Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day


Main Entry: leap year
Function: noun
Date: 14th century
1 : a year in the Gregorian calendar containing 366 days with February 29 as the extra day 2 : an intercalary year in any calendar

I don't know about you, but I just added another word to my vocabulary. I'll let you look up intercalary yourself!

I actually considered celebrating leap day by not posting, but I decided I should be able to come up with something even though my brain doesn't seem to be functioning much today.

Today has been a rainy day here in East Tennessee, although I understand they are getting more snow over in the higher elevations. It's close to 1400 feet where I live, but that's not high enough!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sevier County Genealogy Conference is Coming Up Soon

The Sevier County Genealogy Conference is March 7 & 8. Featured speakers include Steve Cotham of the McClung Historical Collection in Knoxville, Cherel Henderson of East Tennessee Historical Society, entertainer Whistlin' Bob Brittle, and nationally-known speaker J. Mark Lowe. A PDF registration form and a conference brochure are also available.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Technology - for Carnival of Genealogy #43

Here's the gist: What technology do you most rely on for your genealogy and family history research? Select one piece of hardware (besides your computer), one piece of software (besides your internet browser), and one web site/blog (besides your own) that are indispensable to you. Resist the urge to dilute the impact of your 3 choices by mentioning several others you use and appreciate as well. This is an exercise in appraising the technology you use/recommend the most.

Hardware: I would have to say that it would be my printer. Mine is getting dated, and I really need to replace it, but it's still working, and I don't really want to spend another $100 when it is working fine.

Software: Legacy Family Tree. I have used several different ones and have installed trials of others. In the long run, I always come back to it. I'm glad that I waited to get into genealogy until software programs were available, but I made the mistake of starting out on a very limited program.

Web Site/Blog: Janice has already chosen mine, but it was what I was intending to use, so I'm sticking with it--Google. Google is more than a search engine. I don't use their blog reader because I use another online one. I have used Picasa, their photo software. I love their books! Google Earth is another application they have. I'm not a huge fan of their applications (Google Docs, spreadsheets, etc.) but I'd use them in a pinch. They are just limited in their capabilities. I use their Gmail and Blogger. I've recently signed up for Google analytics. I'll see how it compares with others.

Runner-ups: My digital camera in the hardware category. Paint Shop Pro in the software category. in the web site category. (I hate to use a subscription site, but the truth is that my third and fourth choices would also fall into the subscription category as well.)

Roundup 2/27/08

Mark over at ThinkGenealogy has created a research process map. I printed it on landscape. Because it is a gif format, it doesn't print as clearly as other formats, but it's still readable. Others plan to laminate it. I think I'd want a higher quality image before I spent money laminating it. Still, it is useful and can be printed for personal use. Update: Mark just informed me that I missed the link to the PDF file that will allow you to print out a copy up to 11 x 17. Thanks for the update!

Nicole has a great-looking French dip sandwich that is made using your Crock pot®. They've been talking about the various names given to open-faced roast beef sandwiches on the APG list, and I'll have to confess that I'd rather have a french dip sandwich, especially one that looks as tasty as Nicole's, any day to an open-faced sandwich by any name!

Speaking of food, this looks truly southern--Krispy Kreme® cheesecake. While I can pick up these doughnuts at the local groceries, I'd rather get them at the places where the "hot" signs are on.

Also check out Terry's latest post in the cornbread war.

Legacy's blog has a great tip for those of us who use that software. We can include the alternate names in the index view.

Random House is giving away Charles Bock's Beautiful Children as a free PDF download until February 29. (Hat tip to Mainelife)

I blogged our snow this morning, but here is what it looks like in Maine. I wish we had a little more. We ended up with about an inch where I live; however, they had about 8 new inches over at Ober Gatlinburg, fourteen inches (and still snowing) at Newfound Gap, and over a foot and a half (and still snowing) at Mt. LeConte. There are reports of about 13 inches in the Glades area of Gatlinburg. There are pictures at the Knoxville News Sentinel's site submitted by their readers. Marie has posted what it's like in North Carolina.

I found myself laughing at political cartoonist Marshall Ramsey's comments on last night's Ohio debate.

Snow Day

I'm really surprised, but we actually got a snow day today. As you can see, the street were not much of a problem (at least around my house--and there was very little traffic to disturb anything on the road). This is looking from my front door. When I woke up, I checked the TV, my cell phone (for message alerts), and the college's web site because I really thought that we might be on a delay. There was no indication that a delay or closure had been called, so I went and took my shower and got dressed. I got back to the TV just as they were getting to our name alphabetically, and we were now listed as closed. I was surprised but grateful! I looked at Brumley and told him that I'd get to spend the day with him. He was very happy about that too. He'd take snow every day if it meant he'd have his pet human at home to play with him. Of course, the message had also been delivered to my cell phone by that time. I will say that it did snow a little more after this, and there is a second wave of snow that might (or might not arrive) that was over around Nashville a little earlier. I'd still like to have a bigger snow, but at least we did get the day off. Most of the other schools in the region were closed with the exception of Knox County schools. Our college and the community colleges were about the only colleges closed--or at least advertised as being closed. There were a lot of parents in Knox County who made a decision not to take their kids to school, some after starting out and getting most of the way there. Some of them said that they just didn't want to go pick the kids up after two hours.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More on Hamlin & John E. Andrus

I've identified their father as Loyal B. Andrus, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church who was born in Cornwall, Vermont in 1809. Their mother was an Ann Palmer according to most sources consulted. The Catherine listed as John E.'s mother appears to be a second wife for their father or John E.'s stepmother. I will post a fuller report with complete documentation after I've assembled all the sources into a good narrative. It may be the weekend before I have time to do that though!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Murder on Marble Row & the Andrus Murder Case

Last night, I told you all that I couldn't wait to get back to finishing up Victoria Thompson's Murder on Marble Row. It was a very engaging mystery in an historical setting. At the end of the book was a note on the author's inspiration for the book. It was an article in the New York Times from 1896 describing the bombing death of a wealthy man in his office. (I found the original article and linked to it.) Further articles reported the decision it was murder, the proposed inquest date, a report that there were no developments and lack of agreement between officials, an interim coroner's report stating he had not solved the case, and a report that the coroner's jury did not solve the mysterious death. The articles are about as fascinating as the book itself. In his will, he left an estate valued at about $200,000 to his wife. His brother John E. Andrus, died at age 93 in December 1934, leaving his estate to a charity he founded and to 10 family members. He was worth several million dollars at the time of his death. He had been president of Arlington Chemical Works where his brother Hamlin worked. They manufactured "peptonized foods." This appears to have been a method of making proteins more digestable for persons with who were ill or had "weak stomachs."

I located Hamlin's family in the 1880 Yonkers, Westchester Co., New York census. According to it, H. J. was a lawyer (age 31). This is a bit of a discrepancy if he was age 42 at the time of his death in 1896. I could not read the street name as it was very light, but he was residing at #64 on that street. According to the article describing his unfortunate demise, he resided at 68 Palisade Avenue in Yonkers. His wife in 1880 was Stella, age 25. He had a son Hiram, age 7; daughter Bonnie, age 2; and daughter Hattie, age 1. Two Irish servants, Catherine Jordan (age 28) and Mary Blye (age 19) were also residing in the household.

I located the family of John E. Andrus in the 1900 Yonkers, Westchester Co., New York census. John E. was born February 1841 in New York. His wife Mary was born in April 1847. Daughter Mary was born September 1871; son John E., Jr. in March 1883; son Hamilton F (other sources show his name as Hamlin F.) was born in March 1885; son Idea B. was born June 1887; daughter Helen W. was born August 1888. His mother Katherine was born in June 1821. Three servants were in the household--Cellia Butler who was born in New York to Irish parents in September 1867; Mary Mooney, an Irish woman who was born in May 1875; and Sina Nelson, a Norwegian woman born in July 1850.

This is an intriguing story, and I may have to spend a little more time tracking them down when I have time. There are a couple of things that don't initially appear to agree with the story regarding the relationship of Hamlin to John E. In the 1880 census, Hamlin lists his parents as having been born in Vermont. As nearly as I can tell in the 1900 census (it is quite light), it appears that John E. says his were born in Switzerland. Katherine (the mother) is listed though as having been born in New York, but she'd only been married for 18 years. Again, there are some discrepancies here that need further investigation.

I invite others to join me tracking down the Andrus family.

Sources consulted. (My apologies for possibly butchering the citations, but I don't have my copy of Evidence Explained with me at the moment. I think I'll get most of the correct info there.):

1880 U.S. Federal Census, population schedule, Yonkers, Westchester Co., New York, H. J. Andrus family, dwelling 270, family 470, sd 3, ed 134, p. 459A; NARA microfilm T9, roll 947;, accessed 25 February 2008.

1900 U.S. Federal Census, population schedule, Yonkers Ward 3, Westchester Co., New York, John E. Andrus family, dwelling 125, family 155, sd 3, ed 129, p. 10A (written) or p. 279A (stamped); NARA microfilm T623, roll 1177;, accessed 25 February 2008.

"The Andrus Inquest: Coroner's Jury Does Not Solve the Yonkers Bomb Mystery," New York Times, 14 November 1896, p. 6; New York Times,, accessed 25 Feburary 2008.

"Andrus Inquest To-Day: There Is a Possibility, However, of Its Postponement," New York Times, 26 October 1896, p. 1; New York Times,, accessed 25 Feburary 2008.

"Andrus Will Aids Charity He Began: 45 Per Cent of Estate Left to Surdna Foundation and Rest to 10 Relatives," New York Times, 5 January 1935, p. 13; New York Times,, accessed 25 Feburary 2008.

"Coroner Miles at Sea: Admits That He Has Not Cleared Up the Andrus Mystery," New York Times, 28 October 1896, p. 2; New York Times,, accessed 25 Feburary 2008.

"Man Shattered by a Bomb: Hamlin J. Andrus Killed in His Private Office," New York Times, 22 October 1896, p. 1; New York Times,, accessed 25 Feburary 2008.

"Officials Still at Odds: Strong Feeling in Yonkers; No Arrests and Few Developments," New York Times, 27 October 1896, p. 1; New York Times,, accessed 25 Feburary 2008.

"Was Deliberate Murder: Assassin of Mr. Andrus Carefully Laid His Plan," New York Times, 23 October 1896, p. 3; New York Times,, accessed 25 Feburary 2008.

"Will of Hamlin J. Andrus," New York Times, 8 November 1896, p. 2; New York Times,, accessed 25 Feburary 2008.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My 700th Post

This is my 700th post. It's going to be one of those posts that really doesn't have a single topic because it's been a very busy day for me (as are most Sundays).

I spent the late afternoon conducting auditions for the speaking parts in our church's children's musical for the spring. After getting home from church tonight, I'm just now getting around to checking email, reading blogs, etc. I guess I just haven't had time to think up a better post. I'm not as organized as my cousin Terry who has his posts for the week determined in advance. I guess that's how those of us who are "ENTP" are!

Most of you know that I have a weakness for cats! I love the cross stitch project Renee has just completed. It's a Margaret Sherry pattern for the spring "Cool Cat."

I found the Lynn Shoeworkers Strike post, the post on the Irish famine, and the post about Natick's establishment interesting this week at Mass Moments.

Muddy called his post "How to Get Attention," but I thought it might have an alternate title as "Sitting Upon the Throne Where I Belong. Now go do my bidding."

Randy is extending a discussion that we have been having on the APG mailing list about what people call their grandparents to the blogosphere. I've already replied to Carolyn privately so I won't confuse the mix by adding mine to the discussion again, but if you haven't contributed yours, please do so. It's become a very interesting discussion.

Now, I'm off to read. I'm in the midst of Murder on Marble Row by Victoria Thompson. This installment in the series is set in the late 1800s when Teddy Roosevelt is New York's police commissioner. This is the 6th book in the series, and I can't wait to get back to reading it. That should tell you something about how much I'm enjoying it!

One last thing . . . they are predicting snow for Wednesday. I hope they are right!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Blood Ballad

As soon as I finished the book I was reading, I had to read Rett's latest book. I loved it. Torie receives some recordings that threaten to overturn her carefully researched family trees, but rather than accepting them at face value she carefully reseaches the quick conclusions others have reached. In the meantime, Torie and local busybody Eleanore Murdoch are in the path of bullets while they are out birding before a body gets "dumped" (almost) on them. An extra horse shows up in Torie's pasture about the same time. Torie's genealogical sleuthing skills help resolve all the mysteries and a few more. This book is better than I recall the last two or three books in the series being. I loved the plot and the twists, and I must say that I didn't have a clue on the "whodunit" aspect of the modern mystery until near the end. I kind of suspected the "whodunit" of the older mystery but had not fully resolved it in my mind. (I still wondered if it could have been done by a few of the other suspects although I thought the one who did it had.) If you love genealogy and the cozy mystery genre, this is a great read!

Friday, February 22, 2008

A New Way to Share Genealogy?

I have heard of Scribd before, but I've never investigating the site. It works basically like You Tube where users can submit items and other people can comment and react to items posted except that it is for documents instead of videos. As I was investigating the site for use in the classes I teach, I wondered if anyone was using it for genealogy, and if so, what the quality of the research contributed was.

I did a basic search for genealogy and discovered that over 1000 documents are tagged "genealogy". It displayed only the first 1000 for me. I decided to investigate the first page of documents which was supposed to be 20 sites.

The first document that came up was about Family History Tours in Lithuania. It appears to be a document advertising tours offered by a Lithuanian native for Americans with Lithuanian ancestry. It refers readers to other web sites for more information.

The second document that came up was an undocumented genealogical report for the Sikes family which contained information on living persons. [Most of the living persons included have a surname other than Sikes.] There is a contact e-mail on the report, but the usefulness of such an undocumented report is questionable. The third, fourth, and fifth documents were much the same as this report and created by the same person other families.

The sixth document was's genealogy relationship chart.

The seventh document is a report entitled The Problem of the Genealogy of Jesus written by Prof. M. M. Ninan of San Jose. It is an illustrated 33 page report.

The eighth document is an article from the Honolulu Advertiser entitled "Who's In Your Family Tree?"

The ninth document is entitled "The Mystery of Frederick French" and appears to be the first narrative-style document of family history exploring a genealogical problem. I only see two footnotes in the entire document and these are only lists of children. There is nothing giving source information for anything in the form of footnotes. There are also a few internal references to other sources. The author claims copyright and provides contact information.

The tenth document is by the author of the ninth and is a narrative describing "The Story of Cantin Dionne." This one is extensively footnoted but many of the footnotes contain incomplete citations. Copyright is claimed. There are maps included. The author's contact information is available.

The eleventh document is a genealogy program-produced descendants report for Marmaduke Blezard. There has been a recent discussion of the editing often needed on reports of this nature on the listserv for the Association of Professional Genealogists. This report is no exception to this. If the author had tried to develop this into a narrative, they probably could have spotted the areas for which they lack needed documentation. This report does have better documentation than many generated reports I've seen. (See Randy's post about the discussion on the APG list.)

The twelfth document appears to be the National Genealogical Society's Standards and Guidelines translated into German.

The thirteenth document was off-topic as it was "The Genealogy of Public Opinion Polling." It is the reprint of an article.

The fourteenth document caught my attention because it was entitled The Cherry Hill-Poplar Springs-Reid Community in Calhoun County, Mississippi. It is the second edition of the work by Monette Morgan Young and is 272 pages long. This document is absolutely fascinating to me, and I plan to explore it further. This county is only a couple of counties away from my home county of Monroe County, Mississippi, and I recognized many of the names.

The fifteenth document is "Sweet, French, Sibbald, and Toomey Family History." It was written by the author of the ninth and tenth documents. There are illustrations. This appears to be a New England family history. This appears to be less organized than some of the other reports by this author and is lacking in the area of documentation except that some of the illustrations support claims in the report.

The sixteenth document is entitled "Strange Deaths, Suicides, Train Accidents, Obituaries, 200+ Page Antique Scrapbook." It is, quite obviously, a hodge-podge of sources. It is a very interesting item though. [On page 9 is a poem entitled "The Girl I Loved in Sunny Tennessee." I couldn't resist including that one.]

The seventeenth document was a software announcement.

The eighteenth document is Memoirs and Reminiscences by Rev. Casper Schaeffer, M.D. It is not an image scan of the book but appears to be an OCR one with images added.

The nineteenth document is a book that has the word genealogy inside it but which appears to be totally irrelevant.

That last one is supposed to be the 20th document, but I double-checked, and it was the 19th. Apparently they counted the ads between the 4th and 5th entries as an entry also.

What conclusions did I make? There is some useful information on this site, but it has not reached its potential. Like most genealogical web sites, the quality of the content is not uniform. Some stuff is great. Some stuff is nearly worthless. There were a couple of times that I wondered whether or not a copyright had been infringed.

Does the site have potential? I think that's an easy call to make. Yes. I will state that we need to make sure that we comment on those items we encounter that are not "up to par" and which compromise the privacy of living individuals. That's the beauty of this shared environment versus the traditional web page. We can have our say. I plan to register for the site later on this evening and do just that! I invite others to join me! We may not be able to prevent some of the bad stuff from being out there, but we can point out the weaknesses. We also need to be sure to praise those who put up quality stuff!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Jeptha "Jep" Lantz

On this day (February 21) in 1852, Jeptha Lantz was born to Levi and Barbara (Yoder) Lantz. Jep is enumerated in 1860 in McLean County, Illinois. He has not been located in the 1870 census although some of his brothers are still living in McLean Co., Illinois and his father and some siblings are in Howard Co., Indiana. (His mother is listed in the 1870 mortality schedules for Howard Co., Indiana.) In 1880, he is in Mottville Twp., St. Joseph, Michigan. (His father Levi moved there about 1874 and left in 1882.) We know that the family lived from about 1882-1885 in Johnson Co., Missouri before moving to McPherson Co., Kansas in 1885. His father Levi died in McPherson Co. in 1887. In 1900, he is living with his brother Samuel in Madison Twp., Greenwood Co., Kansas. He also appears in the 1895 and 1905 Greenwood Co., Kansas censuses. He is said to have never married. He does not appear to be enumerated in the 1910 census. His brother Samuel is living in Center Twp., Lyon Co., Kansas. He does appear with his brother Samuel in Center Twp., Lyon Co., Kansas in 1920. I have not located Jeptha or Samuel in the 1930 census, but other researchers have said that Samuel's wife died in Madison, Greenwood Co., Kansas in 1932 and that Samuel died in 1941 in Haskell Co., Oklahoma and was buried in Madison, Greenwood Co., Kansas beside his wife. I have no information about Jeptha's death.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How To Blog

Annoyed Librarian's post was written for library blogger-wannabes, but it can apply to multiple groups. I had a fifth comment to apply for genealogy bloggers, but on second thought, I decided not to make it; however, if others want to add to the list, go right ahead.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Laundry Night

Tonight has been laundry night at the Thornton household, so in honor of it, I found an old poem:

Washing Day

by Emilie Poulsson (words) and J. H. Chapek (music)

Washing day has come again,
Get the washtubs ready;
Set them on the washing bench,
See that they are ready.

Sort the clothes and toss them in,
Now's the time for toiling!
Rub and rub, and rub and rub,
Ready for the boiling.

From the foaming, sparkling suds,
Rinsing now and wringing,
Soon we hang them on the line,
In the light breeze swinging.

Set the tubs and all, away,
How the time is flying!
Now at last we take a rest
While the clohtes are drying.

Spotless, snowy white and pure,
Oh! though we are weary
Thoughts of all the nice, clean clothes
Make us blithe and cheery.

Source: Kindergarten Magazine, vol. 4, no. 5 (Jan. 1892): 284-85.

It's Here . . . the latest Rett MacPherson book!

I had pre-ordered Rett MacPherson's genealogical mystery, and I found it on my doorstep when I got home.

I can't wait to finish the book I'm reading so I can begin this one. This is the 11th in the series, and I've loved every single one of them since I stumbled across the first book in the series on the new book shelf at the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County years ago!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Boston Area Dining Recommendations

I'm planning a trip to the Boston area in late spring/early summer timeframe. I'm trying to locate some restaurants that the locals really like.

I heard about Eagle's Deli on the Travel Channel. While I have no intention to try their challenge burger which consists of 5 pounds of beef, 20 slices of cheese, 20 slices of bacon, and 5 pounds of fries, I would like to try one of their SMALL burgers and hope to see someone brave enough to attempt the challenge.

Lara shared on Bricker's Blog about the Choate Bridge Pub in Ipswich. Since I plan to run out to visit this town which played an important part in my family's history, I might have to try it out. She also shared that Amy had gone to Woodman's of Essex. Since my Perkins family lived in Chebacco Parish which is now Essex, this looks like a really good place to indulge in clams!

I'd love for my readers who have knowledge of great Boston area eats to share their favorite places to get a bite! I am also interested in places in the Hampton, New Hampshire area and maybe around Provincetown on Cape Cod. I'll be staying in the Back Bay area a good part of the time. I found a few places there on my last trip to Boston. Ming Tsai's Blue Ginger is another place I might hit. I remember him from the Food Network years ago.

So -- leave your favorite places. If they have web sites, I'll add to my bookmarks.

Carnival of Genealogy #42 is posted

The iGene awards have arrived at the Carnival of Genealogy. Go look at the awards various bloggers gave for their best posts of 2007! Thanks to Jasia for taking time to roundup all the posts! As the carnival grows, I'm sure this gets to be a bigger and bigger job! The call for the 43rd carnival is mentioned at the end of the post and involves technology! My mind is already trying to decide which hardware, software, etc. that I will choose. I may have to give a few honorable mentions (in spite of her suggestion to resist the urge to dilute them)! I'll try, but you know how hard it is to narrow these things down. Actually, the software category is easy!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Non-Fiction Meme

Just by reading Maggie Reads, I've been tagged in a meme created by Gautami.

What issues/topic interests you most--non-fiction, i.e, cooking, knitting, stitching, thereare infinite topics that has nothing to do with novels?

My number one category of non-fiction is that of history and genealogy. I particularly enjoy books about the colonial period of American history. My number two category would be cooking. A third category in which I read a lot of non-fiction is Christianity. My reading interests are very varied in that category and do not usually extend to the latest Christian best-sellers.

Would you like to review books concerning those?

Sure. I apply for books in LibraryThing in those categories, although I've only received one fiction title so far. The February giveaways will be announced soon. I don't remember any history titles in this particular batch that I requested. However, I'm always open to reviewing books that I think would be interesting.

Would you like to be paid or do it as interest or hobby? Tell reasons for what ever you choose.

Compensation would be nice, but it's not required. I'd do it for the love of reading.

Would you recommend those to your friends and how?

Like most librarians, I'm always making recommendations and even asking people how they liked a particular book. I have been posting reviews of books I've read on Facebook (via one of the book applications) and on LibraryThing. I occasionally post reviews or observations from reading on my blog.

If you have already done something like this, link it to your post.

I haven't been posting reviews to LibraryThing that long, but here is a review of Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity, one of The Jane Austen Cookbook and one of Boston's North End. Here's an observation I made while reading South Boston: My Home Town. Here's one of The Walker Sisters of Little Greenbrier. (I did purchase my own copy when I visited the park to see the fall foliage.) Here's another observation made while reading The Eastern Frontier: The Settlement of Northern New England, 1610-1763. Here's an observation I made while reading The Story of Gatlinburg. (Full reviews of the books in which my blog contains only observations are usually available in my Facebook books application.)

Please dont forget to link back here or whoever tags you.

Now, I'm supposed to tag 10 others. I tag:

Apple (Apple's Tree)

Miriam (AnceStories)

Tim (Walking the Berkshires)

Bill (West in New England)

Lisa (Small Leaved Shamrock)

Chery (Nordic Blue)

Colleen (Orations of OMcHodoy)

John (Transylvanian Dutch)

Melissa (Mainelife . . . thru the eyes of someone from away)

Shawn (Everything and Nothing)

Reading Roundup - 2/17/08

Most of you know that I'm a librarian. Our church is reinvigorating its library. I found this article in the Clarion Ledger on church libraries interesting.

I love fresh herbs for cooking and found a great article for those interested in growing their own in the Clarion Ledger.

There's a story of a couple of teen heroes in the Sun Herald. They rescued an 83-year-old man who relies on a walker from his burning home.

The Commercial Appeal carries the memoirs of one of the veterans of Memphis' sanitation workers strike. They also offer a great reading list for black history month from the Memphis-Shelby County library.

A trend future generations of genealogists and family historians will have to deal with is the mobility of our generation. The Boston Globe has an article about the exodus of many of New England's young people from that region.

The New York Times tells us the story of a piece of real estate that is currently on the market. Built 100 years ago as the New York School of Applied Design for Women, it is on the market for $24 million. Don't have that much cash? You can rent it for a mere $925,000 a year. The building has some interesting architectural details, but I know that I won't be buying or renting it anytime soon! They also tell about the sale of Marymount College in Tarrytown to EF Foundation. The small Catholic women's liberal arts college had merged with Fordham University in 2002. Fordham closed the campus last year. Apparently the sisters who had run the school will still have their quarters as they were not included in the sale. Perhaps the most interesting article is "Dumb and Dumber: Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?" written by Patricia Cohen. It's basically a review of Susan Jacoby's The Age of American Unreason. I don't agree with all of Jacoby's conclusions as reported by the article, but I do think that I want to read the book and judge for myself. If the recommendations I got by adding it to my wish list are any indication, I may not want to read it after all. This will definitely be a "library read."

The Washington Post tells the story of Prince William County's Lucasville Schoolhouse. The school dates back to 1885 and educated blacks. It has been restored and is now open to the public.

Sunday Dinner

Sundays were a special day when I was growing up. It was a day when you put on your Sunday-go-meeting clothes and went to worship God at your local church. It was a day when about the only folks you could find on the job were nurses, other hospital staff, and restaurant employees for the few which chose to open on that day. There were blue laws that kept your downtown stores closed on this sacred day.

One of the highlights of Sunday was getting together with the family for a meal. It was not necessarily always at your house because sometimes you'd go to your grandparents' home. The menu would be pretty much one of a couple of options. One option would be fried chicken which could be made earlier in the day with mashed potatoes and other vegetables such as green beans which were grown in someone's garden. Another option would be a roast which was cooked slowly with potatoes and carrots around it. There would usually be a green vegetable like green beans as well. When I was smaller, we usually bought those brown and serve rolls that had about 5 sections to them. The beverage of choice was iced tea. At our house, unlike in most Southern homes, the tea was unsweetened. For dessert, there would usually be a fruit cobbler (blackberry and peach were the most popular) or banana pudding. After crock pots came in vogue, the roast was often prepared in it.

We later got in the habit of eating at one of the two restuarants in town that I remembered being open on Sunday (Pickle's or Stanford's). The most popular entrees for adults were catfish and fried chicken. When I was smaller, I usually preferred a hamburger, but I gradually preferred the other options!

Later in the day, we might take the infamous Sunday afternoon drive. We'd go back to church later that evening for the evening services.

Nowadays, I rarely get an opportunity to enjoy a Sunday afternoon meal with anyone other than my cat. (I have no family members nearby.) I occasionally will go with someone to a local restaurant after church, but that is rare. Most of the time, I go to the grocery store after lunch and pick up something fresh to cook. Sometimes I break down and purchase the rotisserie chicken. I can eat some hot and fresh at lunch and then make my own chicken salad to enjoy later in the week.

The fun times had at Sunday dinners seem to be lost. Half the fun in the past was in cleaning up after the meal where the women all pitched in to help in the kitchen (while talking about all sorts of things that came to mind) while the men watched the ball games on television.

How did your family observe the Sunday dinner?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mortality Schedules

I wish that all my ancestors had the forethought to die in a year where their death would be recorded in a mortality schedule. I was fortunate to have a couple who were kind to provide me with their cause of death. Barbara Yoder Lantz died of consumption in 1870. John Hester died in 1879 of erisypelas. I really began thinking of the mortality schedules with the onset of the flu epidemic. I knew that I had seen influenza listed as a cause of death among them. The CDC's map for this week (dated February 9) shows widespread outbreaks in all but 6 states. Five of those other states (Oregon, Utah, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Maine) show regional outbreaks. Florida shows local outbreaks. Schools here in East Tennessee have been cancelling classes because of illness. I heard that it was so bad that the substitute teachers were calling substitutes before some of the districts closed.

I decided to explore a few of the transcribed schedules available online to see what causes were recorded.

In the 1850 mortality schedule for Potter County, Pennsylvania, we see the usual entries for dysentery, "tyfus" fever, croup, child birth, dropsy, consumption, various types of influenza, etc., but we also see some rather interesting causes of death. Nine month old Mary Ellis died from "eating caterpillars." Sarah A. Hitchcock died because she "choked on a bean." Two year old Mary Lawton "swallowed a brass button" and apparently was sick for 60 days from her accident before dying. There is also an unfortunate drowning of two year old Lorinda Nichols recorded.

Scarlet fever appears to have ravaged the population of Grayson County, Virginia according to its 1860 mortality schedule. We also see old age, croup, dropsey, pneumonia, influenza, and cancer among the causes of death. Ten year old Amanda W. Delp died from a fall.

The 1870 Jefferson County, Colorado schedule also gives us a few causes. We have a still born baby on the list and a few infants whose cause of death is listed as "debility." We have eye cancer, stomach and bowel influenza, lung fever, whooping cough, diphtheria, old age, and even a sore throat among the culprits. However, the most interesting entry is 3 month old Samuel Derby's "gravel."

Wright County, Iowa also has some interesting deaths. In their 1870 schedule, a 34 year old carriage maker by the name of Joseph Fulton was "killed in machinery." Nine year old George A. Peterson was "killed by eating ?" I'd love to know what that question mark was that he ate! Even if this transcription did not have a footnote describing the tragedy, one could look and see that the four deaths due to drowning in April 1870 must be from one incident. Dudley Gelman (age 65), William Rowen (age 30), Robert P. Rowley (age 35), and George Royce (age 28) apparently tried crossing the Iowa River when it was too high. Their 1880 census records Andrew Nelson's being crused in a sorghum mill and 10 year old Sherman Slaight's being "struck by Capston Sweep?" I don't know what a Capston Sweep is, but I don't think I'd like to be struck by one.

Roane County, Tennessee's 1880 schedule yields the murder of Dick Woods (age 38). Same Jones (age 35) was lynched. William Burnett (age 23) died of a pistol shot. Three year old William Sharp was burned. One year old Laura Renshaw died of worms and teething. That's the first time I've seen teething listed as a cause of death. John Keyhole (age 21) died from a kiln. John Eaton (age 12) was killed by cars on the railroad. James H. Day (age 30) "fell from trestel." One day old Bertheny Clark was "hurt by midwife." There is also a wide variety of disease listed among those enumerated.

Don't forget to check out the mortality schedules for the areas where your ancestors lived. They may add to your picture of what life was like for them in those days.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

There are a lot of kids in East Tennessee who are missing out on what used to be one of the highlights of the school year for elementary-age children. That's because so many schools are closed due to illness right now. What are they missing? Exchanging Valentines.

Do you remember exchanging Valentines in your younger days? We used to decorate shoeboxes with slots cut in the top so that our friends could insert their Valentine greetings to us. We'd buy the el-cheapo Valentines at the dollar store and carefully pick which card went to which person (especially for the folks in class who were your best friends). There'd usually be a party in the afternoon in your homeroom where you exchanged those cards. Someone's mom would usually make cupcakes, and there would be chocolate. Of course, what Valentine's day was complete without a few conversation hearts put in with the little envelopes with the cards you exchanged or in their own little plastic bags down in those nicely decorated shoe boxes. Someone would always win the prize for the best decorated box.

Last night, our worship pastor was sharing with those of us in the choir that there were three different St. Valentines. All three were martyrs. One theory is that he was a Roman martyred for his Christian faith. Another story had to do with the Roman emperor's decision to not allow young men to marry because he wanted them in his military. This particular St. Valentine is supposed to have performed marriages for young couples in spite of the decree. Another story had to do with St. Valentine being imprisoned and falling in love with the jailer's daughter. He was said to have written a note to her that was signed "From Your Valentine." You'll find a run-down of all of these accounts at Catholic Online.

I'll be celebrating Valentine's Day at the Lady Vols game tonight!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Busy Wednesday

Wednesdays tend to be busy and long for me. I think I need a few more hours in the day. I will try to resume my limerick writing tomorrow night. I'm just trying to make my rounds through the geneablogs at posting a limerick for most geneabloggers--at least as long as the inspiration lasts. I've been recharging my iPod, trying to answer email, reading a few blog posts, and getting caught up on grading student work since I got home after 9 p.m. We actually got 2 or 3 flakes of snow today! LOL

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A White Elephant

You all have to check out this post at Deep Fried Kudzu. There's a photo of a building that is in the form of a white elephant. Some of the houses are quite charming, but that white elephant really caught my attention.

Tonight's Activity

. . . was posting more limericks to other blogs.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Smoky Mountain iGene Awards

In honor of the Academy awards, we are supposed to award some of our posts iGene awards for the 42nd Carnival of Genealogy. I chose to limit mine to calendar year 2007 even though posts through February 15 were eligible according to the rules.

So without further ado, the winners are:

Best Picture: Seeing Double

Best Screen Play: Salem Witchcraft Trials (Starring: Craig Manson as the judge; Janice Brown as Mary Perkins Bradbury; Randy Seaver as Capt. Thomas Bradbury; Terry Thornton and Thomas MacEntee as the prison guards who were bribed; and the rest of the geneabloggers as the accusers and witnesses for and against Mary, and the jury) [Sorry, folks, my creativity appears to be limited to limericks! You can pick your part. For assistance with the accusers, witnesses, etc., you can see Mary Bradbury's Trial to see who the players were. You can select your part by responding to this post!]

Best Documentary: Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635

Best Biography: Laura Lucy Taylor

Best Comedy: Fruitcake

Limericks at Other Blogs

This post will be updated as I have a chance to post limericks at various other bloggers' sites. Here are a few that I've managed to post. Some may not be immediately available until the blogger has approved the comment.

At Hill Country of Monroe County:

At Genea-Musings:

At AnceStories:

At Destination: Austin Family:

Update: Later in the evening of Feb. 11

At FootnoteMaven:

Feb. 12

At Cow Hampshire:

At Geneablogie:

At Walking the Berkshires:

At Kinnexions:

At Creative Gene:

At Apple's Tree:

A Visit with Zach Wamp

I had the privilege of meeting with Congressman Zach Wamp (R-TN) today. He was visiting with the College Republicans leadership on campus. While I don't live in his congressional district, it was interesting to meet with him and hear his take on things like the economy, energy, homeland security, the elections, and leadership.

Limerick #2

This is the second poem for Terry's little limerick contest.

With a view of the Smokies I've written
While behind my laptop I'm a-sittin'
Of my Taylors and Lantzes
And my ancestors' dances
While pondering great grandma's knittin'.

Disclaimer: I've never written about my great grandmother's knitting because I don't know whether any of them ever knitted or not. However, I have wondered what kinds of needlework they enjoyed.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Limerick #1 & the story

Terry challenged us to write a poem about our blog. He really wants us to write a modified limerick, but I found that the perfectionist side of me just can't deal with the extra line. I know I may be disqualified from his contest because I'm choosing a traditional limerick instead of his "sestet," but since it's all for fun anyway, here it goes:

In the land of the Vols lived Miss Lori
Who shared her ancestors' story
When she found an old letter
That said King George was better
She uncovered an old Amish tory.

I hope that I'm sharing the story of my ancestors on this blog. Johannes Lantz came to the United States aboard the Phoenix in about 1749. [Some people try to say he came over in 1732 because of a book published by Jacob Lantz, but most of us believed he came in 1749.] During the French and Indian War, many of the Amish were being attacked by the Indians. (See the story of the Hochstetler Massacre.) The British military had come to the aid of the Amish in the area so Johannes was so grateful that after the colonists became increasingly restless with the British presence in the colonies and began rebelling he wrote a letter to King George III stating that he hoped the rebellion of the colonists would be short-lived and that peace, which is something the Amish really believed in, would take its place.

Kathy Garver in Morristown

Do you all recognize the name Kathy Garver? At first I didn't either when I noticed the poster at church advertising "The Glass Menagerie" at Walters State Community College later this month. Then I noticed it said "Family Affair." My mind immediately went back to the old television show that I watched as a child in the 1960s. I knew Buffy had died, and Jody was a boy, so I knew that it had to be Cissy. I studied the picture more closely. I remembered Cissy with much darker hair than the picture, but I could see that this person coming to Morristown was really Cissy. She will be playing Amanda in the play.

Cemetery Visit Inspires Novel

Tom Wiley visited a cemetery near Meridian, Mississippi which inspired him to write The Angels of Lockhart. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal has an article/review talking about the author's inspiration and giving a brief summary of the book. It sounds like a "must read" for family historians.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Busy Day

Today has been one of those days that I'd classify as a "busy day." I got to wondering about what people called a "busy day" in ages past. So, using Google Books, I did a quick survey.

In the Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arbley (London: Henry Colburn, 1842, vol. 2, pp. 225-226), she classified January 3, 1783 as a "busy day." She basically describes a day of going to the grand rehearsal of the opera Cimene.

Somehow I suspect that my ancestors would have said that Madame D'Arbley didn't know what it meant to be busy.

William M. Thomson, a missionary to Syria, described Sept. 14, 1839 as a "busy day". He spoke of the visit of several sheiks to his station. He mentioned that he had been teaching pretty much all day and evening and that several of the sheiks wished to be baptized before returning to the mountains. Two days later, he stated that Sept. 16, 1839 which was the Sabbath was also a "busy day." He said, "After preaching, both in English and Aramaic, and conversing all the vacant time with the Druzes from Hadet, and other places, and expounding Scripture in Aramaic at evening worship, I feel wearied." Later in the paragraph he states that "the work has grown too large for me to attend to." (Report of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Presented at the Thirtieth Annual Meeting , Held in the City of Troy, New-York, Sept. 11-12-13, 1839 (Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1839), p. 88)

In describing life in the Civil War for the Second Brigade of the Ninth Ohio Cavalry, the record describes General Rousseau as having reached Decatur (Tennessee) on July 9, 1864. Then it says, "Sunday, the tenth, was a busy day in camp; anything but a Sabbath-like stillness prevailed." The rest of the day's entry describes packing up camp, leaving behind things that would create too much baggage, assigning rations to the soldiers, and then marching some 15 miles to Somerville, which was a county seat about 15 miles from Decatur. They arrived there around 9 p.m. (Moore, Frank, ed. The Rebellion Record: A Diary of American Events, with Documents, Narratives, Illustrative Incidents, Poetry, Etc. (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1868), vol. 11, pp. 160-161)

Most of the other references in the first 50 hits were in literary works.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Another Incident of Cemetery Vandalism

It's always sad to read about vandalism in cemeteries. This one happened in the Cincinnati community of West Price Hill. About 40 headstones in a Jewish cemetery there were toppled. The article states that some were "pulled from their foundations." The good news is that the stones were not destroyed and the damage can be repaired, but you are left wondering who would do such a thing and why.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Elevator Speech

Randy challenges us to get our elevator speeches ready. We have to answer the question: What do you do?

I'm a librarian and professor. I catalog books, teach about computers and technology, and in my spare time, I enjoy researching my family's history and singing in the choir and ensembles at church.

I Love a Parade

. . . and our first genealogy parade over at West in New England is no exception. My float is the recipient of the "We're Number 1" award as I was the first to enter.

By the way, there are a couple of new entries (bringing the total to 33) over at the 41st Carnival of Genealogy.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

41st Carnival of Genealogy

The carnival of genealogy appears to have the largest number of submissions for the dinner party edition. (Miriam counted 31.) I'm looking forward to reading all of the entries that I haven't already read while watching the Super Tuesday returns. The 42nd edition will be the Academy of Genealogy & Family History Awards edition. Basically you will be submitting your best 2007 blog posts that fit the 5 categories. The call is at the bottom of the carnival. I'm just forwarning all of you that my knowledge of movie stars is almost nil so I'm going to have a really hard time casting that screen play.

It's Super Tuesday . . .

and the lines were long where I voted. I stood in line for an hour. Because the polls didn't open until 8 a.m. here, I had to wait until after work to go vote. When I lived in Ohio, the polls opened at least by 6:30 a.m. I voted on my way to work (at the funeral home--now that's a unique polling location). Here in Tennessee, I vote at a school. During the last couple of days, I've had 5 calls from 3 candidates. (Of course, they were pre-recorded.) What really surprised me was that one of the calls was made later this afternoon by Huckabee after he'd taken West Virginia. How did he know that I hadn't already voted? Tennessee has early voting. I could have gone earlier in the day.

Mardi Gras

Today is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. I will probably be updating this post throughout the day as I find interesting things pertaining to the day or its celebration.

Crystal Dupre of the Meridian Star has an interesting overview of the history of Mardi Gras.

The Sun Herald has an entire section devoted to the day. If you don't believe Mardi Gras is a big deal on the Gulf Coast, just check out this list of closings.

You can catch the complete parade lineup for New Orleans over at and even watch streaming video of the parades beginning at 10 a.m. Full coverage is offered at the site as well.

The Mobile Press-Register also offers quite a bit of coverage from that area.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Blogger's Block

I'm suffering a case of blogger's block at the moment. I know Miriam has the prompt over at Ancestories2, but I'm saving that one for later in the week when I have the time to do it justice. I'm hoping to have something to blog about tomorrow. I could talk about how proud I am of Eli Manning, but I'm afraid that my New England friends might take offense. However, I grew up in Mississippi, and I've been cheering for Mannings since I was a child. It has nothing to do with the team--just the quarterbacks!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Word of Caution

I'm not sure how many of you are doing indexing for FamilySearchIndexing, but I thought I'd mention something I discovered last night. I have been quite accustomed to the censuses with about 40-50 records per image or the marriage indexes (such as a West Virginia batch I did last night) with 2-3 images. I did a batch of South Dakota State census images that had about 20 records. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the Irish Marriage Indexes (1893-1921) and got a page with 375 records! I had intended to only do one more batch before I went to bed. Instead I ended up doing one of the 3 columns last night and have about 264 more records to enter before week's end! If you want something quick, that's not the one to choose. However, if you want something legible, go for it. The page is typed and very readable!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Today's Tasks

Today, I spent most of the day doing some much needed sorting and filing. Every now and then I'd stop to enter some source that caught my eye into my genealogical database if it had not been marked "entered." I also discovered that some stuff that I thought I'd entered was not in my database. There are two explanations for that, and the most likely is that I really did enter it, but it was in the period of time when my database wasn't saving correctly (and it wasn't readily apparent to me that it wasn't in the files from which I'd restore stuff). The other is that I didn't enter it, but I remember entering the stuff about Dime Box, Texas. Now, I'm going to have to enter all of that over again--but that's a project for another day. I also did a couple of batches for One of the batches was a 1905 South Dakota census. That was interesting. I got 20 cards in the batch. Each person was reported on a separate card instead of all on a single sheet. The other was an 1850 batch from Franklin County, Maine. I loved it. The last family I indexed had the surname "Snowman." No - none of them were named Frosty! I may do a couple more batches before I head off to bed.

Revelation 13:18

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. (Revelation 13:18, New King James Version)

In case you haven't figured it out, this is the 666th post!

My Eyes Keep Playing Tricks on Me . . .

For some reason, I keep seeing the word "flutaphone" even if it's not there. It all started the other day when I was reading something with the word "flute" in it. My eyes deceived me. I thought it said "flutaphone" until I blinked. Then I saw a word that simply began with an "f" and ended with an "e" and my mind saw "flutaphone." Just a minute ago, my eyes turned "iPhone" into "flutaphone." Will this word keep haunting me until Bill finally reaches his 49 uses?

Friday, February 01, 2008

There's a Thief Among Us . . .

When I was browsing Google Books, I ran across a snippet view book that contained information on my Perkins family. The snippet appeared to be pretty interesting so I decided to order the book via interlibrary loan. The book was Richard P. Gildrie's The Profane, the Civil, & the Godly: The Reformation of Manners in Orthodox New England, 1679-1749 (University Park, Penn.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994). What I found on pages 40-42 was a very interesting story about the wife of my seventh great grand uncle. Her father-in-law John Perkins, quartermaster, ran one of the two licensed taverns in Ipswich. By the late 1670s, he was "retirement age" as we'd say now so he'd turned the operations of the tavern over to his son Abraham and the farm to his son Luke. Luke's wife was named Elizabeth. Her maiden name is usually seen as Jaquith or Jaques. She had quite the reputation (or lack of it). Apparently she didn't really care that much for her in-laws. She had quite a tongue and used it against her mother-in-law as often as she could. [You can find an account of one trial and some of the comments in Dow's Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts via Google Books beginning around page 89 of the March 1681 proceedings.] Luke's wife Elizabeth apparently spent quite a bit of time around the inn and tavern. She gained a reputation for paying more attention to other men in the community than to her own husband. However, the thing that really caught my attention was that in September 1683, she "stole three pounds in cash and goods" from the room of a Boston trader who was staying at the inn. She must have had tastes for the finer things in life as most of the items she took involved either silk or lace. Some of the items listed were "satin ribbons, stockings, a silk hood, a lace handkerchief, a lace cap, a silk neckcloth, and a pair of "fall" [hairpieces]." She did serve a brief prison term before being released after paying a hefty fine, court costs, and damages. It makes you wonder how many of the inn's guests over the years had items go missing during their stay.

Carnival of Irish Genealogy #3

Lisa has posted the 3rd edition of the Carnival of Irish Genealogy over at Small-Leaved Shamrock. I didn't contribute this time because I couldn't come up with anything. It's a little harder when you don't spend a lot of time researching Irish ancestry. I think that the biggest surprises that I've had so far is that the closest thing to an Irish ancestor I've found so far is the family of the Rev. Nathan Ward's family. Her maiden name is Tamasin (or Tamsin) Ireland. Her father was Abraham Ireland. I haven't taken the family across the big pond yet as I haven't had a lot of time to work on either the Ward or Ireland lines. I'm working on lines that are closer to me before moving on to those for more intensive work. Lisa has also included the call for the 4th carnival on her post. I have a month to get inspired!

Sampler Collection Online

The Wisconsin Historical Society has placed its sampler collection online. The "view all samplers" option shows that there are 64 samplers in the collection. Samplers were created by women from the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic States, New England, England, and Germany. Randy might be interested in the one by Kate Seaver. A couple of the samplers include the family genealogy. This is a real treasure! (Thanks to stitching blogger Lelia for pointing this out.)