Monday, September 15, 2014

Tika & Burials In A Tree

When I was telling her that last May when I visited Magnolia Gardens (outside of Charleston, South Carolina), Tika perked up for she loves to go to gardens and green-grass places.  When I told her how I was moved to learn that one of the creators of that marvelous garden had chosen to be buried in a tree in his garden, Tika said, "Really?"




I'm sure that in time, the oak will grow over and completely envelope  John Drayton Hastie's box of ashes. Myself, I think this idea is way cool.

Tika's only comment then was, "Where does the family come to remember or to bring flowers?" "Tika," I told her, "this burial place is in a wonderful garden of flowers!"


Monday, September 8, 2014

Tika & The Dog Days of Summer


Tika has enjoyed our nice hot sunny summer but is the first one to dive indoors when the first wisps of cold air blow across the deck. I was explaining to her about "the dogs days of summer," and she snorted, "What in the world does THAT mean?"

According to Wikipedia:  Dog Days is the name for the most sultry period of summer, from about July 3 to Aug. 11. Named in early times by observers in countries bordering the Mediterranean, the period was reckoned as extending from 20 daysbefore to 20 days after the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) and the sun.

I guess the term was first uttered way back in ancient Rome. In Latin the expression reads "caniculares dies," or "days of the dogs." The Romans dubbed this the time period that spanned from the first week of July to the second week of August and had to do with their mastery of the night sky and knowledge of the constellations. 

It's a long story and Tika went to sleep before I'd finished telling her...... and you can ask Grandma Google for yourself. 

I always enjoy learning "the rest of the story," whether my Tika does or not!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tika & The Petunia In the Onion Patch

Tika likes the petunias in my garden. Mostly she likes the petunias because she knows that if she sniffs around in them long enough a big bug will most likely jump out and she can nab it.

Does anybody but me remember Arthur Godfrey singing, "I'm A Lonely Little Petunia In An Onion Patch?" Here's the link to a YouTube video of Godfrey singing this song:
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7soxUKX5Ls

I'm a lonely little Petunia,
In an Onion patch,
An Onion patch,
An Onion patch,
I'm a lonely little Petunia,
In an Onion patch,
Oh, won't someone come and play with me.

Boo hoo, boo hoo,
The air so strong it takes my breath away.
I'm a lonely little Petunia,
In an Onion patch,
And all I do is cry all day.




Tika and I enjoy walking down to the garden and checking out what's for dinner. When we spotted this "lonely little petunia in the onion patch" that song came flooding back from my memory. And I had to sing it out loud for Tika. 

Don't think she was impressed. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tika & Typewriters & Jail


When I returned from a trip to Port Angeles and Port Townsend, I was showing Tika my pictures and telling her all about the trip and what we did. Her eyes really popped open when she saw this photo....... all she's ever seen is my fingers on the computer keyboard. "Was that thing for real?" she asked.

Grandson and his friend and I were touring the Jefferson County (Washington) Historical Society's Museum. In the basement is the old jail, of course a big hit with the 16 year olds. Leg irons INSIDE the awful jail cells? "No way would I wanna be here!" quipped the Red Shirt one.


And that was the point of taking them. These days, you cannot expect your teens to appreciate history unless you take them to it. Feeling those heavy iron chains, feeling the gloomy cold bare cells, was "living" the history to these two. Now when they hear on the news about prisoners whining about their civil rights, they'll remember the jails where those inside had no rights!

They both enjoyed "plunking" on that ancient Remington; they had never seen one like that. I asked them, "Did you know typewriters were invented in the 1860s and Remington was one of the major brands? And typewriters were mostly displaced by computer keyboards (at least in the western world) by 1990?"

Tika and I love history and I was excited to share some with my grandson and his friend.

"Big deal," sniffed Tika. "I have no thumbs; I cannot type."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tika Wants To Meet Nola!


Tika is super excited today! We just found out about another dachshund who has a blog! Her name is Nola and she lives in Florida. This is her picture from her blog, http://dachshundnola.blogspot.com.

Her blog homepages invites us to "Come to the dark side, I have cookies."  Tika is ready to go!!

Will be fun someday to watch them comparing notes....................

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tika & Flipster


I came home yesterday from Hayden Public Library (Hayden, Idaho) with all sorts of new ideas! I shared these with Tika as we took our evening walk. I was most excited about Flipster.

Flipster is a free digital magazine service provided courtesy of your library. The Flipster app manages your magazines downloaded from the Flipster website for anytime viewing on your iPad or iPad mini. (Android is coming, they promise!) These eMagazines are available from any computer, laptop or mobile device as long as you're connected to the Internet. (Realize: no app yet for anything but iPad.) 

Imagine having access to more than 40 magazine titles without having to subscribe! The magazines are exactly like what you see on the newstand only digital..... they even include the ads!

The only "kicker" is that your library must offer this service and you must have a library card and then sign up through your library for this service. Sounds like a good deal to me and I intend to check it out.

"No vegetarian magazine for me," sniffs Tika. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Tika Learns About Limners

Tika well knows my interest in American history, especially of the colonial era. I was telling her about a new word I learned: limner. I spotted this word in reference books about early Virginia and I wanted to know more. 
Wise Tika said, "Go to Wikipedia!" So I did. "A limner is an illumiator of manuscripts, or more generally, a painter of ornamental decoration. In old-time Scotland, there was an official position of Her Majesty's Painter and Limner. In early 19th-centurey America, a limner artist was one who had little if any formal training and would travel from place to place to solicit commissions. Among colonial America's rising mercantile class, a limner-portrait was considered a status symbol." 
Here is an example of an early American limner-portrait. In this painting, you can guess that the lady is a widow (wearing black) and holding a pendant-cameo-painting of her late husband. 
(Thanks to Commons.Wikimedia for this pix.)

I read somewhere else that these painters would paint all the background and figures and dress of the people while in his studio and then just meet the people to paint in the faces. That makes sense. Can you see that little boy sitting still for long enough to paint his portrait?
Tika and I would bet that you have seen pictures or portraits similar to this......... perhaps you have one such painting of your ancestor? (Lucky you, if so!) And now we know what a limner was.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Tika & Golf

Tika and I had a great discussion the other day. I was paging through How I Play Golf, by Tiger Woods, 2001, and his list of 14 things to know and remember caught my eye as being applicable to genealogy too.


1.  Tiger says, "First things first.... get off to a proper start." In genealogy that would be start with yourself and your parents to have a "proper" start to a correct family tree.

2.  Tiger says, "The short game.... know how to putt."  In genealogy that would be know what to do first.... identify the problem or question you wish to solve.

3.  Tiger says, "Rolling the rock...know how to get it down pat." In genealogy that would be to know the basic, entry-level websites and learn how to fully use them. 

4.  Tiger says, "Turning 3 into 2..... know how to escape from the sand."  In genealogy that would be know how to recognize when you're off on the wrong track, tracing a wanna-be ancestor.

5.  Tiger says, "Making the hard easy... know how to swing."  In genealogy that would be always working from the known to the unknown. 

At this point, Tika said enough was enough and she was ready for a walk. So we shall continue this discussion eventually......................



Monday, July 21, 2014

Tika & Mustard

Everybody likes mustard, right? It's the world's most favorite condiment and it comes in so many different flavors! But Tika does not like mustard in any flavor:



This is from Wikipedia:  "The Romans were probably the first to experiment with the preparation of mustard as a condiment. They mixed unfermented grape juice, known as "must", with ground mustard seeds (called sinapis) to make "burning must", mustum ardens — hence "must ard". A recipe for mustard appears in Apicius (also called De re coquinaria), the anonymously compiled Roman cookbook from the late 4th or early 5th century; the recipe calls for a mixture of ground mustard, peppercaraway,lovage, grilled coriander seeds, dillcelerythymeoreganoonionhoneyvinegarfish sauce, and oil, and was intended as a glaze for spit-roasted boar."

Did you know there is a National Mustard Museum and a National Mustard Day?  The museum is in Middleton, Wisconsin and August 2nd is the annual National Day of Mustard. 

Our ancestors undoubtedly enjoyed mustard on their meats because without adequate refrigeration meat would too quickly spoil and our ancestors would eat it anyway (up to a point of course). 

Click to www.mustardmuseum.com to enjoy learning all about America's favorite condiment. And how do you enjoy your mustard? 

"Big deal," said Tika. "I prefer mayo." 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tika & The Educating of Thomas Jefferson



Last May, I visited Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. (This life-size statue of him is at the Visitor's Center.) I have read many books and watched many TV specials on this man and continue to be intrigued with his life. One thing I learned about him that I did not know before was that in his youth, in Williamsburg, Virginia, and at the home of John Wythe, he was educated and tutored in "Socratic method of teaching and learning." Wanting to know just what this was, I asked Grandma Google (who knows everything) and found this in Wikipedia:

"The Socratic method of teaching and learning was named after the classical Greek philosopher, Socrates, and is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions, to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. Socrates generally applied his method of examination to concepts that seem to lack any concrete definition; e.g., the key to moral concepts at the time, the virtues of piety, wisdom, temperance, courage and justice." 

That the Wythe house was Jefferson's classroom was evident. In the main rooms, the tables and shelves were populated with "things" to stimulate discussion, understanding and learning. Take this shell, for instance, which I photographed. Think of the discussions it occasioned! The guide to the Wythe house explained "that in this house curiosity was championed and all were familiar with the ancients..... Locke, Bacon, Newton, Socrates, Plutarck, etc. Ideas first presented by the ancients were discussed anew." And that's how Thomas Jefferson obtained much of his education. I was impressed. 


Tika was not impressed as I explained all this to her. "When is it time for Animal Planet?" she asked. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tika & Towns Named Mount Vernon


Tika was primed and ready for a history lesson when I returned home from Mount Vernon, Washington. This charming town is 300 miles west of Spokane, where we live in eastern Washington, and is near onto Puget Sound. "And the town was named for George Washington's home, Mount Vernon?" my smart little Tika asked.  I assured her it was. As we snuggled and talked, we wondered how many towns were there in the United States named Mount Vernon to honor our First President?

Asking Grandma Google (who knows everything!) I found that there are 20 states other than Washington who have towns named Mount Vernon:  Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Made me wonder next how many town names in my state (Washington) are repeated in other states?? I'll ask Grandma Google and then share the findings with Tika.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Tika & Smoked Ham House




We were enjoying a BLT sandwich and I was explaining to Tika how in days of yore if a family wanted bacon or ham they had to do all the work to get to that point........ starting with a piglet and ending up with the Smoke House. I took these photos at Boone Hall Plantation (near Charleston, South Carolina). The sign reads that this smokehouse, built in 1750, is the oldest existing structure on the plantation.

Tika noted and asked about the circular building style and I explained that likely this round style of construction was harder for a hurricane wind to blow over (as evidence by its survival for 250 years)? She also pushed out a paw and chirped to indicate she noticed the beautiful design done in the brickwork in the original construction. We agree; they don't build little common things with such beauty these days it seems.

I explained that when we walked up to that open door, and inhaled from the interior, you could still detect a smokey smell in the darkened wood. Overhead were the heavy beams from which ropes dangled that would have suspended the curing meat over smoldering fires on the earthen floor below.

Tika sighed. "Too much work," she yawned. "Just go to Costco." I had to agree.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tika & Ancestor's Ships

As you know, my Tika loves to be in the boat on the water about as much as I do. The other day I was telling her that my ancestor (William Bradford) came over on the Mayflower and she was impressed and she wanted to see a picture of that ship. Well, that was easy; Grandma Google (who knows everything!) found several photos instantly.

But what about a photo of the ship YOUR ancestor sailed aboard when they came to America? Would you like to have a picture of that ship? Well you can! ShipIndex.org is a fabulous website and I can almost guarantee that on this site you will find a picture of your ancestor's arrival vessel. With over 3,000,000 citations (that means photos) how can you miss?

Tika gently reminded me that her ancestors were from Idaho and did not arrive on a ship. Silly Tika.


Current Site Statistics
ShipIndex.org's premium database currently contains:
  • 3,362,270 citations (an 18% increase since the last newsletter!)
  • 365+ resources
These stats are current as of 6/11/2014, and are guaranteed to keep increasing.


ShipIndex.org June 2014 Update
News
The free portion of the database has been updated and expanded, with new content in the WorldCat Authority Records file. This is a very important and useful file; I encourage you to read my two blog posts about Locating Resources Mentioned in the Database, and Finding Books by Ships. Both use WorldCat records, and the 20% increase in WorldCat content will be a boon to all researchers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tika & An Old Doggie Exerciser? Old Marbles and Old Doggie Waterer


Last May, while in a humungous junque shop somewhere in Virginia, I spotted this old thing...... can you read the posted sign? It says, "Please Stay Off For Dogs Only." And I believe it was a treadmill of some sort. Was it really a doggie exerciser or a  people exerciser or something entirely different? Don't know but I surely got a big laugh from looking at it and imagining my Tika running for her life.


I showed Tika this picture and her ears perked up; she likes to chase balls across the living room floor (not outside). Your little boy ancestors made marbles for themselves from any possible material, don't you just bet? But to Tika they appeared to be cookie bites!


Tika was truly impressed when I showed her this photo of a doggie water stand in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. What a neat idea to re-purpose an old umbrella stand into a dog watering hole.

I explained to Tika that I'm drawn to appreciating old things because those were the things my ancestors most likely used in their every day life. Tika, being a dachshund, really does not appreciate that feeling but that's okay for she is a dog, I remember. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Tika & The War of Jenkins Ear


I had just read a historical trivia tidbit when I snuggled in next to Tika in our chair. The bit I read was about the War of Jenkins' Ear. As I rubbed her ears, I wondered if any of my ancestors were involved in this very unknown little conflict.

"The War of Jenkins' Ear was a conflict between Great Britain and Spain that lasted from 1739 to 1748 with major operations largely ended by 1742." (So speaks Wikipedia.)

The unusual name was not coined until 1858 (some 100 years later!) by one Thomas Carlyle who, as a 19th century author, mentioned the event in several passages of his book on Friedrich II.

The name refers to an ear sliced from the head of Robert Jenkins, who was captain of a British merchant ship. He lost the ear when his ship was boarded by Spaniards in 1731.

This small event happened in the midst of the British war against the Spanish Empire and something to do with the slave trade. (Tika didn't care to learn of those details.)

Jenkins' ear "was subsequently exhibited before Parliament."  Can you imagine a Congressman today bringing in to the august chamber a severed ear for show and tell???

No war is good; every war is terrible and filled with atrocities big and small. Losing a small ear was no doubt a big deal for Robert Jenkins.

Any Jenkins family have this story in their history?? Tika and I wonder.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tika & A Sutler

As I was trying to explain to Tika was a sutler was, especially during the Civil War, the only question she had was, "Did they stock Milk-Bone treats?" Not hardly, dear little Tika, but lots of other things.

(Image from Wikipedia)

An article in the April-June 2014 issue of the NGS Magazine by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens titled "Sutlers of the Civil War," was good reading as Tika and I settled into our favorite chair. 

Claire gave a super two sentence explanation of just what was a sutler in the Civil War:

"Civil War sutlers were the 19th century's equivalent of the modern US Army's Post Exchange or commissary. Soldiers in the field patronized these traveling storekeepers to purchase needed goods and desired luxuries that were not provided by the US government." 

The article contains a long list of "items listed on the standard sutler's invoice approved by the Office of the Quartermaster General,"  and the list ran easily to a hundred items running the gamut from dried apples to yeast powder with tooth brushes and tin plates in between. 

Tika and I agreed upon this point: You really must read this excellent article for yourself, and especially so if your ancestor was by occupation a sutler during the Civil War. 

And for being such a good girl, I gave her a Milk-Bone treat.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tika & Land Measuring Back In the Day


Tika was not paying too much attention to what I was explaining yesterday when we went out on the lake. I was explaining to Handy Man about the method of measuring land back in Colonial Times. I learned about this at the recent NGS conference in Richmond, Virginia.

A surveyor was "top dog" in those days (late 1700s) for he had the tools and the skills to help you get the parcel of land that you wanted. He had helpers, of course, who did the "grunt work." Here's how it worked:

Showing your warrant (proof that you were entitled to get some land) to the surveyor, together you went to that parcel to officially measure off the acres you were entitled to have. Usually this was 50 acres, but if you were willing to "go West" into the western part of Virginia, where the Indians were still a presence, then you could have 200 acres.

Once there, you began to generally point out what you wanted and the surveyor, using his tripod and compass, would call out the numbers. His helpers would carry a chain, 33 1/2 feet long, from point to point to measure off the land. The links of this chain looked rather like a pencil with a hook at each end. But to be sure, it was heavy, and to be surer, it must have been a monumental chore to drag that chain over hill and dale, through briers and brambles and thickets. Across rivers and lakes?? How long would you or I have lasted at that job?

Tika did turn around and ask, "Chain? You mean like the one you use to hook me up?" Silly dogger.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tika & Civil War Trivia



One of the first things I did upon returning from my month-long trip to the East (from the West) was to snuggle my Tika in our chair and tell her some of the wonderful stories and things I learned on this trip. She was all ears as I explained some Civil War trivia bits:

"Cush" was fried fatback (like bacon) and then hardtack biscuits crumbled (worms and all) up in the grease ("rendering the hardtack chewable and the worms crispy").  "Goober peas" were peanuts. This Southern staple originated in Brazil and then went to Africa and finally came to America with the enslaved African-Americans.

"Graybacks" were body lice; the soldiers regularly had "grayback races." Only the officers were issued toilet paper. The officers smoked cigars, the juniors smoked pipes and the foot soldiers chewed. For most of the men the war was 80% boredom and 20% sheer terror. Only 50% of the men in the Civil War could read and write. One musical instrument the men played was "bones," using two animal ribs about 7-8" long, to click together.

During the Civil War, over a million horses were killed. "Quickest way to disable an officer was to shoot his horse from beneath him." During the three days at Gettysburg, some 7,000,000 bullets were fired and 53,000 men died.

Only the fatback and crumbles really interested Tika, and worms? "I'm okay with them too!" she said.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tika & Top Ten Genealogy Mistakes


This was my sorry-looking little Tika when I made the mistake of giving her cooked hambone from a pot of hambone and beans. Those gelatinous bites solidified in her tummy and intestinal tract and she barely escaped having surgery (the laxative worked). But it was a Big Mistake that I shall not never repeat!

What, do you suppose, are the Top Ten Commonest Genealogy Mistakes? From a 2005 list compiled by the Connecticut Society of Genealogists they are:

1.  Misspelling the word genealogy.
2.  Believing everything you find in print is correct.
3.  Assuming you're related to XXX because your surname is XXX too.
4.  Being content with finding names, dates and places only for your family.
5.  Believing an undocumented 1908 family history must be correct.
6.  Accepting without question the family stories and legends.
7.  Believing that any variation in the spelling of your surname means it is not your surname.
8.  Never writing down a source.
9.  Believing that everything you find on the Internet is correct.
10. Not bothering to talk to all relatives and searching out new cousins to talk to.

Do you identify with any of these mistakes??

Tika just says, "Please don't bring me to this place ever again!! It smells awful!!"

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tika & Fraudulent Pedigrees



Have you come across a nice tidy genealogy of your family compiled by one Gustave Anjou?? Sorry to have to tell you, but no doubt it is all untruths.

Gustave Anjou, born in Sweden in 1863, made a good living in New York City by pandering to those folks wanting to have good solid European ancestry by giving them what they wanted....... no matter that many of the sources he cited did not exist.

I learned about Anjou from speaker Gordon Remington at an FGS conference back in 2004 and kept this story all these years to remind me to beware.

Gordon told the audience that over 300 fraudulent pedigrees by this fellow have been identified to date. A list of the principle names for these pedigrees can be viewed at this website:

http://www.geni.com/projects/Gustav-Anjou-Fraudulent-Genealogist/4449

Maybe this is not news to you but I hate to think of so many eager-beaver upcoming genealogists who tend to believe anything they might find on the Internet. Surfer, beware!

Tika reminds us that she has no pedigree; all she knows is that she is from Idaho.