Saturday, November 2, 2013

Saturday Serendipity (November 2, 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.

1.  On September 25th I posted here about a website called "Public Profiler" where one could search for the distribution of surnames world-wide.  This week I recommend a related site on Public Profiler where one can view the distribution of surnames in Great Britain for either the year 1881 or 1998.  Go here and select the link that is the circle titled "Search for a Surname." It was amazing to me to enter the name "Tew" for 1881 and then to compare it with the distribution of the same surname for 1998.  The growth in distribution in 117 years was truly impressive.  I wonder if others find the same increase for their surname as a simple outgrowth of a general population explosion or if the Tews in the UK are just an unusually prolific group.

2.  Slate, the on-line magazine, has a history blog called The Vault and from time-to-time it has items that are of definite interest to genealogists in addition to those with just a general interest in history.  Check it out.

3.  And just to prove the point in item #2 above,  here is an item of interest for genealogists from The Vault -- a piece on the diary kept by a conductor on the Underground Railroad.  The diary records the names, ages, skills, status of family members, the names of the slave owners and words about the conditions of the enslavement that was being left behind.  The "Conductor" who wrote the diary was William Still of Philadelphia.  He was the son of a woman who escaped slavery to freedom before his birth.

4.  If you ever read Clive Cussler's The Wrecker, you got a good idea of the importance of train travel in the U.S. during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  You also got some word images of how devastating the all too common train wrecks were.  Here is a piece that shows some photographs of actual train wrecks on just the New York Ontario & Western Railway in New York in the 1870s.  Trains were the airline travel of their day with all the speed and possible luxury we associate with air travel today -- but train travel also had its dangers, as these photos illustrate.

5.  Maybe it is just me, but since we all have a stake in the eradication of diseases -- such as breast cancer -- that can devastate our loved ones and families, aren't awareness and education important tools to accomplish eradication?  And schools are overwhelmingly the most prevalent instrument for early education aren't they?  And a bit of humor almost always helps the message go down (to offer a play on the Mary Poppins song), doesn't it?  Well then, what is the big deal on the "I <3 Boobies!" bracelet lawsuit in Pennsylvania??  This is an important disease to conquer and all the tools at our disposal should be used, from the genetic (so well covered by Judy Russell at The Legal Genealogist), to the unobtrusive, humorous awareness bracelets worn to school by two tween girls in Easton PA back in 2010.  I mean really!!  The school district loses 20 to 30 times on the issue including before the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals and now the school board votes 7 to 1 to spend more time and precious resources to take this all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States because they think this is a "sexual double-entendre" infecting their school?  What are they teaching in Easton, PA?  

I don't get it.  I thought this was about cancer awareness not sex.  [Perhaps the girls  should have had bracelets that said, "I <3 The Girls!" -- but I suspect the Easton School Board would not have gotten it and would have gone down a completely different path to ban and censor those bracelets!]    

6.  What was the first national memorial to Abraham Lincoln? WRONG -- it was not the Lincoln Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C.  Nine years earlier a transcontinental highway dubbed the "Lincoln Highway" was completed tying New York's Times Square and San Francisco's Lincoln Park together.  The highway was dedicated 100 years ago on October 31st, 1913.  Read more about this memorial and what could have been the route some of your ancestors and relatives used to relocate west at the beginning of the last century by checking out this website. Be sure to have a look at the interactive map, which is the first link at the home page.    

7.  If only for the colorful "flower disk," you should check out this graphic depiction of social media and the link on use of social media in genealogy at UpFront with NGS.  [Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings also referenced this issue and contributed his thoughts and personal social media use list here. By the way, a belated Happy Birthday Randy on the 30th anniversary of the celebration of your 40th birthday!

8.  Do you have ancestors or relatives who served in the Army in World War II?  If so, you should have this website in your genealogy favorites list.  The site will allow you to search 8,433,326 records of U.S. Army soldiers, reservists, and enlistees -- for FREE. 

9.   If you know Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy through her blog or otherwise, you should set your alarm clock and mark your calendar to listen to the BBC Radio Ulster presentation on original Scots-Irish culture in New Hampshire.  Heather and some genealogy/history friends and colleagues were interviewed for the program when the Radio Ulster team visited Derry, NH this past August.  The program will air tomorrow (Sunday, November 3, 2013) on the radio show "A Kist o Wurds" at 11:00 AM (EST?) and it can then be listened to on this website  for a week following the original broadcast.

10.  All good things must come to an end and so it is with the passing of Halloween 2013 and the last of Bill West's New England tales for this witching season.  You can read the last of the posts in this mini-series (which are actually two poems) at West in New England for October 30th and 31st.  Bill ends with a wonderful poem that I had not thought about or read in ages -- "Little Orphant Annie" by James Whitcomb Riley.  [Bill was not the only one to recall this wonderfully scary poem for Halloween 2013. Since one set of my great great grandparents came from Roscommon, Ireland, I follow the blog Roscommon Roots and the poem was also posted there on Halloween 2013.]  
An' the Gobble-uns 'il git you ef you don't watch out! {And if you don't visit these blogs to read the full poem!}
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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