Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday Serendipity (September 21, 2013)

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 has a mini-theme of longing to locate and see the homes of our ancestors and relatives -- and the changes time has wrought.

1.  "Locating Richard Ballou" is a recent post by Diane MacLean Boumenot on One Rhode Island Family.  Diane's posts are always examples of thorough research and a creative thinking process.  This one is no exception and I recommend it for the process it illustrates. [DISCLAIMER: Diane includes a kind mention of a map I provided to her, but read it for her research process and writing.]   

2.  Wouldn't all of us who own a home just love to have a photograph or picture to show precisely what the exact spot where our home is located looked like, say, 100 or even 150 years ago?  Well today some lucky people that live at 1717 Shearn in Houston, Texas in new single-family, three-bedroom, 3.5 bath, $395,000 townhouses on Lot 12, Block 299, Baker Addition can see the family home that sat on that exact location in 1908-1909.  And so can you at ABY UNK, the blog by Amanda Pape, Those Places Thursday: 1717 Shearn, Houston, Texas, circa 1908-09

3.  And in the same vein, have a look at the photograph posted here by Laura Mattingly on her blog, The Old Trunk in the Attic.  Laura has found the site she believes to be the location of her ancestor's homestead.  If the high power lines were gone it would surely be what the couple in American Gothic would looking out over!   

4.  "Hallelujah!" Today is the birthday of one of my favorite singer songwriters and poets -- Leonard Cohen.  Most people are not aware that the song Hallelujah, which has been recorded by 200 or so singers (including k.d. lang,  Allison Crowe,  Jeff Buckley and of course John Cale and Rufus Wainwright who sing the song in Shrek the movie and the Shrek soundtrack respectively) was actually written by Leonard Cohen.  If you too are a fan, raise a glass to Leonard sometime today while reading his poems or listening to his music.  [I recommend his original version of Hallelujah and the classic 1967 album, Songs of Leonard Cohen.]

5.  As I have mentioned here before, most of us are fascinated by seeing photographs and pictures of our ancestors and relatives caught at moments in time during their lives.  We can see and imagine their lives at different stages.  Our favorite legal eagle genealogist, Judy Russell, has a nice birthday pictorial tribute to her aunt today and shares with all of us some beautiful family photos of her aunt from young girl to adult woman here in Trisha's birthday.  

6.  And speaking of old family photos, if you have followed Jana's posts about her "Traveling Dentist Great-Grandfather" and his son -- Jana's Grandfather Debs -- check out here the photo Jana posted showing Debs with two of his sisters the day after Christmas 1922.  The look on Debs's face is classic -- a little boy attracted by something off camera while his sisters dutifully attend to the photographer and the camera.  One has to wonder what drew Debs's attention slightly to the side.  :-)   
7.  For those fellow bloggers who clearly have an interest in writing and history, I highly recommend you look at and, better yet, subscribe to Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac.        

8.  A reminder that we all need to attend to the proper preservation of our precious family documents and photographs is always welcomed.  Janine Adams at Organize Your Family History  provides just such a reminder with citations to some useful resources.

9.  Heather Rojo continues her 20th Century Americana series (centered in New England) with some wonderful photos of "programmatic advertising architecture" along Route 1 in Saugus and Lynnfield, Massachusetts.  It is not "lions and tigers and bears, oh my," but dinosaurs, Tiki god, cattle and more, oh my!  
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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  1. John,

    Thank you so much for the mention!

  2. I'm glad you're enjoying the 20th Century Americana stories. I almost thought that the Route 1 photos were too tacky, but it caused quite a lot of comments on Facebook, so I guess it brought up a lot of nostalgia!