Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday (April 23, 2014) -- What Is This?

[Posting resumes today after the longest hiatus (10 days) since The Prism began in December 2012.  I was away on an extended visit to my parents in New Hope, PA.]




_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Scan of originals in the possession of my cousin, Bruce Marquardt.  Thank you Bruce!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (April 12, 2014)




Saturdays often allow a more leisurely approach to life than work days. I can more easily post links to some blog posts or other materials I have discovered during the week, or even to those discovered during a Saturday morning coffee and extended surfing of the blogosphere/internet. 

Here are a few recommendations for inclusion on your reading list this week .  .  .  

1.  Inevitably, genealogy is inescapably concerned with death almost as much as it is with life. Across history, events involving horrendous numbers of deaths impact families and thus genealogies (think wars, epidemics, calamities of weather, and disasters of human error or ignorance) . . . but what do we really know about the magnitude of the numbers of deaths due to these kinds of events, and how they compare to one another? At Wait But Why blog a reprise of an old post titled, "The Death Toll Comparison Breakdown" makes very interesting (albeit depressing) reading. I recommend it.
     
2.  From NEHGS's The  Weekly Genealogist . . .  You will find this article interesting if you know the story of the 257 cadets at VMI (Virginia Military Institute) who took up arms and marched to New Market, VA to shore up Confederate forces and turn the New Market battle for the South. If you have family from Virginia and other southern states who you think attended VMI and might have been among the 257, then you want to read this Washington Post article about the VMI grad who is tracing the lineage of the 247 cadets who survived New Market in order to identify living descendants. So far he has found 1,000 descendants!  

3.  Also from a tip in The Weekly Genealogist . . . a nice article on how young folks are being introduced to genealogy (and genealogy research sources) in schools through the "Storykeepers" project of children's author Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. 

4.  We should all be so lucky as to have the kind of documentary record of our parents' wedding that Donna Catterick has.  Donna shares her treasure trove at This I Leave blog.  It is just a nice read that illustrates how chock full of genealogical information these items can be. 

5.  UpFront At NGS provided us TWO very useful resources in the latest "Mini Bytes." One is a nice tip for deciphering old and new medical terms so we can understand the illnesses and causes of death we come across in our genealogy research.  AND the resource is international so you can explore the medical terms in languages other than just English. Check out the Medical Heritage Library.  The other is a very useful and interesting source for researching American regional words, phrases and pronunciations!  Sadly, when I visited I found it might require a subscription costing individuals $150/yr., but check out D.A.R.E., the Dictionary of American Regional English here and see if you would like to sign up.  

6.  Thursday was National Siblings Day and you have to love the photos of very young siblings together.  Two examples that just bring a smile to your face at Twigs and Trees blog and Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog.

     
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Fotos (April 11, 2014) -- Enjoying Sailor's Duff



Just over a month ago, I posted the recipe for a favorite family dessert tradition -- Sailor's Duff. Today's Friday Foto captures what could be our younger son Christopher's first taste of Sailor's Duff at about age two.  He certainly seems to be enjoying the warm and wonderful molassas treat -- and his two-handed delivery makes sure none escapes.  

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Photograph from the family collection.  Taken at our first home in Sterling, Virginia when Christopher was about two years old.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Those Places Thursday (April 10, 2014) -- Russia

With all the recent news about Russia and Ukraine and the take-over of the Crimea, it made me recall a week-long trip I took to Russia in 2006 (St. Petersburg and Moscow only) with a friend.  It was definitely a different experience as these photos will illustrate.


The high goose-stepping young soldier above is part of a changing of the guard ceremony at a memorial to war dead in the shadow of the Kremlin wall (which can be seen in the background).


This photo is interesting. In view of the news reports of a resurgent interest in the Soviet Union in Russia and especially in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine as shown by the flying of the old Soviet flag and the playing of Soviet music, I remembered that the elderly couple in this picture were playing patriotic Soviet music full blast on the boom box the man is holding. They were in the porch entry to a building just outside Red Square and the open arch and brick made the music echo and sound even more strident.  The couple was were largely ignored then, but I am not so sure it would be the same today.


This is a huge Eastern Orthodox church in Moscow within easy walking distance of the Kremlin and Red Square. I'm not sure if there is anything allegorical in the story of this cathedral given past history and recent news, but it sure made me think.

The church above is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.  It is 338 feet high and is the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world. It was originally built in the 1800s and it took 40 years to complete.  Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture premiered in the cathedral in 1882.  

In 1931, Joseph Stalin completely destroyed the cathedral in order to make way for a stupendous structure to be known as the Palace of the Soviets.  The Palace was never built and instead a gigantic open-air swimming pool was constructed in its place. Then, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the pool was destroyed and cathedral was completely re-built in the 1990s to duplicate the original cathedral on the original site.  Pictured above is the second coming of the cathedral and it was largely funded by donations to a construction fund by over 1 million Russians.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Photographs by the author (November 2006).

For more information about the Cathedral of Christ the Savior see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_Christ_the_Saviour. For more about the story of the cathedral, historic photos of the original building, the swimming pool and the conception for the Palace of the Soviets, see http://io9.com/5981106/the-strange-history-of-the-moscow-cathedral-that-couldnt-be-destroyed 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday (April 9, 2014) -- D.J. O'Kane, Jr.'s 1936 Diploma from Great Neck High School, New York



_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Scan of the original high school diploma of Molly's late father, our sons' maternal grandfather.  The original is in the family collection.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (April 5, 2014)




Saturdays often allow a more leisurely approach to life than work days. I can more easily post links to some blog posts or other materials I have discovered during the week, or even to those discovered during a Saturday morning coffee and extended surfing of the blogosphere/internet. 

Here are a few recommendations for inclusion on your reading list this week .  .  .  

1.  What a difference 109 years makes.  Jana Last of Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog shares with us not just the 1905 postcard of Santa Catalina Island, CA that was addressed to her 2nd great-grandaunt, she also cleverly provides a modern photo taken from the same vantage point as the picture on the postcard.  Two things jumped out to me:  (1) how much greener it is 109 years later; and (2) the manmade objects on the peaks that were not there in 1905.  Have a look.  
     
2.  Would you like to help solve a mystery? Maybe you can you identify the man who took more than 400 photobooth "selfies" beginning in the 1930s just after the introduction of the photobooth in 1926.  See 27 samples of the mystery man's work as he ages over the years here at The Vault -- and let Rebecca Onion know of you know who the man is!     

3.  Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings blog has a nice post about new multi-generational family chart options available at CreatFan.com IF you are on FamilySearch.  

4.  I think we all get the procrastination blues at one time or another when we think of the backlog of genealogy tasks we have set for ourselves. The thought of having to tackle all those files, documents, inputting etc. that have accumulated makes us freeze like a deer in the headlights. Janine Adams at Organize Your Family History blog has faced a backlog and offers a tip on how to handle them generally and how she decided to tag files with metadata specifically.     

5.  If you have not seen Judy Russell's post about the sad practice some have of simply taking the stories researched and written by other genealogists and posting them on-line to their trees without any attribution whatsoever, you can read Judy's excellent piece here at her blog, The Legal Genealogist.          

6.  UpFront With NGS blog has an informative post about the certification process for limited access to the Social Security Death Master File. You can read it here.       

7.  And finally, also courtesy of UpFront, is a piece about a collection of 5,000 World War I photographs that were rescued from the dump by a man in England.  Read here about Bob Smethurst and his 36 years of rescuing and collecting and see some of the wonderful photographs he has saved from destruction.         

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Fotos (April 4, 2014) -- Lake Sunapee, NH


When I lived in Concord, NH back in the early 1960s, my best friend's family had a summer place on Lake Sunapee in the shadow of Mount Sunapee, a state ski resort. I spent many summer days at the lake with my friend's family and I have loved fresh water lakes ever since.

Sunapee is the fifth largest lake in New Hampshire and it is a glacial lake with extremely good water quality even today. Native Americans (Algonquins) named the lake "Soo-Nipi" meaning Wild Goose Waters because of all the geese that migrated over the lake..  The lake is 8.1 miles long and 2.5 miles wide at its widest point.

The photograph above was taken in about 1972 during my first visit back to Sunapee since I left New Hampshire in 1965. It is taken from the property of my friend's family looking toward Mt. Sunapee. The photograph brings back many wonderful memories of youth.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Photograph by the author.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

International Children's Book Day (April 2, 2014)

As has been noted at The Prism in previous posts here and here, reading has always been an immensely important part of our family culture and experience. We exposed our sons to books and read to them from the time they were infants and could snuggle against us on the couch or sit on our laps in a chair. Their rooms always contained books and it was rare indeed if a birthday or Christmas or other holiday passed without the gift of a book or two to each of our sons. Our homes have always been "decorated" (though some might suggest "cluttered") with books, magazines and newspapers. Currently, we have boxes of children's books in storage just waiting to be awoken for use with future grandchildren.

Based on this family reverence for reading and books, the day cannot be allowed to pass without paying homage to the fact that today is "International Children's Book Day" (ICBD).  April 2nd was first declared International Children's Book Day in 1967 by IBBY (the "International Board on Books for Young People") in honor of Hans Christian Andersen, who was born on April 2, 1805 in Odense, Denmark. 






As stated at the IBBY web page for ICBD, "Each year a different National Section of IBBY has the opportunity to be the international sponsor of ICBD. It decides upon a theme and invites a prominent author from the host country to write a message to the children of the world and a well-known illustrator to design a poster."



The National host for ICBD this year is Ireland and the poster designed by Niamh Sharkey is shown above. The ICBD message for 2014 is from Siobhán Parkinson, the former Laureate na nÓg (Children’s Laureate of Ireland). Ms Parkinson's 2014 message to the children of the world can be read here.   [The United States was the National Host for 2013 and the poetic message for 2013 by poet Pat Mora can be read here.  The 2013 poster by designer Ashley Bryan is shown below.



 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Photograph of Hans Christian Andersen by Thora Hallager (1869) is taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HCA_by_Thora_Hallager_1869.jpg.  It is in the public domain.


Photograph of the statue of Hans Christian Andersen by the author from a trip to Copenhagen in 2007.  Children and adults alike pose sitting on the knee of the famous author of children's literature and the polished surface of Hans's knees are a testament to how popular this ritual is among residents and tourists.

Images of the 2014 International Children's Book Day poster by Irish artist Niamh Sharkey and the 2013 poster by American designer Ashley Bryan are both taken from http://www.ibby.org/index.php?id=317 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
_ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _