Monday, November 29, 2010

Family History Library & Temple Square Here I Come!

Tika will miss me, but Handy Man will take good care of her. For year #26, I am off on the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour and each year I cannot wait and the experience just gets funner and funner and better and better. Christmas is happening there; Temple Square will be brilliant with millions of lights and this year I think there will be plenty of snow. All the indoor spaces are decorated too, especially with poinsettias everywhere. And the pretty-empty Family History Library is wonderful too. Wish you all could be there with me; I will be blogging but without pictures. And yes, Tika and Handy Man, I will miss you both.......... at least a little.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snow Digging Doxie

Tika must think there are badgers or some sort of critters in the snow berms (left behind the plowing) for she will dig in clear up to her tail........... she'll back out snorting snow and then dive right back in. It is really fun to watch this show. Soon her chest and front legs are covered with icy-snowy balls which really impedes the digging but no matter, she digs away. So far, no animals have been clawed, chomped or otherwise harmed in this activity, not even Tika. How to liken this to genealogy? Persistence! When you know the answer is there, you just gotta keep digging for it. Thanks, Tika, for the good example.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turkey in my yard.

Tika says: I have long given up on trying to chase this turkey into some fun action but let me tell you I try my darndest to bark and scare the real turkey-birds who flock into Nice Lady and Handy Man's yard. But they must be deaf; just like Rusty Turkey, the real ones are either deaf or too snooty to care about a barking dachshund. Thinking of turkey, Nice Lady read where turkey and venison were about the only foods the Pilgrims had on that first Thanksgiving that we traditionally enjoy today. Me? I like turkey, venison, FOOD!

Friday, November 26, 2010

William Bradford..... My Ancestor

William Bradford was quite a man and I'm proud to call him ancestor. Coming from a hard childhood, staying true to his Separatist beliefs, escaping England for Holland only to learn that freedom for him and the group was not to be found there and so managing to work a deal to finance a trip across the Atlantic to "the Virginias" and only to arrive onto New England shores in a bleak December in 1620. The group struggled and it wasn't until 1627 that they knew for sure that they would survive. He first married Dorothy May in Holland and had a son, John, who stayed behind when the Mayflower sailed. Dorothy died in the frigid waters of Plymouth Harbor soon after they arrived. In 1623 William married widow Alice Carpenter and they had four children, including my ancestor, William. The elder William soon became the second governor of the colony and served for decades. He died in 1657 and is buried in the cemetery in Plymouth were so many others of the Pilgrims rest. I have visited Plymouth and this cemetery. Great Grandpa Bradford, thank you for all you did for me.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Plymouth Rock..... Was It Real?

Was there really a certain rock onto which the Pilgrims stepped as they landed that cold December day in Plymouth Harbor??? Maybe yes and maybe no.

In the August 1987 issue of The Mayflower Quarterly (publication of the Society of Mayflower Descendants), I authored an article on "The History of Plymouth Rock." I researched and wrote the bit because if it was true, then my ancestor had put his foot upon that very rock!

Well, bottom line, there is no real, hard-core evidence that the rock now enshrined in a columned portico in Plymouth harbor is that "real" rock or not. Surely there is much history about the rock but it was a good 200 years later that folks really got interested in finding and preserving the rock...... if it existed. You do your reading and research and let me know what you think!

I've been lucky enough to have visited Plymouth and visited the rock. It's way too big to pick up so all thoughts of purloining it fled from my mind. But to stand there and close your eyes and imagine......... ah, that is the real magic of the rock.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mayflower..... A "sweet" ship.

The Mayflower was what was called "a sweet ship." Before carrying the Pilgrims across the Atlantic, she had been a cargo ship transporting wine between England and other European countries; hence, she smelled "sweet." That was surely a plus. But consider these numbers: there were 102 passengers plus a crew of 25-30. The ship was estimated to be about 100' long by 25' wide, or 2500 square feet. When you divide 2500 by 128 (guessing) you get less than 20 square feet per person in which to live and store your belongings. A typical bedroom is 10x12? Or 120 square feet. Would you want to live for 66 days (on a rough north Atlantic crossing) with 10 other people in a space the size of your bedroom or office?????? My hat is off to my ancestor, William Bradford, and all those intrepid others.

The Mayflower had been in service since 1609 (under the constant command of Capt. Christopher Jones) and in 1623, after her most famous voyage, the ship returned to England and was likely dismantled for scrap lumber. Although the story is considered apocryphal, the Mayflower Barn just outside the Quaker village of Jordans in Buckinghamshire is said to be built from these timbers.

This photo is of a replica, the Mayflower II, moored in Plymouth harbor and open for touring.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tika & Me & Snow

Snow was "belly deep on a dachshund" here today. And it was a high of 9 degrees. Tika and her Nice Lady stayed indoors, by the fire, one of us computer-surfing and the other rawhide-bone-chewing. Good day for genealogy!!!

Mayflower Compact........ Did You Know?

Tika has again given me permission to continue this saga. One important aspect of the Mayflower-Pilgrim story was the crafting of the Mayflower Compact. This was the first governing document of the Plymouth Colony. The Mayflower was originally bound for the mouth of the Hudson River (land granted there by the Crown to the Virginia Company) but for several reasons the ship sailed north to the New England coast. This decision inspired some of the "strangers" (colonists who were not members of the congregation) to say that since the settlement would not be made in the agreed-upon territory they "would use their own liberty; for non had power to command them....." The wiser heads, knowing winter was coming and they must work together to survive, drew up what was in essence a social contract in which the settlers consented to follow common rules and regulations for the sake of survival.

Known as the Mayflower Compact, it was signed on 11 Nov 1620 (OS..... or 21 Nov 1620 NS) by 41 of the ship's 102 passengers in what is now Provincetown Harbor near Cape Cod. With Google you can find and read a transcript of this famous document. And now you know.

Thank you, Tika.

Monday, November 22, 2010

William Bradford....... Portrait

Tika has given me permission to continue the story: This is said to be a portrait of William Bradford. I'm sure he looked something like this..... but white collars? Naaahhhh. Bradford was the second governor of the Plymouth Colony and his memoirs or autobiography, Of Plimouth Plantation, is a wonderful read for any descendant. He coined the term "pilgrims" for his group. As I recall from that book, when the group was considering leaving Holland for America, it was a much-discussed and difficult decision. "But we knew we were pilgrims....." wrote Bradford, and so were destined to cross the ocean. There are dozens of websites and hundreds of books about Bradford, the Mayflower, the colony and all the history. Go have yourself a very good Thanksgiving week read.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

William Bradford.......... My Ancestor

Tika has given me permission to tell you all about my most famous ancestor, so here goes. I remember so well when I discovered (back in about 1977) that my maternal lineage went straight back to William Bradford of Mayflower and Plymouth Colony fame. Boy did that deeply set the hook of genealogy and escalate my interest in American history. William Bradford was born in 1589 and in this house in Austerfield, England. I won't go into his entire biography; you can Google and learn more than you want to know. With the Separatists he went to Leyden, Holland and there married Dorothy May. They had a son, John, who stayed behind when the Mayflower sailed west. Dorothy endured the voyage but drowned in Plymouth Harbor (some say suicide; I would think depression). In 1623 William married Alice Carpenter; my line descends from their son, William (1624-1703) through his daughter Melatiah. Isn't that just the prettiest name you've ever heard? So begins Thanksgiving week for Tika and me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Color Bindness...... People & Dogs

According to The Essential Dachshund doxies "cannot distinguish many colors." Does that say they are color blind? My son-in-law is color blind. According to Wikipedia, many more men than women are color blind...... 99.5% vs. .5%. Color blindness is a condition that affects the person's perception of colors. These discrepancies lead to changes in color vision that range from mild difficulty in recognizing shades to total inability of detecting colors. (And you wondered why your man mis-matched his tie and shirt and his socks??) How did the condition of color bindness affect our male ancestors? I suspect they, not knowing any difference, coped quite well. And Tika? "What me worry?" is her answer.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Family History Time: Grandmother's Birthday

Clara Anna JOSEPH was born on 22 November 1894 in Ivy Landing, Monroe County, Illinois. She was born when her mother was 44 (old by that day's standards). She was born in a little "landing" town along the Mississippi River that has long since washed away. Her parents, Henry/Heinrich JOSEPH and Magdalena REGNER, both came from the tiny German village of Alzey but (so the story goes) did not know each other there. Alzey was a wine-growing, agricultural region, and Monroe County seemed very similar to immigrating German. Clara was the youngest of 11 children and I love the stories she told me........... like how she never went to school past third grade. Her father was a shoemaker and she did not like wearing his homemade shoes (the kids teased her) so she quit. And for whatever reason, her parents did not force the issue. At one point, Magdalena and little Clara boarded an overnight steamer for the trip upriver to St.Louis so Magdalena could visit her older married daughters. Accommodations were spartan and the little rooms had no water. Clara, like all little children, wanted a drink of water. So Magdalena bravely went up to the bar in the smokey card room and requested a drink of water for her child. They gave it to her in a heavy glass beer glass.............. which I still have. Why did she not return it or leave it? Who knows? Clara's father died on 22 Feb 1917 of stomach cancer. But Clara married George Louis Gurney on 12 April 1917 just as he was entering Basic Training at the Great Lakes Naval Station. Lucky for me, WW I ended before he was finished. I think this photo is the nearest thing to a wedding photo that I have. Clara died in 1973; thank goodness I got to know her and spend some time with her.

Tika is home!

Nice Lady brought me home yesterday and it was soooo good to be HOME. "What have we learned from this?" I asked her. "NO MORE BONES..... I will follow the vet's recommendation."

But as she held me in her lap I could tell she was musing on all the lost pets she's knows...... and multiply that into all the lost pets her ancestors knew.......... how many have old photos of an ancestor with their pet??? Never was, never is and never will be fun to loose a beloved pet.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nice Lady Was Veeerrrryyyy Bad

Know what happened when I, Tika, gobbled down an entire cooked ham hock?? Nice Lady, thinking she was being extra nice to me, gave me a big juicy, marow-filled, hambone and I did eat. Eat it all. That evening, I was in the vet clinic and had to stay over night and have x-rays, and enemas to help me pass the pieces that hardened like glue....... all to the tune of $500. Silly, silly Nice Lady. Know we both know better.

And what has this to do with genealogy? Only that it's difficult to think about anything genealogy when your sweet little dogger is hurting.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Probate packet filing cabinets from olden days.

When Nice Lady got home from Pullman, Washington, and her visit with the Whitman County Genealogical Society bunch, she was all excited and telling me about the wonderful thing she saw. In the WCGS library room, along two walls, they have the old metal filing cabinets from the old courthouse that were donated to them. These metal shelves and drawers once held the folded-and-tied-with-red-string probate packets of the county! And, Nice Lady continued to explain to me, this was how probate packets were stored in many courthouses across America in yesteryears. Nice Lady said she had never seen something like this before and as a genealogist she found it fascinating. I was glad for her.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Little German shirt??

As I sat next to Nice Lady in our chair last evening, she was browsing through a What On Earth Catalog which surely is filled with interesting stuff. This picture...... this shirt....caught her eye. Think I should get it for her for Christmas????

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Heinz 57 and Genealogy

Nice Lady was explaining to me that she is a Heinz 57 person and that I may be a Heinz 57 dog. She says that is a genealogy term, yessirree.

So what does that mean exactly, I asked her. (Yes, I can communicate questions!) According to Wikipedia, Heinz 57 became the slogan of the H.J. Heinz Company of Pittsburg back in 1892. The company even then offered a variety of products and wanting to advertize their great number of choices the numbers "5" and "7" were chosen because they were the Heinz's lucky numbers. In 1892 the company offered 60 products; today they offer over 6000. (My favorite is ketchup.)

But the name "Heinz 57" is also sometimes used to describe a dog which is a mix of multiple breeds and it also is used as slang to refer to people of multiple ethnicity.

Nice Lady is English and German with a teeny long-ago smat of French, Welsh and Scot. Does that qualify as being a Heinz 57 person?

I, Tika, am a dachshund, a doxie, a hound, a weiner and Nice Lady calls me a Punkin. So guess I am a Heinz 57 dogger!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dogs are important.....the president says so.

"Children and dogs are as necessary to the welfare of the country as is Wall Street and the railroad." So said President Harry S. Truman. Interesting comparisons. Tika needed her blue-striped sweater today when she took her hour of fresh air on the deck...... the temperature high today was about 40o. Nice Lady's desktop Dell is "dead" and I, Tika, have had to endure her nashing of teeth while the problem is fixed. But she did take good care of me; I think she loves me. "Harry" would approve. (Didn't he have a dog???)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Genealogy, Cheese Curds and Me!

Yum, yum and double yum! Nice Lady went to her genealogy meeting today and heard Rod Tamura chronicle his family's experiences in the Japanese Internment camps in Washington and Idaho during WW II. Very interesting for sure and a very timely lesson against blanket bigotry and racism. (I'm a German dog; I know something about that.)

Debbie, a member of the group, came down from Sandpoint where there is a cheese factory and brought us some Cheese Curds! FOR ME........ and for Nice Lady too I guess. They are just the very bestest...... way better than dry old kibbles. Thank you, Debbie!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Genealogy Saturday coming up.

Tomorrow (Nov 6th) is Nice Lady's regular monthly gathering of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society ( The afternoon will have several parts, but Ron Tamura will speak to the group on the Japanese Internment Camp Experience of WW II. Nice Lady just finished a book on this subject: Only What We Could Carry, personal recollections and stories of those in the various camps. Edited by Lawson Fusao Inada and published in 2000 (ISBN 1-890771-30-9) this was a great "read" and we recommend it to everybody. (Certainly I, Tika, can read! How do you think I blog???)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Salt Lake Christmas Tour

Nice Lady just told me that she's leaving me the first week in December to go someplace called Salt Lake City and something called the Christmas Tour. LEAVING ME!! (But Handy Man will be here, thank goodness.) Nice Lady explained to me that this year will be the 25th time for the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour and she's gone every year to help and enjoy the rendezvous with friends. (Some of whom are dachshund people!) She says that the Family History Library has more genealogy than any other library in the world. Do you think she'll look for my German Dachshund pedigree???? (This photo is the view of Temple Square, right across from the hotel and the Library; click to for more information.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tika does cemetery research.

Tika and I took a walk through a nearby cemetery, the Fort Wright Military Cemetery. A complete listing of all those buried there can be found on the website of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society ( The sign board reads:

"Fort Wright was approved by an act of Congress in 1895 and officially opened in 1899. The original US Army post covered 1,000 acres and was an active military base until 1958. Many of the original buildings still exist and are included in the Fort Wright National Historic District. The cemetery was authorized by the Secretary of War on December 13, 1899. Remains of soldiers, officers and others were moved here from Fort Spokane and Ft. Sherman, near Coeur d'Alene, in 1900. The cemetery is occupied with the graves of veterans, their wives and other family members. All branches of the service are represented here. There are appoximately 650 graves located here. Fairchild Air Force Base USAF is the caretaker of the cemetery."

Tika was saddened to see the stones for "infant of-----" with no further information. Luckily, there are not many of those. But tromping tombstones is tiring!!!