Saturday, June 4, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (June 4, 2016)

Here are just a few recommended items of interest for your reading pleasure . . .

1.   Just over two weeks ago Nancy Messier, of My Ancestors and Me blog, posted a review of a book published in 2015 . . . The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff. As I read Nancy's book review I had just, days earlier, begun reading the same book myself.  I am much further into the book now and want to enthusiastically join Nancy in recommending this 417-page book!  Who should read this well-written and meticulously researched book? Of course anyone with a general interest in American history and the subject of "witchcraft" should add this book to their reading stack. But, everyone with New England -- and particularly early Massachusetts Bay Colony -- roots must add this book to their genealogy library.  Why? Because of the picture Ms Schiff so vividly paints of day-to-day life in late 17th century Massachusetts Bay Colony and greater New England. The background provided by this book can only serve to add to your understanding of the social and political milieu in which your 17th century Massachusetts and New England ancestors and relatives lived.    

2.  James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog posted an interesting piece on paper vs. electronic books. He makes some excellent points about ebooks. And, for those of us involved in genealogy research and writing, his list of ebook benefits resonates when he mentions the ease of searching specific terms, clipping portions for use in blog posts and other writing, etc. Check out his thoughts here.   
3.  If you have New York roots, you need to be aware that for the month of June NEHGS (New England Historic Genealogical Society) is making their New York databases available to non-member guests FOR FREE! You can sign up for access here.  You have 26 days left.   

4.  And speaking of FREE access, NEHGS has just added sketches of western Massachusetts families to its online database and made the collection available to non-member guests for one month. The sketches are of families who were enumerated in the 1790 census in Berkshire and Hampshire (now Franklin and Hampden) counties.  Ten sketches are being added to the database each week.  The first ten are for the families of:  Jehiel Baldwin; Caleb Beals; Lemuel Beaman; John Bigelow; Aaron Bowen; Benajah Bowen; Elijah Bowen; Hezekiah Bowen; John Bowen; and Joseph Bowen.  See the collection of sketches here.       

5.  Here is a very interesting piece by David Allen Lambert of the NEHGS staff that appeared in the NEHGS blog Vita Brevis (May 18, 2016).  Mr. Lambert notes that on May 12, 2016, Susannah Mushatt Jones died in Brooklyn, NY at the age of 116 years, 311 days. The amazing thing about Susannah's death is not just that she was, at the time, the oldest living person in the world and thus the oldest living American . . . she was also the last living American to have been born in the 19th century (which includes all people born in America through December 31, 1900)!  There are several other interesting facts in Mr. Lambert's blog post. Have a read!         

6.  How about some vinegar on your rye and rum pancakes?? Peter Muise of New England Folklore blog takes a short detour from his usual stories of witches and the like to explore a delicacy of the brown cuisine of old New England. Read here about some special pancakes you too can make and experience. You will need to rush out and have handy some: rye flour; molasses; New England rum [I, of course, highly recommend Thomas Tew Rum by Newport Distilling Co. in Newport, RI]; sugar; and apple cider vinegar. Bon appétit!
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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  1. Thanks for mentioning my review of the book, John. I appreciate it.

  2. Love your Saturday Serendpity posts. Always find something useful, yet out of the ordinary !

    1. Thank you for your kind comment Magda! It is always encouraging to hear that some readers out there find Saturday Serendipity interesting and useful. Thank you for being one of them! ;-)