The Drinking Habits of our Early New England Ancestors

The image has been often been painted of early new England Puritans and other religious citizens of the day as being strict and never having any fun. I was brought up in New England and always believed that my many Puritan ancestors would never touch liquor. A new exhibit at the US National Archives claims that I was mistaken.

Here are some of the facts cited:

Early Americans even took a healthful dram for breakfast, whiskey was a typical lunchtime tipple, ale accompanied supper and the day ended with a nightcap. Continuous imbibing clearly built up a tolerance as most Americans in 1790 consumed an average 5.8 gallons of pure alcohol a year, 7.1 gallons in 1830, but only 2.3 gallons of pure alcohol a year today.

Samuel Adams was a partner in his father’s malt house and Thomas Jefferson was famed for importing European wines.

Student Seeks to Return Identities to British War Evacuees

Claire Halstead is a PhD student at the Department of History, The University of Western Ontario. She is researching British children who were evacuated to Canada during the Second World War. She has created a database which traces 1,532 children who came through the Children’s Overseas Reception Board (CORB) and an additional 1,600 who came as ‘private evacuees.’

Roughly two million British children were displaced during the Second World War, shipped from London to Commonwealth countries where they would be safe from bombings. As part of Operation Pied Piper, the first wave of evacuations saw 660,000 children, mothers and hospital patients, as well as 100,000 teachers, moved in just three to four days. By the war’s end, the population of Greater London dropped from 8.7 million to 6.7 million.

England’s Immigrant Records 1330-1550 Now Online

A new database revealing data of immigration in medieval England, held in the records at The National Archives, has been launched online. England’s Immigrants 1330-1550 at http://www.englandsimmigrants.com is the result of a major Arts and Humanities Research Council funded research project by the University of York in collaboration with the Humanities Research Institute (University of Sheffield) and The National Archives.

For the first time the database allows researchers to search over 65,000 immigrants who were resident in England during this period by name, nationality, profession and place of residence.

Ancient Pedigree Chart to be Auctioned for Possibly £40,000 ($62,000 US)

Save your pedigree charts. They may be valuable some day! Well, at least one such chart has become valuable. Of course, it is 23 feet long, was written on calfskin in the 1500s, written in Latin, and describes the genealogy of the Kings of England. It is believed be one of only 13 left in the world, and the only one currently available on the open market.

The scroll charts royalty from the legends of Hely and Cassilbellan in the first century BC right up until the end of the Wars of the Roses in 1485, with specific mention of King Richard III.

You can read more at http://goo.gl/BeXXe3.

The Search for the Grave of Baseball Hall of Inductee Pete Hill

Pete Hill’s baseball legacy can be summed up among the 75 words inscribed on his Hall of Fame plaque in Cooperstown. Listed among his career accomplishments, Hill is characterized as a left-handed line drive hitter with exceptional bat control who hit to all fields and who roamed centerfield with a combination of speed, range and a rifle arm.

During his career with the Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants, Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, Milwaukee Bears and Baltimore Black Sox in the old Negro Leagues, Hill became known as one of baseball’s most consistent hitters. While playing with Detroit in 1919, Hill clubbed 28 home runs – one shy of the number Babe Ruth had hit while playing in more games.

Grad Student Finds Footage of 1915 Chicago Ship Disaster

A graduate student has found the first-known film clips of the SS Eastland ship disaster that left 844 people dead in 1915. The ship was headed to a company picnic when it capsized in the Chicago River. 2,500 people were on board and on their way to a company picnic when the ship capsized in the Chicago River, killing 844. The accident was the deadliest accident in the history of Chicago.

Jeff Nichols, a University of Illinois at Chicago Ph.D. candidate, recently discovered 100-year-old film clips of the SS Eastland disaster. The first Eastland clip lasts 55 seconds and shows volunteers and first responders walking on the hull of the ship. The second, which is 30 seconds, shows the Eastland being righted.

All’s Fair in Love and Classified Ads

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Boston.com has published an article about marital problems advertised for 300 years in American newspapers’ classified ads. Newspapers ran advertisements from men publicly announcing their wives had left them, and that they would no longer “be responsible for her debts.” Hundreds of thousands of ads like these ran in virtually every newspaper across the country, from small town weeklies to The Boston Globe and The New York Times. The tradition lasted into the mid 1980s, when the ads largely stopped appearing.

£10 Million Magna Carta found Hidden in Scrapbook

An edition of the Magna Carta which could be worth up to £10 million ($15.26 million US dollars) has been found after it lay forgotten in a council’s archives.

The discovery of the version of the historical parchment which established the principle of the rule of law, in the files of the history department of Kent County Council, has been described as an important historical find by an expert. The discovery was made by archivist Dr Mark Bateson at the end of December just before the 800th anniversary year celebrations of King John’s concession.

Details may be found in an article in the ITV News at http://goo.gl/ttqdkN.

How Kim Kardashian’s Ancestors Escaped from the Armenian Genocide

I normally don’t pay attention to articles about the ancestry or the relatives of celebrities. However, a recent article about the horrors endured by the Kardashian family 100 years ago strikes me as a notable exception.

The family fled Tsarist Russia in the early twentieth century at a time when many of their relatives and neighbors were being slaughtered solely because of their ethnicity.

Founders Online

Founders Online is a tool for seamless searching across the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. It is a fully searchable online database of over 165,000 documents, including thousands of documents that have not yet appeared in the published volumes. While the focus is on these founding fathers, their papers include the names and activities of many of the people they dealt with. You might find an ancestor listed in the database and, if so, the information might show what he or she did during the American Revolution.

Les Filles du Roi

If you have French-Canadian ancestry, you probably have encountered the term “Filles du Roi” at some point in your genealogy research. Millions of today’s Canadians and Americans can find one or more of the Filles du Roi in the family tree. I thought I would explain the term this week and also provide some historical background information.

The French term “Filles du Roi” translates literally as “the daughters of the King.” Between 700 and perhaps 1,000 young, single women traveled to Quebec City, Trois Rivières, and Montréal from 1663 to 1673 as a part of a program managed by the Jesuits and funded by King Louis XIV.

Jean Talon, Bishop François de Laval and several settlers welcome the King’s Daughters upon their arrival. Painting by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale.

These hardy immigrant women married and raised families. In fact, many of them raised large families in the tradition of the day. Many of their sons and daughters went on to also have large families, and so on and so forth for generations. As a result, millions of living people are descended from this group of pioneer women.

A South Texas Internment Camp for German-American Citizens during World War II

Click on the above image to view a Larger version.

The hardships endured by Japanese-Americans who suffered forced relocation and incarceration during World War II are well documented and well-known. The rationale is that these Americans of Japanese ancestry might have been spies. However, Japan was not the only nation at war with the United States and not the only nation to have sent emigrants to the United States.

Americans of German descent were also sent to internment camps. One thing I found interesting is that many of the detainees were pawns traded for “more important” Americans held behind enemy lines during and after the war.

Kentucky Genealogy Enthusiast Recovers Central Ohio Library Time Capsule

A tin box holding records of daily life in Marysville was inside the cornerstone of the city’s Carnegie library for 75 years before its 1997 demolition. The box arrived at the current public library earlier this month from a genealogy enthusiast from Kentucky who bought it at a yard sale about a decade ago, the Marysville Journal-Tribune reported.

Why Your Ancestors May Have Received “40 Acres And A Mule”

As the Civil War was winding down 150 years ago, Union leaders gathered a group of black ministers in Savannah, Ga. The goal was to help the thousands of newly freed slaves. From that meeting came Gen. William T. Sherman’s Special Field Order 15. It set aside land along the Southeast coast so that “each family shall have a plot of not more than forty acres of tillable ground.” That plan later became known by a signature phrase: “40 acres and a mule.”

You can read about this interesting story, and its sad ending, in an article by Sarah McCammon in the NPR web site at http://goo.gl/YBk4w1.

$1,000 Reward Offered for an Historic Photograph – If It Exists

Shawn Adamsson is looking for a photograph taken between 1887 and 1899 of the 19th-century London, Ontario, railway turntable building with locomotives in the shot. Can you help?

Looking for Descendants of UK Soldiers who Fought in the Battle of Waterloo

Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are estimated to have relatives who fought in June 1815. The campaign is one of several events planned to commemorate a turning point in European history. The group Waterloo 200, which is running the events, said such research had not been attempted before.

A Cow’s Head Will Not Erupt from Your Body if You Get a Smallpox Vaccination

Our ancestors had some strange ideas about medicine.

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, smallpox was a common and often fatal medical disease. According to Wikipedia, the disease killed an estimated 400,000 Europeans annually during the closing years of the 18th century (including five reigning monarchs), and was responsible for a third of all blindness. Of all those infected, 20–60 percent — and over 80 percent of infected children — died from the disease. There was no cure at the time.

While Cotton Mather and others practiced inoculation in the 1700s, the practice was not well-known or in widespread use until Edward Jenner, an 18th-century English country doctor, discovered that immunity to smallpox could be produced by inoculating a person with material from a cowpox lesion. He published his findings and other doctors soon started vaccinating their patients.

The practice caused widespread controversy, however. As scary as smallpox may have been, people were also terrified of this new idea of inoculation. Religious leaders said it was immoral to stop a disease that God has created.

This Day in History: Samuel Morse Demonstrates Telegraph Machine

Portrait of Samuel F. B. Morse taken by Mathew Brady, in 1866. Click on the image to view a larger version.

On January 6, 1838, painter Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872) gave his first public demonstration of his new telegraph system. Within a few years, telegraph lines were strung across the United States and the Atlantic, completely changing the nature of long distance communication. By the end of the nineteenth century telegraph lines could be found in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. It was the first method of high-speed communications, a concept that has been expanded greatly since 1838.

Before the invention of the telegraph, postal services and messengers were the only common methods of sending information over long distances and even across oceans. Such methods required days or weeks for messages to reach their recipients.

The Fashions of Our Female Ancestors

Photographer Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910) captured everyday fashion in the early 20th century. He used photographs of friends, family and servants as reference models for his art. He was an illustrator and the chief cartoonist of the English magazine Punch.

According wife Marion’s diary, his photography eventually moved from hobby to obsession. You can see a collection of some of his photographs, all apparently taken from 1905 though 1908 on the streets of Kensington, London, at http://mashable.com/2015/01/01/edwardian-fashion-photography.

Japanese Family who tended Briton’s Grave for 140 Years Finally Learn His Identity

More than 140 years after their ancestors started tending the grave of a British man who died in obscurity, a Japanese family has finally learned his identity – and received an official message of thanks from the British government.

For many years, members of the Murai loved ones, who reside in Ishikawa prefecture on the Japan Sea coast, believed they had been maintaining the last resting place of a man named Philip Ward. In truth, the grave belongs to Bernard George Littlewood, who came to Japan to teach English in 1870, just as the nation was beginning to modernize.

You can read the interesting story at http://goo.gl/PYDrbM.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,486 other followers