the Baptists kept them out of that colony?

The $100 hamburger?

How Reliable Is That Secondary Source?

One of the most interesting blogs that I read regularly is Boston 1775 written by J. L. Bell. A recent post of his talks about a story that Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote about a Revolutionary War soldier. It is a most interesting story that teaches us to be careful when using secondary sources.

Did Great Great Grandma Own a Spinning Wheel?

The answer according to the Tennessee Civil War Veterans' Questionnaire filled in by my Great Grand Uncle Charles Newton Harris is yes. Genealogue has a post that reveals why your ancestor probably only had one shirt.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Blog Roundup

I'm tired. We just had "Mystery in the Library" tonight. It was a very long day at work, and I was on my feet non-stop almost all afternoon.

Dave tells about the Woolly Worms predictions for this winter.

A very unusual flavor of croutons.

Janice tells us all about body snatching in New Hampshire.

A stolen base leads to a free taco!

And now, I'm off to bed. I'm too tired to stay up!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wonderful Depiction of Town History

It's a a bicentennial quilt for Granville, Massachusetts (along with a few other quilts in the top photo).


Maggie Reads' review of High Cotton reminded me of the tales I've heard about picking cotton. Apparently back in the 1930s, families in Monroe County, Mississippi would send out kids who would pick cotton all day for some pitiful amount which back then seemed like a lot because every penny counted. Fortunately someone developed a "cotton picker" that wasn't a human being. When I was small, there used to be a few cotton fields even inside the city limits. There was a cotton gin on the south side of town on the road down to Becker. I enjoyed watching the trailers with the cotton pull up to gin as we went down the road to my grandfather's. I always wanted to know exactly what they did with the cotton. My only experience with cotton was in the form of cotton balls (which we now call "cosmetic puffs"). I saw it growing and understood that it wasn't as clean as what we got in the bags at the store, but I had no idea what they did to "clean" it. It was some years later (probably when I was in elementary school) before I realized that same cotton was used to make fabrics for clothing. Nowadays the cotton fields of Mississippi have been replaced by catfish farms. One of the fields inside the city limits now is home to ball fields. The cotton gin on the edge of town is closed. I've been told there is only one gin operational in the entire county. The garment industry which was once thriving has been outsourced to Asian countries where labor is cheaper (but quality is poorer). People have no concept of what a "cotton pickin'" minute is because they know nothing about picking cotton.

I invite you all to post your "cotton pickin'" comments!

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Few More Photos from Today

Taken near Gatlinburg inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This photo was taken at the Sugarlands Visitor Center inside the National Park at Gatlinburg.

A mountain stream at the Chimneys Picnic Area.

Wildflowers at Newfound Gap on the Tennessee/North Carolina border.

Wildflowers at Newfound Gap on the Tennessee/North Carolina border.
To see additional photos, visit my Photobucket album.


On October 13, I was on top of the highest point in Morristown, Tennessee. This is the view of town from that vantage point.

5 More Questions

In honor of Family History Month, this week's 24-7 Family History Circle questions deal with family.

  1. How has a member of your family influenced you? Where do you begin to answer a question like this? How have they not?
  2. How often did you see extended family (e.g., aunts, uncles, cousins), and what was it like when you all got together? The Thorntons had a big family reunion fairly often. I don't recall being overly fond of the reunions as a child. With the other families, it was only when we drove for visits or an occasional reunion.
  3. What kind of traditions did/does your family observe? Were there special ways you celebrated birthdays? Holidays? We celebrated the Christian holidays--Christmas and Easter. We opened gifts on Christmas day.
  4. Did your family have pets? I had cats and dogs. Unfortunately my neighbor's dog was usual the demise of my cats. I even had a goldfish after I won it at the fair until it died a few days later.
  5. What foods did you family enjoy? Was there a special dish that was always on the table at family get-togethers? We enjoyed food period. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was usually turkey and dressing with all the trimmings. For Easter, it was usually ham. Whenever someone in the family died, everyone from the community brought in food. We used to joke with one of my cousins who could eat anything and still be skinny and with one of my brothers about their portion size. We had portion sizes named after them!

Fall Foliage in the Smokies

I spent the early part of the afternoon driving through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I started in Gatlinburg and went over to Cherokee. I ran into a little rain (and a lot of fog) before I got to the highest elevations. These are just a few of the more than 100 photos I took today.
Gatlinburg, as seen from the Gatlinburg Overlook, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Foliage at the tunnel on the Tennessee side of the mountain.

At Newfound Gap along the Tennessee/North Carolina state line.

Some of the best foliage was on the North Carolina side of the mountain. At this overlook, every photographer with his or her tripod was quite busy taking in the scenery.

The Mingus Mill near the park visitor center in North Carolina.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Night Roundup

Added to my wish list: Schulz and Peanuts (reviewed by Robb on the Ann Arbor District Library Blog)

On the anonymity of the Web.

The t-shirt most of us can relate to in the next couple of months.

In praise of tatting.

I want a piece of that sweet potato pie.

I wish our leaves in East Tennessee were as pretty as those in North Carolina. (see also this previous post)

Why would anyone want one of these?

Another Interesting Ancestor

Last night, I was exploring Google Books. I began by searching for some stuff on my Ward family. My ancestor, Rev. Nathan Ward, was married to Tamasin Ireland. (1) Tamasin's father was Abraham Ireland. (2) While trying to find more information on Abraham Ireland, I came across a most curious story in a juvenile non-fiction work. "Fourteen-year-old Abraham Ireland of Charlestown wrote a contract for his soul in 1685. The court ordered him to be whipped, not for being a witch, but for making such a dangerous invitation to evil spirits." (3)

Naturally, I began to wonder if this was my Abraham. My Abraham died 24 January 1753 and was 81 years old at the time of his death. (4) This would mean that he was born about 1671, making him fourteen in 1685. While I cannot yet prove that there is not another fourteen-year-old Abraham Ireland living in Charlestown, it seems likely that this is my ancestor. I would love to find the court records for this since my documentation is resting on a work of juvenile non-fiction without source citations. I find it curious that the daughter of a person who "sold his soul to the devil" would marry a Congregational minister and be the "devoutly pious woman" described by Cogswell. (5)

(1) William Cogswell, "Congregational Churches and Ministers in Rockingham County," The New Hampshire Repository: Devoted to Education Literature and Religion, vol. 2, no. 1 ( October 1846), p. 104; digital images, Google Books ( accessed 18 October 2007).

(2) William Richard Cutter, editor, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910), vol. 1, p. 229; digital images, Google Books ( accessed 18 October 2007). D. Pane-Joyce in his documented genealogy on the Family of Joseph Ward & Esther Kenrick published at cites Charles Martyn's The William Ward Genealogy: The History of the Descendants of William Ward of Sudbury, Mass., 1738-1925 as the source for his claim that Abraham is Tamasin's father. I have not examined the latter.

(3) Marilynne K. Roach, In the Days of the Salem Witchcraft Trials (2003), p. 22; digital images, Google Books ( accessed 18 October 2007). An attempt to locate a 2003 version of this book in WorldCat ( was unsuccessful; however, there is an edition published in 1996 by Houghton Mifflin of Boston.

(4) Cutter, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, 1: 229.

(5) Cogswell, "Congregational Churches and Ministers in Rockingham County," p. 104.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Why is the nearest one 30 miles away (inside the Bass Pro Shop at Kodak) when I'm in need of a cup of java and too tired to drive there?

Carnival of Genealogy #34

As usual, Jasia has done an excellent job with this edition of the carnival. The topic was anythign related to Halloween. There are a lot of excellent articles among the submissions. The next carnival will focus on DNA. Full details are at the end of this edition.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

5 Questions About Home

Juliana's 5 questions for this week are about home.

  • What was your room like when you were growing up? Did you share it or did you have your own room? What did it look like?
  • There were 2 twin built-in beds with underbed storage in the room up until I was about 13 when we remodeled and I got a full bed set (which I still use) in there and the twin beds were torn out.
  • Did you have a backyard? A garden? Did you grow fruits and/or vegetables?
  • There was a big back yard, a big side yard, and a big front yard! When I was little, we used to play ball in the side yard. My brothers played football over there when I was even younger! Mom planted a few tomatoes and sometimes a watermelon vine but the real garden was at Pappaw's house until his death.
  • Did you have a secret hiding place?
  • Not that I remember.
  • What household chores were your responsibilities?
  • Different things at different times. Cooking was the one I liked best! I cooked supper most of the time through high school.
  • In what room did your family gather most? Was it in the living room or around the kitchen table? What did you do there? Sing? Talk about the day? Watch T.V.? Tell stories?
    The living room. We mostly watched TV. Around the holidays there was usually a jigsaw puzzle set up. Sometimes we had them at other times of the year. I sang. My piano was in there. Later we had a den where we watched TV. The piano was still in the living room though.

Monday, October 15, 2007

World War II

There's a new government document out entitled Finding Personal Participation in World War II. It looks like it will be a very helpful resource in determining the types of sources held by NARA.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blog Round-up October 14

Shawn talks about the latest volume of The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. It's on one of my favorite subjects--food.

Speaking of food, I've never had an ox sandwich, but I'd try one if given the chance. That sounds like a fun festival in York, Maine.

Keeping on the subject of Maine, The Hermits of Moosehead by Chris is a good read.

For an interesting photo, see Ana's Dark and Stormy Morning. For a good laugh, check out Marie's photo of Harley. If you want to take better photos, this post claims it will help you in 60 seconds. (via Lifehacker) Frankly, it took me longer than 60 seconds to read the post. It would take even longer to absorb it all.

And now, to borrow a phrase from Bill O'Reilly, for the most ridiculous item of the day: It's cruel and unusual punishment for inmates to sleep on a mattress on the floor. (Hat tip to Instapundit) Make sure you read the comments--you were probably thinking some of the same thoughts!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Musings on the Big Genealogy Bloggers

I just noticed that a major genealogy blogger just took a posting from another big genealogy blogger and did not offer a link to that blog in any way. Now, to give some credit to the blogger, he did not repeat the wording of the other blogger verbatim. He just took the story without offering a "tip of the hat." I've also noticed this same major genealogy blogger has not given credit to several of us smaller genealogy bloggers over the last few months and years. While it's not necessarily plagiarism, it's not exactly ethical when one's sources are not cited!

Why is it that many of the big players in genealogy blogging are so afraid of sending a little traffic to another blogger? One of the most successful political bloggers is Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit. His links to other bloggers, both the big bloggers and the lesser known bloggers, are so legendary that there is even a term to describe the surge that occurs when a person receives a link from his blog. It's called an "Instalanche." It's a win-win situation for Reynolds and for those to whom he links. Glenn keeps people coming to his blog because they know he's going to offer them interesting links and commentary. The other bloggers win because they get exposure and pick up new readers on a regular basis. Why do some of the major genealogy bloggers seem to think that blogging is a competition for business and try to gain a monopoly? The very nature of blogging is that it is social! "Social" implies networking, and there's no better way to network in genealogy than to provide links to other blogs. While adding blogs to one's blogroll is a way to make a lasting link to those blogs that you read on a regular basis and which are similar in content to your blog is one way to do this, just giving a "hat tip" to someone for having it on their blog and calling it to your attention is another way to do this.

It's time to end the competitive, monopolistic attitudes that are out there. Let's help one another. It can be a win-win situation for all of us, but most of all for our readers.

Nearing Extinction

This is not a post about an endangered biological species. According to an article posted at, record stores, newspapers (at least in paper format), and used bookstores are facing extinction. Remnil at the Ann Arbor District Library blog thinks that the independent bookstore is in more danger than the used bookstore. I've noticed the doors shutting on lots of record stores as MP3s become the medium of choice for music lovers. (Should we even call them record stores? Very few of them have "vinyl" anymore.) I can also see the change in the ways that news is being delivered; however, I have a little bit of hope that small community papers might actually survive. The Sunday paper might survive longer than the weekday paper if they would give it a shot! As far as used bookstores, I see no decrease in their popularity in the Knoxville area. I think some of the smaller ones might not survive, but the larger ones like McKay's in Knoxville seem to still be thriving. Independent bookstores are becoming less plentiful in the days of Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. I think there are some markets where these can still survive with careful marketing and with targeting special audiences. (At least, I hope they will survive.) I will admit that I buy most of my new books online but it's because I'm only aware of two bookstores in Morristown. One of those is small and in the mall way on the other side of town. I don't go to the mall that often. (I much prefer the newer malls that are more like shopping centers where you can go to a single store without having to hope you can find a parking place close to the entrance closest to the store you want to visit and hoping you remembered exactly where the store is.) The other is the Christian bookstore. I do go there some, but they don't sell history books or mysteries (except for a handful of Christian mysteries) which are the two categories of books from which I purchase the most new books. Although I love Borders and Barnes & Noble in Knoxville and Books-A-Million in Sevierville, it's far easier and usually cheaper to just order them online. There are even a couple of independent bookstores I like in Knoxville. I really don't want to see bookstores of any type extinct.

One bright spot from the article . . . telemarketing calls are also on the extinction list!

Interesting Posts

It seems that everyone has been offering roundups of some of their favorite posts. Here are a few posts that I've found interesting:

Taneya describes an 1873 cholera outbreak in Nashville.

Amish America describes the differences in shunning among different groups of Amish.

Chris at All Things Maine tells about the Maine Colony at Jaffa. He even quotes Mark Twain.

Thursday's Mass Moments describes the purchase of Brook Farm by a group of Utopians. This post mentions Hawthorne, Emerson, and other well-known writers. While you are there, also check out Wednesday's post about the Snow Hurricane.

In the "Just for Fun" category, I always love to read see what Muddy and his feline companions are up to in Blogging Cat. This week's post about the leaky faucets reminded me so much of my cat Brumley who used to adore the drip I had in Cincinnati.

For some seasonal beauty, make sure you check out these:

Marie Freeman of Blue Ridge Blog: "I use my gas so you don't have to." (I know my cousin Terry has already mentioned this one, but it's really worth checking out.)

Amy Kane at Atlantic Ave.: "Along the Harbor."

Les Fierbaugh at From These Hills: "Carry It With You"

Blue Ridge Dreaming: "Wordless Wednesday #20--Fall"

Celebrating Scottish Roots in Ohio

I found a rather interesting article about a Scottish heritage celebration this weekend in Middletown, Ohio. The three Presbyterian churches are celebrating the Presbyterian Church's Scottish heritage. I'm curious about that Kirkin of the Tartans service. It is described thusly.

The service, which includes a calling out of the Scottish clans followed by a
call for those in the clan of God - the entire congregation - to join, is an
American tribute to the Scottish immigrants who brought Presbyterianism to the
New World.

Apparently, the big Covenant First Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati will be having a similar service next weekend.

Update: Just noticed that this was my 500th post!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Boston Tea Party

Boston 1775's post about the Boston Tea Party reminded me of a learning experience I had in the last few years. When I was a child and heard about the Boston Tea Party, I just always assumed that in those crates were a bunch of tea bags. I didn't really think they were in little Lipton boxes or anything inside the crate, but I did assume that the tea was in bags. I don't know why I assumed that because I remember that my grandmother always made tea using loose tea and an aluminum acorn-shaped tea ball infuser. As I got older, I realized that tea probably wasn't in the bags so I assumed it was loose. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine and I were touring an historic home when we were shown a tea brick. The one we saw was more like the 2nd and 3rd photos on the entry than the first. The docent explained that this was the same type of tea that had been used in the Boston tea party. Both of us were rather surprised. We'd never seen such a brick. We were allowed to hold it, and believe me, both of us examined it rather closely. I no longer envision tea bags floating in Boston Harbor. Now I see the staining of the harbor with those bricks that may have sunk or floated before finally being "used up."

Memories of Hallowe'en

I understand that my first adventure in trick or treating came when I was still quite young. One of the neighbor kids came to the door to trick or treat. When I told him, "Let my do it," my Mom decided it was time to take me out. I was probably only a couple of years old at the time. Later I remember going with several of the other kids in the neighborhood. We'd go all over town. My mom would usually take us through our neighborhood and maybe out to the Easthaven and Meadowbrook subdivisions. Then we'd con Mrs. Baker into taking us through some others. Sometime in the midst of these visits we'd usually visit the community center where the carnival was going on. It was very similar to the carnival in Fulton that Bob described. There was bobbing for apples, a cakewalk, lots of candy, a bake sale, and fun entertainment. Miss Louise Davis, my third grade math teacher, always dressed as a witch on Hallowe'en, and she looked just like one to those of us who saw her dressed that way. She lived in an old two-story house between Amory and Smithville. I remember going there one year to trick or treat. It looked just like we were approaching a real haunted house. I fully expected the house to be full of cobwebs and have a black cat. I think the black cat was present! The one house we always wanted to make sure we went to was Mrs. Hodo's house. We'd go say, "Trick or treat." TRICK is what we always got. She'd have some "body" lying in a dark room and have us reach down and pick up its eyeballs. (These were grapes.) It really spooked us as little kids. However, the payoff for enduring the trick was a wonderful caramel or candy apple so we always put up with it.

I got to enjoy "trick or treating" a little longer than some because after my sister-in-law died and my nephew was around our house, I would take him out in the neighborhood. If he was still interested in trick or treating, we'd go to Easthaven or Meadowbrook, but he wasn't quite old enough at that point to endure the fright at Mrs. Hodo's house.

We'd always carve a jack-o-lantern. My mom would make pumpkin pie which was always a treat.

I really had no idea about the darker side of Hallowe'en back in those days. I knew that our parents wanted us home before it got too late so we had to be back by about 9 p.m. back then. They've shortened trick or treating hours in recent years, but back then people would start as soon as it got dark which was after 5 p.m. Central and between trick or treating and the carnival at the community center, we'd stay out until about 9 p.m. If Hallowe'en fell on a Sunday, we'd usually go trick or treating on Saturday. I believe that trick or treating was on Tuesday if Hallowe'en fell on a Tuesday because most of our town's church-going folks would not have participated if it were on Wednesday night. There were a lot of folks in those days that believed in being in church every time the doors were open. It's a sad commentary that we don't have that kind of commitment nowadays.

Our yard was one of the fortunate yards that rarely, if ever, got rolled. However, I know that as we went around town, we'd find evidence of mischievous folks who'd spent a lot of money on toilet paper. (Well, maybe not that much because you could buy those huge rolls of Scott tissue that felt like sandpaper for about 10 cents a roll. Rolling yards was (and probably still is) the only good use for that stuff.)

I know many families who don't allow their children to go trick or treating nowadays because they see it only as a Pagan holiday; however, I don't think it warped my friends or me. I never realized what the holiday really was. I knew there was mischief on that night--but to me in my innocence, the worst I saw was the yard-rolling and maybe a little grafitti. It was a night for fun and games and for lots of candy.

Update: I just have to show you all this post:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

From "The Tomb of His Ancestors"

As I was reclassifying some Rudyard Kipling books today, I found a short story entitled "The Tomb of His Ancestors" which described a visit to a grave in India:

They began the steep climb a little after noon, but it was near sunset ere they reached the stone platform clinging to teh side of a rifted, jungle-covered hill, where Jan Chinn the First was laid, as he had desired, that he might overlook his people. All India is full of neglected graves that date from the beginning of the eighteenth century--tombs of forgotten colonels of corps long since disbanded; mates of East Indiamen who went on shooting expeditions and never came back; factors, agents, writers, and ensigns of the Honourable the East India Company by hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands. English folk forget quickly, but natives have long memories, and if a man has done good in his life it is remembered after his death. The weathered marble four-square tomb of Jan Chinn was hung about with wild flowers and nuts, packets of wax and honey, bottles of native spirits, and infamous cigars, with buffalo horns and plumes of dried grass. At one end was a rude clay image of a white man, in the old-fashioned top-hat, riding on a bloated tiger.

Bukta salamed reverently as they approached. Chinn bared his head and began to pick out the blurred inscription. So far as he could read it ran thus--word for word, and letter for letter:

To the Memory of JOHN CHINN, Esq.
Late Collector of . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . ithout Bloodshed or . . . error of Authority
Employ . only . . eans of Conciliat . . . and Confiden .
accomplished the . . . tire Subjection . . .
a Lawless and Predatory Peopl . . .
. . . . taching them to . . . . ish Government
by a Conquest over . . . . Minds
The most perma . . . and rational Mode of Domini .
. . Governor General and Counc . . . engal
have ordered thi . . . . . . . erected
. . . arted this Life Aug. 19, 184 . . Ag . . .

On the other side of the grave were ancient verses, also very worn. As much as Chinn could decipher said:

the savage band
Forsook their Haunts and b . , . is Command
. . . . mended . . rals chick a . , st for
And . s . ing Hamlets prove his gene . . . . toil
Humanit . . . survey . . . . . . ights restore . .
A Nation . . ield . . subdued without a Sword.

For some little time he leaned on the tomb thinking of this dead man of his own blood, and of the house in Devonshire; then, nodding to the plains: "Yes; it's a big work--all of it-- even my little share. He must have been worth knowing. . . . Bukta, where are my people?"

"Not here, Sahib. No man comes here except in full sun. They wait above. Let us climb and see."

I found this to be a very interesting section of the story. They had the same problems with cemeteries being allowed to deteriorate. I loved the observation that was made that the ancestor was "worth knowing." Don't all of us as genealogists feel that our ancestors are that way?

Source: Kipling, Rudyard. "The Tomb of His Ancestors" in The Day's Work. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1911. The quote is from pp. 135-137. The entire short story is on pp. 109-153.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

New Goodies!

I ordered a couple of CDs from Heritage Books during their moonlight madness sale which arrived in today's mail. Both are CDs of probate records from New Hampshire. One is called New Hampshire Provincial Probate Records 1635-1771; the other is Abstracts of the Probate Records of Rockingham Co., NH 1771-1799 by Helen F. Evans. I've already begun to explore the first CD which basically contains volumes 31-39 of the New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers Series. I looked in the 1st volume on the CD (volume 31 of the series) and have already printed off 5 probate records dealing with my ancestors. There are also some instances where some witnessed things, are neighbors, or are prominently mentioned in other records in some way. However, I just went for the direct records on the first run through. I've got enough to keep me busy entering information into my database and citing it for awhile.

5 Question Challenge - Week 2

From 24/7 Family History Circle comes this week's 5 question challenge to genea-bloggers:

  • What was your favorite game when you were a child? Were you a board game enthusiast? A card shark? Or perhaps a kick-the-can kid?

I was definitely a board game enthusiast. I had a game that I liked from a fairly early age called Game of the States which was basically a board game with a map of the United States. You hauled stuff around the country in these little trucks. I think you had to make 3 deliveries to win. Later Monopoly was probably my favorite. However, I remember that a bunch of us kids pulled an all-nighter, starting at my house and moving to the neighbor's house later in the evening, on the night we learned to play Tripoley which used cards and poker chips. I would say we were either upper elementary or middle school age at the time, but that game caught our attention!

  • Did you play any particular games with your family as a child? Easter egg hunts? Thanksgiving Day football games? Scavenger hunts? Charades?

My brothers were older than me which meant my parents were older. I usually conned them into playing some board game with me, but the "family game" was Rook. Because it was played in pairs, I was probably a teen before I ever got to play it.

  • What were some fun places you visited as a child? Did your family go camping? Did you take family vacations? Was there a local destination that was a family favorite?

Most of the places that I visited growing up were camping trips. The exception would have been trips to visit family members somewhere. I remember visiting my cousin in Biloxi. We went to my aunt's house in Iowa every once in awhile. I got to go to Wisconsin a time or two when my cousin moved there. We went to Virginia when my brother got married. I even remember a trip to Bel Air, Maryland at some point before the wedding. My other brother was stationed in Wichita, Kansas and Homestead, Florida at various times so we visited those places too. In fact, I brought home a little black kitten from Wichita and named her "Wichita." We went to the Kiamichi Mountains of Oklahoma every summer to a family camp. A lot of the same families went every year so I made a lot of friends from all over the United States back then. We went camping in Florida, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and probably several states I'm just leaving out. The place we'd go if we just had a short weekend was Sardis Lake in Mississippi.

  • What activities did you do with family members? Did Grandma teach you to sew? Who taught you to cook? Did you go fishing with Grandpa? An uncle? Who coached your baseball team?

I liked to go stay with my oldest brother and his first wife when I was young. Sandy was wonderful with me and spent a lot of time with me. He pastored a small church so when they went visiting members I got to see country things I didn't experience as a town resident--things like chicken houses, tractors, horses, etc. I also liked to go over and play with a couple of people about my age. One of them had a pool table so I learned pool. One of my sisters-in-law taught me to do needlework. I don't really remember being taught to cook, but I cooked supper most of the time in high school because Mom didn't get home until around 7 p.m. I remember shelling beans at my Grandmother Thornton's house, but I wasn't very good and someone would always take over my pan before too long.

  • Did you enjoy watching professional sports? What was your favorite team? Do you have any special memories of sporting events?

I can't say that I watched sports that much as a kid. I know my family cheered for the Cardinals in baseball (or at least I had that impression). As long as Archie Manning was playing for the Saints, my family cheered for them. Later I remember being more of a Dallas Cowboys fan. My only memories of sporting events as a kid were the high school football games because we just didn't go to anything else. We'd usually have a bag of parched peanuts that we brought along with us.

Monday, October 08, 2007

LibraryThing updates book view

LibraryThing has made some changes to its book pages. While I'd gotten used to the old, I think I'll like the new better. I haven't had time to really use them for a long period of time, but I see some improvements that I'm already welcoming. You'll find my catalog at I've seen suggestions before that genealogists might use LibraryThing at some point as a means of requesting a lookup to see if a book is worth ordering on Interlibrary Loan via their local library or purchasing for themselves. I've seen no requests to date for lookups in my large collection of history and genealogy books, but I can certainly see that as an option some day to replace some of the tools such as "Books We Own."

Sunday, October 07, 2007

My First Job

Miriam over at Ancestories 2 has provided me something to blog about tonight! I just came in from church where I directed the 4th-6th grade choir, sang on the praise team during the evening worship service, and attended an extra choir rehearsal for our Living Christmas Tree. Needless to say, the brain muscles were getting a bit tired. I was delighted to see her questions related to "your first job" which would guide my blogging thoughts tonight.

My first job was at our church camp where I was a "staff" counselor. I was the canteen manager and wore a lot of other hats too although canteen manager was my official title. As I recall, they had a day in the spring before the summer where high schoolers could attend for training if they were interested in working for the camp. There really weren't that many of us who showed up, and I really was lucky because I think I got the best job of all! I had to make trips several times a week to the place where we got all the drinks and candy for the canteen to stock up. The canteen was open 2 or 3 times a day, and I usually had one helper during the really busy times to help sell our goods. Sometimes I served as the back-up lifeguard, particularly if we had swimming and lake activities going on at the same time. It was a perfect summer job. I remember serving as the dorm mom for the junior girls one year when they were short of women faculty one year. There were always junior girls who just weren't used to being away from home. We tried to help them get over that homesickness. The most fun thing about being a staff counselor were the kitchen raids at night. We'd also go for midnight swims, and I think we even went canoeing late one night. I did this for a total of about 3 or 4 summers. We didn't get paid much, but it was fun.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I'm Getting Very Hungry

I was just checking out Smokey Mountain Breakdown's Friday Food Porn post. All I can say is that I'm surprised Terry hasn't shared with us about the tradition of country ham and red eye gravy yet.

Update (10/6): As I went to sleep last night, I remembered that Terry had shared about hog killing and mentioned frying the ham. I just don't remember any red eye gravy in that article!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Carnival of Genealogy #33 - Weddings

. . . is posted at Creative Gene. The next carnival has a Halloween theme.

Busy Couple of Days

The last couple of days have been very busy for me. I got home around 10 p.m. last night after all of the things I had to do. It's almost 9 p.m. tonight, and I'm just getting in. The last time I looked at my blog feeds (which was this morning when I was teaching my class about blogs, blogging software, and blog aggregators) I had over 400 posts to catch up on. Now, some of these are newspaper feeds (and those posts are probably the majority of the ones in there), but I've got a lot of reading to do. I'm afraid to log into Bloglines tonight, but I can't wait to see what my friends have posted on their blogs. However, I doubt I'll make it through all my feeds!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

New Library of Congress Subject Headings of Interest

Here are a few of Library of Congress' latest additions and changes (approved September 19) to their subject headings which are of interest to family historians and genealogists:

  • D'Argent Lafrance family (related term: Lafrance family)
  • Delafontenelle family (used for La Fontenelle family)
  • Dgebuaże family (used for Dgebia family and for Dgebuadze family)
  • Dzurek family
  • Great Chebeague Island (Me.) (used for Cebeas Island (Me.), Chebeag (Me.), Chibidisco (Me.), Gebeag Islands (Me.), Gebeig (Me.), Great Chebeag Island (Me.), Great Jebeig Island (Me.), Great Sheebage (Me.), Gret Chebeag Island (Me.), Jebeig (Me.), and Jeebege Island (Me.); a broader term is Islands—Maine)
  • Holy Island (Ireland) (used for Iniscealtra (Ireland) and Inishcaltra (Ireland))
  • Lafrance family (related term: D'Argent Lafrance family)
  • Lichtenburk family
  • Marcanova family
  • MierosÅ‚awski family
  • Stoltz family (used for Stolte family)
  • Van Zee family (used for De Zeeuw family)
  • Vanderwall family (used for Van der Wal family, Vanderwaal family, Vanderwal family)
  • Watteville family (used for Wattenwyl family)
It would be easy to go look these up in the Library of Congress catalog to see what new library item caused the addition or change, but it would be more challenging to come up with these names in a census. Maybe the Genealogue will use some of these in challenges.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Seeing Double

My grandfather enjoyed trick photography. Here is a photo that he took of himself. Yes, there is only one person here. He cloned himself. I love the photo because it shows so much of the family's homestead. For a discussion of this type of trick photography, see Seeing Double: Cloning Humans with a Camera at the American Museum of Photography. My grandfather Irving Lantz was born in 1885. I estimate he is 25-30 in this photo so I would guess the photo was taken between 1910-1915.

5 Questions

October is Family History Month, and Juliana at 24/7 Family History Circle is providing a weekly set of 5 questions to help each of us tell our stories.

What was your favorite subject in school?

History. In the earlier grades, this was "social studies."

In what extra-curricular activities did you participate? Sports? Drama? Music? Academics?

Oddly enough, I didn't play sports in high school but I did play basketball in college. I played a lot of tennis back when I was in middle school and the early years of high school, but I was too afraid to try out for the team even though I was one of the top players in my class.

Drama - I was in "Ten Little Indians."

Music was always a big part of my life. I took piano from about second grade into high school. I played piano at church. Band for us started in sixth grade. I played flute and piccolo in the band through middle and high school. I played keyboards for stage band (or jazz band) as well. I sang in an ensemble at church, won a vocal scholarship to college, and even had full band scholarships if I'd gone to colleges I had decided against attending. I sang in the high school chorus one year, but taking more music classes meant that I could take less academic ones. I actually had planned to take physics that year, but I refused to take another class by the teacher who had been my chemistry teacher who couldn't teach. That's the only reason I took chorus that year--to avoid that teacher.

Academics - I was a member of National Honor Society and Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica.

Other clubs - I was a joiner. Like a lot of others, I joined just so I wouldn't have to sit quietly in homeroom and be bored out of my mind.

Did you go on field trips, and if so, what was your most memorable field trip?

I remember going to the Natchez Trace Parkway's visitor center in Tupelo in 4th grade. I still have a few pictures of that trip.

The later trips full of memories were band trips and Spanish trips. Oddly enough, I remember the trip we didn't make most of all. Our band was invited to perform for President Reagan's inauguration. We didn't go because our director didn't think we could fund that trip and the trip we made to Enid, Oklahoma every 4 years in the same year. If he'd asked us, we would have given up the Enid trip. That particular band director was not very popular. He came after the "Taylor and Cadden" years. We all loved Mr. Taylor and Mr. Cadden. This director was nothing like them. We made that trip to Enid (and a trip to Dallas as part of it), but those of us who were seniors and knew about the other invitation were always upset about the trip we might have made instead.

What teacher influenced you the most?

I'd have to say that Mr. Wilson (World History and American History) and Mr. Ortiz (Spanish I, II, and III) were my top teachers. Mr. Wilson brought history to life. Mr. Ortiz was a fun teacher who spent time getting to know us and invited us to his farm for hayrides and cookouts.

Did you buy a lunch at school, or bring one from home? What kind of lunchbox? What was your favorite lunch?

At various times I bought lunches as school. I usually brought one from home. I remember a Barbie lunch box at one point. Most of the time it was a plain black metal lunchbox with the curved top and a bunch of stickers or a paper bag later. I don't remember much about what I took as lunches, but I'd guess peanut butter and banana sandwiches were always popular with me. Later it was probably ham and cheese. Chips would have been a necessity. I also liked "Ding-Dongs" for dessert.