Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: A Brief Guide on How to Research Your Genealogy

Kindle Nation Daily alerted me (on the morning of July 20, 2012) to the presence of a free Kindle guide on the topic of genealogy. I decided to download the 48 page work to see whether it was well-done or not. 

Gardner, Evette. A Brief Guide on How to Research Your Genealogy. s.l.: Amazon Digital Services, 2012?

This is an overly simplistic guide on researching one's family tree. While some of the advice offered is good, the explanations of how to go about locating those sources do not hold out in every situation. There is no mention of the importance of documenting your sources. The Kindle version that I used does not show any forms that help one extract or organize data.  Repositories covered are limited to federal and state libraries and do not discuss the Family History Library, Family History Centers, Allen County Public Library, Clayton Library, etc. that are well-known as excellent repositories, which in some cases, may be more accessible to new researchers and may have as good as or better resources. The heading in the national archives section for the one in Alaska was headed by "Arkansas." The section on DNA testing was too ambiguous to be useful. If you are wanting a beginner's guide, skip this brief guide and pick up Christine Rose and Kay Germain Ingalls' A Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy (currently in its 3rd edition) or George G. Morgan's How to Do Everything Genealogy which is also in its 3rd edition.  (1 of 5 stars)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bitter Tide by Ann Stamos (Book Review)

Stamos, Ann. Bitter Tide. Waterville, Me.: Five Star, 2009.

Maggie arrives at Ellis Island where witnesses see her shoot the man with whom she traveled to America. Joseph is the supervisor and has more sympathy toward the girl than some of his superiors, and when the body is not found, he stalls her transfer to prison as long as possible while he investigates the situation. The reader sees the political machinery of New York and the Irish political groups in New York at work as Joseph investigates. It's a well-written mystery, but it's not a typical one in many ways. It's also not quite the novel I would have expected from a subsidiary of Gale's Cengage Learning to produce in support of a unit dealing with immigration. It certainly shows some of the problems at Ellis Island caused by political machinery. 3.5 stars.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Laugh of the Week

Those who know me well know that I love to cook. I inherited a love of cookbooks and cooking from my mother. A friend of mine related earlier this week how his son had gone to another mutual friend's home and had eaten a chicken and eggplant pasta dish that he wanted his parents to learn to make. When he was describing the dish, his parents decided that the secret to the dish must have been in the "pepto" sauce their son seemed to like.

I've been visualizing that pink stuff in the bottle in that dish ever since. I think it might actually be quite tasty with pesto, but somehow I just can't imagine even wanting to eat something with a pink sauce!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Return Trip

The return trip was filled with rain, but we also got to see a rainbow! Please forgive the bus windows which appears in the shots of the rainbow. There was no way to capture the rainbow without shooting through the front of the bus.


Camping is popular on the Keys.

Gulf side of Rainbow

Caribbean side of Rainbow

The Rain

old bridge on Gulf side

More rain on the Caribbean side
Sunset on the Gulf

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thoughts on Wolf Hall and My English Ancestors

Yesterday I began reading Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize winning book, Wolf Hall. It's a fictionalized historical novel set during the tumultuous time of the 16th century in the early days of Tudor England. Henry VIII is on the throne. Major characters in the novel are historical figures we recognize--Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas More, the Boleyn family, and Thomas Cromwell.

While I'm not quite at the halfway point (at the time of this writing), I know quite a bit about the real cast of characters from a church history class on the Protestant Reformation that I took when I was a seminary study. In that class, we read a book entitled Two Early Tudor Lives which consisted of George Cavendish's biographies of Wolsey and More. Cavendish had actually served Wolsey so he knew that period quite well and wrote about a lot of the same things that Mantel addresses. Mantel's work is written in a more contemporary form of English. The characters' dialogue is not Tudor period English.

As I have been reading the book, I have wondered how my English ancestors felt about the changes that they saw and how they felt about the King's divorce and establishment of the Church of England. Were they sympathetic with the Roman Catholics? Were they glad of the change? Were they ambivalent? Were they apathetic? I do know that the Perkins family had once been fairly influential in their parish in Hillmorton. Some of the earlier known ancestors of this line were buried under the rood of the church.

My known ancestors who would have lived in this turbulent time included Thomas Perkins and his wife Alice Kebble, William Sawbridge and his wife Elizabeth, Thomas' father Henry Perkins, and Henry's father Thomas Perkins and wife Alys de Astley. Thomas, husband of Alys, would have died early in the time period and not seen the eventual result of the turmoil. His wife Alys would have seen parts of it. Henry and his wife (whomever she may have been) would have been about the same age as most of the players in the drama that was unfolding before their very eyes. Thomas, Alice, William, and Elizabeth would have been born in the midst of this change, having to rely on their parents for information on what life before the changes in England were made.

I hope that I can one day locate information that may shed light on the feelings of my ancestors. It was Thomas' and Alice's grandson John Perkins who along with his wife Judith Gater immigrated to New England nearly 100 years after this novel opens, making their home on Cape Ann in the Ipswich area.

More Key West Sights

Here are a few more photos from Key West.

I want this mailbox!

If I recall correctly, the sign for this said it was the 2nd oldest house on Key West.

We ate at Caroline's. This was on the "wall." (It's an outdoor seating area.)

Toss yer doubloons here, matey!

Hemingway was often seen here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Little White House, Key West

Harry Truman enjoyed spending time in Key West to relax a bit when he got away from Washington. Since Truman's days, many other presidents (and former presidents) and their families and other high ranking government officials, such as Colin Powell, have spent time at the Little White House. We were fortunate that there was no dignitary in residence at the time so we could take a tour. They were setting up for a wedding that evening.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Key West - Bird Life

Everywhere you went in Key West, there were free range chickens and hens.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ernest Hemingway Home, Key West, part III

A few more pictures from the Hemingway home! Mostly cats!

The "keep off the furniture" signs don't apply to the cats!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ernest Hemingway Home, Key West, part II

More photos from the Ernest Hemingway Home.

Cat house - Of course not all 44 can be there at once.

The house

Cat in Hemingway's studio

Hemingway Studio

Another corner of the Hemingway studio

The bed is actually a pair of twin beads with a gate as a headboard.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ernest Hemingway Home, Key West - Part I

The highlight of the trip for me was a visit to Ernest Hemingway's home in Key West. Hemingway is, of course, a well-known American writer. He was born in Illinois. He lived in Paris, Cuba, and Key West (among other places). He drove an ambulance during World War II. He committed suicide in Idaho. Of course, the real reason I wanted to visit his home was to visit the descendants of his six-toed cats! You'll see lots of cat pictures!

The entrance

Having a conversation with a sleeping cat!

One of Hemingway's wives had this pool installed while he was away at a cost of 10 times more than the purchase price of the house. She soon ended up as an ex-wife and ended up with the house. He moved to Cuba with the next wife.

Sweet cat!

Watering fountain for the cat made from a urinal with a piece of pottery and decorative tile.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Key West - Trees

There were a lot of interesting trees in Key West. Here are a few.

Kapok Tree - close up view of the sign is next!

This tree hid the lighthouse!

Not sure what kind of tree this is. I couldn't identify the fruit or nut.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Key West - the tourist shots

Everyone needs a few touristy shots!

We were there!

Mile 0

Southernmost point in continental U.S.

We didn't eat here, but I think I spotted a lost shaker of salt!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Key West - near the harbor

We finally made it to Key West. Our first stop was near the harbor so that those who were going to snorkeling could get their reservations made.

While still on the bus, we saw this old house!