Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (January 18, 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.

1.  Three items this week from the treasure blog known as The Vault. Each will be listed as a separate find with a direct link to the subject article.  In the first, blog editor Rebecca Onion selects a piece on everyday words that meant very different things to our Colonial ancestors. Joan P. Bine, director of the Golden Ball Tavern Museum in Massachusetts, is author of "Words They Lived By: Colonial New England Speech, Then and Now" and she has compiled words in categories (work, the military, drinking, the sea, etc.) to illustrate the change in meaning over the years.  Just one example is "backlog", which to us is something yet to be accomplished or completed.  To our ancestors it was more literally the largest log in the fire set in the back of the kitchen fireplace.  Read more examples here.          
2.  If you have Irish ancestors then you need to go to this site selected by UpFront With NGS in this week's Mini Bytes. The Donegal Democrat links to the online archive of 85-year-old recordings so that you can listen to what Irish sounded like almost 100 years ago. You can select various counties. Donegal has 85 recordings, Roscommon has 2, Mayo 33, Derry 11, etc.  Some counties unfortunately do not have any recordings.  Have a listen and read the English transcripts of some wonderful stories!   

3.  I enjoyed Barbara Poole's photos of the homes of Henry David Thoreau -- including a replica of his famous cabin from Walden Pond at Life From The Roots. Barbara has a future venture planned to visit the original location of the Walden Pond cabin and take some photos for us to see. The refocus of Barbara's blog to concentrate on a photo tour of New England locations is a real service to those of us from New England who cannot get there as often as we would like and for those who plan to or hope to visit New England and want to peruse the options they have for a tour.

4.  Here is an interesting post at Laura Mattingly's The Old Truck in the Attic about a mysterious instance of an ancestor having not one, but two tombstones!  

5.  New to me, but a simply wonderful idea, is the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant  established in 2010 by Denise Levenick of The Family Curator blog in honor of her mother's interest in family history.  The $500 cash award has been awarded to young genealogists between 18 and 25 years old for three years now. Information about the grant for 2014 will be posted at The Family Curator  blog in the near future.

6.  You remember old King Alfred the Great, the Saxon king who ruled from 871 to 899, right? It seems his pelvis bone might have been found after all these centuries! Here is the story as told yesterday in The Telegraph.     

7.  An interesting juxtaposition of new and old is captured in the photos of Jason Reblando in the second selection from The Vault. The tintype process photos show modern working Chicagoans standing with ancient artifacts of their occupations.  Have a look at these arresting photographs here.  

8.  Midge Frazel at Granite In My Blood will be on hiatus from posting gravestone photos at that blog in order to devote time and space to her participation in this year's month-long "Family History Writing Challenge" from The Armchair Genealogist, Lynn Palmero. What caught my eye is that Midge is going to spend a week of blogs during the challenge concentrating on explaining the technology she uses to accomplish her research. See Midge's explanation here and then stop by her blog during late January and February.  She promises lots of photographic cuteness. 

9.  And the last of the three selections from The Vault could provide some insight for your family history about why a particular ancestor might have avoided service in the Union Army during the Civil War. One frequent and major cause of exemption from service was an "absence of teeth" because a soldier had to bite off the end of a powder cartridge to load his rifle. The chart of physical examinations shown at this post depicts various occupations, the number in those occupations who were examined for service, and the ratio rejected per 1,000 examined.  There are some fascinating results to ponder. Why, for example would Editors, Watchmen, Upholsterers, and Brokers be rejected for service in such large numbers after physical examination? Have a look here and see if maybe you have some clues about why an ancestor might have been unfit for service in the Union Army even if he otherwise appeared to be of an age to be a prime target for the draft.    
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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  1. Thank you John for this nice surprise. I almost didn't post it because I thought it was only interesting to me. I'm glad you had thoughts in a different vein.

  2. Thank you for including me once again, John! I appreciate your continued interest in my posts.

  3. I am still cute and I love technology

  4. John, you post the most interesting links.