Friday, November 28, 2014

Tika On Vacation...........

Tika and I will be on vacation for a couple of months. If you miss the regular postings of  Tika's Teachings, please leave a comment and tell us so.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tika & The FamilySearch Wiki

Tika says "it's darn cold outside! Even with the coat that she puts on me (which I hate), it's cold outside. I told Mom to do a post today about doing something indoors to keep warm." Good advice, Tika. 

How about take some of your extra or relaxing time over the holidays to do some personal enrichment or learning. How much do you know about the FamilySearch Wiki?

You reach the Wiki by clicking to Then look for "Search" on one of the tabs across the top. The drop-down menu under "Search" lists the Wiki at the end of the list. 

The Wiki "is not about finding the names of your ancestors.  It is not, in fact, about finding people at all.  The Wiki is about finding records that may have been generated about your ancestors and the places in which the records might be found."     This is a quote from the website, .  The FamilySearch Wiki is a "place-records-tutorial & how-to" place for learning. 

Need to decipher German handwriting? Need to know about cemeteries in Iowa? Need to know about Castle Garden? Need to know about finding records in China? There is a Wiki entry for that!  Go find out for yourself. 

"But," Tika adds, "there is no category for canine research. Bummer."  
You might also like:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tika & Dogger Body Lanugage & History

I was reviewing a new book and Tika, snuggled beside me in our chair, looked up and said, "I could have explained that to you.......... you didn't need a book!"  Nonetheless, I did enjoy Justin Silver's new book The Language of Dogs.

This book explained that "Lips turned up" was the sign of a fearful animal and often mistaken for aggression.  "Raised ears" means your dog is listening, eavesdropping on you.  "Shedding" indicates fear or stress. "Squinting eyes,"  generally means your dog in in pain or not feeling well. "Avoiding eye contact,"  may consider you a threat or lack of confidence. The book explains dozens of other behaviors.

And what does this have to do with genealogy? Our ancestors ate dogs, that's what. Dogs were portable meat-on-the-hoof to many cultures around the world including in the United States. And many cultures today still enjoy eating dog meat.

United States of America

The term "dog" has been used as a synonym for sausage since 1884 and accusations that sausage makers used dog meat date to at least 1845. The belief that sausages contained dog meat was occasionally justified.
In 1846, a group of 87 American pioneers were stranded by snow while traveling in the Sierra Nevada. Some of the starving people from this group, known posthumously as the Donner Party, ate a pet dog for sustenance.
In the late 19th century, a cure for tuberculosis (then colloquially termed "consumption") using an exclusive diet of dog meat was tried. Reports of families eating dog meat out of choice, rather than necessity, were rare and newsworthy. Stories of families in Ohio and Newark, New Jersey who did so made it into editions of The New York Times in 1876 and 1885.
In the early 20th century, dog meat was consumed during times of food shortage.

Native Americans

The traditional culture surrounding the consumption of dog meat varied from tribe to tribe among the original inhabitants of North America, with some tribes relishing it as a delicacy, and others (such as the Comanche) treating it as an abhorrent practice. Native peoples of the Great Plains, such as the Sioux and Cheyenne, consumed it, but there was a concurrent religious taboo against the meat of wild canines.
During their 1803–1806 expedition, Meriwether Lewis and the other members of the Corps of Discovery consumed dog meat, either from their own animals or supplied by Native American tribes, including the Paiutes and Wah-clel-lah Indians, a branch of the Watlatas, the Clatsop, the Teton Sioux (Lakota), theNez Perce Indians, and the Hidatsas. Lewis and the members of the expedition ate dog meat, except William Clark, who reportedly could not bring himself to eat dogs.
The Kickapoo people include puppy meat in many of their traditional festivals. This practice has been well documented in the Works Progress Administration"Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma".
One last thought:  Ever wonder why they are called Hot Dogs????

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tika & "The Yellow Brick Road"

This is quite obviously not a "yellow BRICK road," but it is a "yellow Tamarack needle road." Known as Larch in the Eastern U.S., these trees are known as Tamarack in the west. They are beautiful yellow needles standing tall amid the Ponderosa Pines.

The most unusual thing about these trees is that (quite unlike pines) they drop their needles in the fall. The needles turn from green to yellow and then drop......... and carpet the roads under them in gold. 

So what does this have to do with genealogy you are thinking? Well, don't we all want a "yellow brick road" straight to the answers about our ancestors? Most of us will never be so lucky. James Tanner, in his Genealogy's Star blog back on 1 July 2014, posed some basic rules of genealogy. Following the advice stated in his rules will surely keep us on that "yellow brick road."

Rule One:  When the baby was born, the mother was there. The father does not have to be present when the baby is born.

Rule Two:  Absence of an obituary or death records does not mean that the person is still alive.

Rule Three:  Every person who ever lived has a unique birth order and a unique set of biological parents.

Rule Four:  There are always more records (to search).

Rule Five:  You cannot get blood out of a turnip. With this he means just because you think you are related to royalty and list them on your charts does not  make it so.

Rule Six:  Records move.

If you would enjoy reading James Tanner's full comments on the above Six Rules, click to his blog at  and why not while you're there sign up to receive future blog postings of his?

Tika ignored the beauty of Pend Oreille County, Washington, on our last week's drive. She was much more intrigued with the smells of the stopping places. Dogs!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tika & DNA

When I started trying to explain the relationship of DNA research to genealogy research, Tika was skeptical. "Really?" Was her first reaction. And then, "so what?" "

"What do you expect to learn??" she wanted to know. Good question, Tika.

The subject, the relationship of DNA and genealogy, is a vast and quickly-expanding field of information. I have collected a nice fat folder of articles and information on understanding DNA and its applications and implications to the hobby of genealogy.

Mostly, I wanted just to understand. Tika says, "Good luck with that!" Here are the conclusions I've come to.

I do not have to understand the whole subject. I do not need to, nor want to, know how my car works. I just want it to take me places. Ditto with DNA.

There are more books and articles on this subject than I will ever have time to read and thoroughly digest. I will pick one or two sources and that will give me a basic understanding.

I did the $99 Ancestry test. This test looks for matches between my atDNA and others who have their trees on Ancestry and who have taken the same test. Is this the end-all-tell-all test? Hardly. But it is a start.... or was for me.

Now I can upload my DNA test results to FamilyTree DNA (and right now for free). Should I? Why not? This will expose my DNA to a much wider ocean of possible matches..... possible cousins... possible ancestors. So why not?

Lisa Louise Cooke offers four laminated guides: Getting Started (with DNA), Autosomal DNA,  Y Chromosome DNA and Mitochondrial DNA. I bought and studied all four of these guides and now I feel like I have at least a teaspoon of understanding of the subject. (Click to Genealogy Gems Publications,, for ordering information.)

Tika woke up enough to show some interest when I showed her that yes, there are DNA tests for dogs! She really did not care; "I come from Idaho and that's good enough," she sniffed. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tika & Kinpoint.... A New Genealogy Opportunity

Tika was fast asleep and could have cared less when I tried to tell her about a new research opportunity I've discovered. But then she is a dogger..................

Kinpoint is brand new..... or at least it was to me. Kinpoint "makes it easy to learn about your ancestors and do family history using your FamilySearch data."

Clicking to, this is the opening screen. It shows a pedigree circle with "you" at the center and your direct-line ancestors circling out from you. Gray areas show were you need to find these ancestors!

Kinpoint stands ready to help you do just that by using FamilySearch data. Everybody, these days, can have a FamilySearch account. And everybody should upload a GEDCOM of their info to FamilySearch or just enter their tree manually. Kinpoint will look at that data and with a great visual show you where your "holes" are.

Personally, I do not want to rely on any computer program to make connections for me. Suggestions, yes. But added-on-connections, no. Kinpoint will help you see just where you need to do some more work and will not willy-nilly add names.

Best of all, it is FREE. So why not give it a try??

"Free?" Tika sniffed as she woke up. "As in free cookies?"  Silly dogger.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tika & Hiding In Plain Sight

Does my darling Tika look guilty as charged?  Do you see where she's rubbed the black skin off her nose right down to the "real her" where it was bleeding like heck?

We were both gone for the afternoon and I gave her a treat to chew on. When I returned I was greeting by this bloody-nosed dog. As I walked into the house I quickly spotted where she had used her nose and tried to bury her treat in our chairs (both throw covers had bloody smears), on the guest bed (all over one area on the bedspread and all over some papers Handy Man had put there, and then she'd tried to hide her treat in our bed and there were bloody nose smears all over my pillow, both sheets and the blanket! Whew! Took me three loads of laundry to get every thing cleaned up.
She always and finally will enjoy her treat but she just has to try hiding it first. This time she tried to hide it in four different places, the little rascal.

What does this teach us about genealogy? How about: our ancestors are hiding because somebody buried them? Genealogy is work!!!??? All it takes is one spot of "life" getting in our way to waste a perfectly good day of doing genealogy!

Really not much; but this was such a "good" story that I just had to share it!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tika & Google Books

Leaving Tika in Handy Man's good hands, I joined three like-minded genealogy friends to drive across Washington state to attend a seminar with Lisa Louise Cooke as the principle speaker. And she was most definitely worth the effort!  I was telling Tika all about it when I got home.........

Lisa taught us, too, that YouTube is owned by Google (I did not know that). And there are thousands, if not millions, of genealogy-related videos on YouTube.

Google Books is now an all-purpose online digital book store... you can view for free and you can buy among thousands (bordering now on millions) of online digital books. Lisa said that Google Books is really great for those old county histories which are typically un-indexed but Google Books will word-name-search within the text for you with a couple of clicks. (What a time saver, eh?)

If you cannot quite read the text, the left side says:  Researching a topic? Search the latest index of the world's books. Find millions of great books you can preview or read for free.

The right side says:  New! Shop for Books on Google Play.  Browse the world's largest eBookstore and start reading today on the web, tablet, phone, or ereader.

Handy Man's line has a very illusive Stout family. Using Google Books, I did a search for "Stout Family History" and got a great listing of potentially likely source books. They were listed in the Library of Congress catalog but just knowing they exist is a big help. (The "bad news" was that I could not figure how to print out those two pages from the LOC catalog.)

Tika and I agree that it is always a good day when we learn something new!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tika &

When I want to sit in my chair and do some reading, I often must wake up a sleeping Tika and scoot her over to her side of the chair. (And we both enjoy the heating pad, especially as the days and the house get cooler.) 

In my reading, I came across a website that I'd not heard of before:

While Tika, as usual, was not much interested in learning about this British Isles database, I was. Below is the blurb under the tab "Coverage" on that website. While they might not have much, or everything, if they have what you want, then rejoice!

I did the free search for the surname McConnell. The site came back with 67 hits........... that means 67 mentions of McConnell deaths or burials. 

Now to explain: This database is the British model. They offer a free search but then you must order and pay for any copies you desire. (The American model...... think Ancestry.... charges a fat fee from everybody and then gives everybody everything.)

If any of you seriously use this website, and do some ordering, I would appreciate hearing your story of how it worked for you. My British Isles ancestors mostly came over on the Mayflower.


Database Coverage - participating cemeteries and crematoria

Below you will find a list of cemeteries and crematoria whose registers are part of the Deceased Online database. They are listed in the order in which their records have been added to the database, with the most recent first, although this can be changed to alphabetical order.
  • Soon to be added to our existing database are 5 million digitised burial and cremation records from UK authorities and The National Archives.
  • A further 4 million records are currently in the process of being digitised from 17 more burial and cremation authorities.
  • And we are in advanced talks with a further 100 authorities about bringing nearly 14 million more records to the website.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tika & Interviewing Relatives

When I went out one day in 2012 to interview my Mom, Tika wanted to come along. And I knew that Mom would enjoy seeing Tika. I also thought that having Tika there might make for a friendlier, more comfortable atmosphere for asking Mom the family history questions I had for her.

In the Tracing Your Ancestors: BEGINNER'S GUIDE, from the publishers of Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, and History Magazines,  author Lisa Alzo has penned a great article:  "Five Tips for Interviewing Your Relatives."

Lisa begins her article with this:  "One of the key steps to starting your genealogical research is to 'talk to your relatives.' Sounds simple, right? The fact is, getting a parents, grandparent, aunt or uncle to actually sit down for an interview can often be the hard part. The process takes some thought, quite a bit of preparation, and some basic skills on your part to make sure you get the results you desire."

Then Lisa outlines the five steps.......

  • Be prepared.
  • Ask good questions.
  • Don't play judge or jury.
  • Be respectful.
  • Follow up. 
Tika and I urge you to order your copy of this publication and read Lisa's entire article. There is "good stuff" in there to help you with interviewing your relatives. (Call toll-free 1-888-326-2476 or order online at Cost of the Guide is $9.95 plus $4.50 p/h.)

Or, borrow Tika to go with you when you set out to do a visit and an interview. She is a grand ice-breaker!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tika & Family History Webinars

Tika was snuggling with me the other day (we do that often) and I was telling her about the free Legacy Family Tree Webinars. "Do they smell good?" she asked. (Dachshunds have awesome noses!) 

A webinar is an online seminar or class that you watch from your computer. While viewing, you can also type your questions for the presenter to answer during the live presentation. (Or not, if you're watching an archived presentation.) 

There is no charge to register and view the live webinar; they are FREE. But if you cannot make the live event you can purchase a CD of the webinar or purchase a yearly membership that will give you access to everything. 

If you will click to www.FamilyTree , you will see the listing for all the past and upcoming webinars. In October 2014, these folks are the presenters:  Judy G. Russell, Karen Clifford, and Thomas MacEntee, along with three others. These are top-notch, knowledgeable presenters and you will learn the topic from them. 

Tika and I both advise you that these Legacy Family Tree Webinars are a good thing to do and most worthwhile of your time. 

But I will tell you that Tika sleeps at my feet during most of these webinars. Ohwell. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tika & Burials In A Tree

When I was telling her that last May when I visited Magnolia Gardens (outside of Charleston, South Carolina), Tika perked up for she loves to go to gardens and green-grass places.  When I told her how I was moved to learn that one of the creators of that marvelous garden had chosen to be buried in a tree in his garden, Tika said, "Really?"

I'm sure that in time, the oak will grow over and completely envelope  John Drayton Hastie's box of ashes. Myself, I think this idea is way cool.

Tika's only comment then was, "Where does the family come to remember or to bring flowers?" "Tika," I told her, "this burial place is in a wonderful garden of flowers!"

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tika & The Dog Days of Summer

Tika has enjoyed our nice hot sunny summer but is the first one to dive indoors when the first wisps of cold air blow across the deck. I was explaining to her about "the dogs days of summer," and she snorted, "What in the world does THAT mean?"

According to Wikipedia:  Dog Days is the name for the most sultry period of summer, from about July 3 to Aug. 11. Named in early times by observers in countries bordering the Mediterranean, the period was reckoned as extending from 20 daysbefore to 20 days after the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) and the sun.

I guess the term was first uttered way back in ancient Rome. In Latin the expression reads "caniculares dies," or "days of the dogs." The Romans dubbed this the time period that spanned from the first week of July to the second week of August and had to do with their mastery of the night sky and knowledge of the constellations. 

It's a long story and Tika went to sleep before I'd finished telling her...... and you can ask Grandma Google for yourself. 

I always enjoy learning "the rest of the story," whether my Tika does or not!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tika & The Petunia In the Onion Patch

Tika likes the petunias in my garden. Mostly she likes the petunias because she knows that if she sniffs around in them long enough a big bug will most likely jump out and she can nab it.

Does anybody but me remember Arthur Godfrey singing, "I'm A Lonely Little Petunia In An Onion Patch?" Here's the link to a YouTube video of Godfrey singing this song:

I'm a lonely little Petunia,
In an Onion patch,
An Onion patch,
An Onion patch,
I'm a lonely little Petunia,
In an Onion patch,
Oh, won't someone come and play with me.

Boo hoo, boo hoo,
The air so strong it takes my breath away.
I'm a lonely little Petunia,
In an Onion patch,
And all I do is cry all day.

Tika and I enjoy walking down to the garden and checking out what's for dinner. When we spotted this "lonely little petunia in the onion patch" that song came flooding back from my memory. And I had to sing it out loud for Tika. 

Don't think she was impressed. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tika & Typewriters & Jail

When I returned from a trip to Port Angeles and Port Townsend, I was showing Tika my pictures and telling her all about the trip and what we did. Her eyes really popped open when she saw this photo....... all she's ever seen is my fingers on the computer keyboard. "Was that thing for real?" she asked.

Grandson and his friend and I were touring the Jefferson County (Washington) Historical Society's Museum. In the basement is the old jail, of course a big hit with the 16 year olds. Leg irons INSIDE the awful jail cells? "No way would I wanna be here!" quipped the Red Shirt one.

And that was the point of taking them. These days, you cannot expect your teens to appreciate history unless you take them to it. Feeling those heavy iron chains, feeling the gloomy cold bare cells, was "living" the history to these two. Now when they hear on the news about prisoners whining about their civil rights, they'll remember the jails where those inside had no rights!

They both enjoyed "plunking" on that ancient Remington; they had never seen one like that. I asked them, "Did you know typewriters were invented in the 1860s and Remington was one of the major brands? And typewriters were mostly displaced by computer keyboards (at least in the western world) by 1990?"

Tika and I love history and I was excited to share some with my grandson and his friend.

"Big deal," sniffed Tika. "I have no thumbs; I cannot type."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tika Wants To Meet Nola!

Tika is super excited today! We just found out about another dachshund who has a blog! Her name is Nola and she lives in Florida. This is her picture from her blog,

Her blog homepages invites us to "Come to the dark side, I have cookies."  Tika is ready to go!!

Will be fun someday to watch them comparing notes....................

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tika & Flipster

I came home yesterday from Hayden Public Library (Hayden, Idaho) with all sorts of new ideas! I shared these with Tika as we took our evening walk. I was most excited about Flipster.

Flipster is a free digital magazine service provided courtesy of your library. The Flipster app manages your magazines downloaded from the Flipster website for anytime viewing on your iPad or iPad mini. (Android is coming, they promise!) These eMagazines are available from any computer, laptop or mobile device as long as you're connected to the Internet. (Realize: no app yet for anything but iPad.) 

Imagine having access to more than 40 magazine titles without having to subscribe! The magazines are exactly like what you see on the newstand only digital..... they even include the ads!

The only "kicker" is that your library must offer this service and you must have a library card and then sign up through your library for this service. Sounds like a good deal to me and I intend to check it out.

"No vegetarian magazine for me," sniffs Tika. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Tika Learns About Limners

Tika well knows my interest in American history, especially of the colonial era. I was telling her about a new word I learned: limner. I spotted this word in reference books about early Virginia and I wanted to know more. 
Wise Tika said, "Go to Wikipedia!" So I did. "A limner is an illumiator of manuscripts, or more generally, a painter of ornamental decoration. In old-time Scotland, there was an official position of Her Majesty's Painter and Limner. In early 19th-centurey America, a limner artist was one who had little if any formal training and would travel from place to place to solicit commissions. Among colonial America's rising mercantile class, a limner-portrait was considered a status symbol." 
Here is an example of an early American limner-portrait. In this painting, you can guess that the lady is a widow (wearing black) and holding a pendant-cameo-painting of her late husband. 
(Thanks to Commons.Wikimedia for this pix.)

I read somewhere else that these painters would paint all the background and figures and dress of the people while in his studio and then just meet the people to paint in the faces. That makes sense. Can you see that little boy sitting still for long enough to paint his portrait?
Tika and I would bet that you have seen pictures or portraits similar to this......... perhaps you have one such painting of your ancestor? (Lucky you, if so!) And now we know what a limner was.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Tika & Golf

Tika and I had a great discussion the other day. I was paging through How I Play Golf, by Tiger Woods, 2001, and his list of 14 things to know and remember caught my eye as being applicable to genealogy too.

1.  Tiger says, "First things first.... get off to a proper start." In genealogy that would be start with yourself and your parents to have a "proper" start to a correct family tree.

2.  Tiger says, "The short game.... know how to putt."  In genealogy that would be know what to do first.... identify the problem or question you wish to solve.

3.  Tiger says, "Rolling the rock...know how to get it down pat." In genealogy that would be to know the basic, entry-level websites and learn how to fully use them. 

4.  Tiger says, "Turning 3 into 2..... know how to escape from the sand."  In genealogy that would be know how to recognize when you're off on the wrong track, tracing a wanna-be ancestor.

5.  Tiger says, "Making the hard easy... know how to swing."  In genealogy that would be always working from the known to the unknown. 

At this point, Tika said enough was enough and she was ready for a walk. So we shall continue this discussion eventually......................

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tika & Mustard

Everybody likes mustard, right? It's the world's most favorite condiment and it comes in so many different flavors! But Tika does not like mustard in any flavor:

This is from Wikipedia:  "The Romans were probably the first to experiment with the preparation of mustard as a condiment. They mixed unfermented grape juice, known as "must", with ground mustard seeds (called sinapis) to make "burning must", mustum ardens — hence "must ard". A recipe for mustard appears in Apicius (also called De re coquinaria), the anonymously compiled Roman cookbook from the late 4th or early 5th century; the recipe calls for a mixture of ground mustard, peppercaraway,lovage, grilled coriander seeds, dillcelerythymeoreganoonionhoneyvinegarfish sauce, and oil, and was intended as a glaze for spit-roasted boar."

Did you know there is a National Mustard Museum and a National Mustard Day?  The museum is in Middleton, Wisconsin and August 2nd is the annual National Day of Mustard. 

Our ancestors undoubtedly enjoyed mustard on their meats because without adequate refrigeration meat would too quickly spoil and our ancestors would eat it anyway (up to a point of course). 

Click to to enjoy learning all about America's favorite condiment. And how do you enjoy your mustard? 

"Big deal," said Tika. "I prefer mayo." 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tika & The Educating of Thomas Jefferson

Last May, I visited Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. (This life-size statue of him is at the Visitor's Center.) I have read many books and watched many TV specials on this man and continue to be intrigued with his life. One thing I learned about him that I did not know before was that in his youth, in Williamsburg, Virginia, and at the home of John Wythe, he was educated and tutored in "Socratic method of teaching and learning." Wanting to know just what this was, I asked Grandma Google (who knows everything) and found this in Wikipedia:

"The Socratic method of teaching and learning was named after the classical Greek philosopher, Socrates, and is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions, to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. Socrates generally applied his method of examination to concepts that seem to lack any concrete definition; e.g., the key to moral concepts at the time, the virtues of piety, wisdom, temperance, courage and justice." 

That the Wythe house was Jefferson's classroom was evident. In the main rooms, the tables and shelves were populated with "things" to stimulate discussion, understanding and learning. Take this shell, for instance, which I photographed. Think of the discussions it occasioned! The guide to the Wythe house explained "that in this house curiosity was championed and all were familiar with the ancients..... Locke, Bacon, Newton, Socrates, Plutarck, etc. Ideas first presented by the ancients were discussed anew." And that's how Thomas Jefferson obtained much of his education. I was impressed. 

Tika was not impressed as I explained all this to her. "When is it time for Animal Planet?" she asked. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tika & Towns Named Mount Vernon

Tika was primed and ready for a history lesson when I returned home from Mount Vernon, Washington. This charming town is 300 miles west of Spokane, where we live in eastern Washington, and is near onto Puget Sound. "And the town was named for George Washington's home, Mount Vernon?" my smart little Tika asked.  I assured her it was. As we snuggled and talked, we wondered how many towns were there in the United States named Mount Vernon to honor our First President?

Asking Grandma Google (who knows everything!) I found that there are 20 states other than Washington who have towns named Mount Vernon:  Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Made me wonder next how many town names in my state (Washington) are repeated in other states?? I'll ask Grandma Google and then share the findings with Tika.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Tika & Smoked Ham House

We were enjoying a BLT sandwich and I was explaining to Tika how in days of yore if a family wanted bacon or ham they had to do all the work to get to that point........ starting with a piglet and ending up with the Smoke House. I took these photos at Boone Hall Plantation (near Charleston, South Carolina). The sign reads that this smokehouse, built in 1750, is the oldest existing structure on the plantation.

Tika noted and asked about the circular building style and I explained that likely this round style of construction was harder for a hurricane wind to blow over (as evidence by its survival for 250 years)? She also pushed out a paw and chirped to indicate she noticed the beautiful design done in the brickwork in the original construction. We agree; they don't build little common things with such beauty these days it seems.

I explained that when we walked up to that open door, and inhaled from the interior, you could still detect a smokey smell in the darkened wood. Overhead were the heavy beams from which ropes dangled that would have suspended the curing meat over smoldering fires on the earthen floor below.

Tika sighed. "Too much work," she yawned. "Just go to Costco." I had to agree.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tika & Ancestor's Ships

As you know, my Tika loves to be in the boat on the water about as much as I do. The other day I was telling her that my ancestor (William Bradford) came over on the Mayflower and she was impressed and she wanted to see a picture of that ship. Well, that was easy; Grandma Google (who knows everything!) found several photos instantly.

But what about a photo of the ship YOUR ancestor sailed aboard when they came to America? Would you like to have a picture of that ship? Well you can! is a fabulous website and I can almost guarantee that on this site you will find a picture of your ancestor's arrival vessel. With over 3,000,000 citations (that means photos) how can you miss?

Tika gently reminded me that her ancestors were from Idaho and did not arrive on a ship. Silly Tika.

Current Site Statistics's premium database currently contains:
  • 3,362,270 citations (an 18% increase since the last newsletter!)
  • 365+ resources
These stats are current as of 6/11/2014, and are guaranteed to keep increasing. June 2014 Update
The free portion of the database has been updated and expanded, with new content in the WorldCat Authority Records file. This is a very important and useful file; I encourage you to read my two blog posts about Locating Resources Mentioned in the Database, and Finding Books by Ships. Both use WorldCat records, and the 20% increase in WorldCat content will be a boon to all researchers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tika & An Old Doggie Exerciser? Old Marbles and Old Doggie Waterer

Last May, while in a humungous junque shop somewhere in Virginia, I spotted this old thing...... can you read the posted sign? It says, "Please Stay Off For Dogs Only." And I believe it was a treadmill of some sort. Was it really a doggie exerciser or a  people exerciser or something entirely different? Don't know but I surely got a big laugh from looking at it and imagining my Tika running for her life.

I showed Tika this picture and her ears perked up; she likes to chase balls across the living room floor (not outside). Your little boy ancestors made marbles for themselves from any possible material, don't you just bet? But to Tika they appeared to be cookie bites!

Tika was truly impressed when I showed her this photo of a doggie water stand in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. What a neat idea to re-purpose an old umbrella stand into a dog watering hole.

I explained to Tika that I'm drawn to appreciating old things because those were the things my ancestors most likely used in their every day life. Tika, being a dachshund, really does not appreciate that feeling but that's okay for she is a dog, I remember. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Tika & The War of Jenkins Ear

I had just read a historical trivia tidbit when I snuggled in next to Tika in our chair. The bit I read was about the War of Jenkins' Ear. As I rubbed her ears, I wondered if any of my ancestors were involved in this very unknown little conflict.

"The War of Jenkins' Ear was a conflict between Great Britain and Spain that lasted from 1739 to 1748 with major operations largely ended by 1742." (So speaks Wikipedia.)

The unusual name was not coined until 1858 (some 100 years later!) by one Thomas Carlyle who, as a 19th century author, mentioned the event in several passages of his book on Friedrich II.

The name refers to an ear sliced from the head of Robert Jenkins, who was captain of a British merchant ship. He lost the ear when his ship was boarded by Spaniards in 1731.

This small event happened in the midst of the British war against the Spanish Empire and something to do with the slave trade. (Tika didn't care to learn of those details.)

Jenkins' ear "was subsequently exhibited before Parliament."  Can you imagine a Congressman today bringing in to the august chamber a severed ear for show and tell???

No war is good; every war is terrible and filled with atrocities big and small. Losing a small ear was no doubt a big deal for Robert Jenkins.

Any Jenkins family have this story in their history?? Tika and I wonder.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tika & A Sutler

As I was trying to explain to Tika was a sutler was, especially during the Civil War, the only question she had was, "Did they stock Milk-Bone treats?" Not hardly, dear little Tika, but lots of other things.

(Image from Wikipedia)

An article in the April-June 2014 issue of the NGS Magazine by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens titled "Sutlers of the Civil War," was good reading as Tika and I settled into our favorite chair. 

Claire gave a super two sentence explanation of just what was a sutler in the Civil War:

"Civil War sutlers were the 19th century's equivalent of the modern US Army's Post Exchange or commissary. Soldiers in the field patronized these traveling storekeepers to purchase needed goods and desired luxuries that were not provided by the US government." 

The article contains a long list of "items listed on the standard sutler's invoice approved by the Office of the Quartermaster General,"  and the list ran easily to a hundred items running the gamut from dried apples to yeast powder with tooth brushes and tin plates in between. 

Tika and I agreed upon this point: You really must read this excellent article for yourself, and especially so if your ancestor was by occupation a sutler during the Civil War. 

And for being such a good girl, I gave her a Milk-Bone treat.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tika & Land Measuring Back In the Day

Tika was not paying too much attention to what I was explaining yesterday when we went out on the lake. I was explaining to Handy Man about the method of measuring land back in Colonial Times. I learned about this at the recent NGS conference in Richmond, Virginia.

A surveyor was "top dog" in those days (late 1700s) for he had the tools and the skills to help you get the parcel of land that you wanted. He had helpers, of course, who did the "grunt work." Here's how it worked:

Showing your warrant (proof that you were entitled to get some land) to the surveyor, together you went to that parcel to officially measure off the acres you were entitled to have. Usually this was 50 acres, but if you were willing to "go West" into the western part of Virginia, where the Indians were still a presence, then you could have 200 acres.

Once there, you began to generally point out what you wanted and the surveyor, using his tripod and compass, would call out the numbers. His helpers would carry a chain, 33 1/2 feet long, from point to point to measure off the land. The links of this chain looked rather like a pencil with a hook at each end. But to be sure, it was heavy, and to be surer, it must have been a monumental chore to drag that chain over hill and dale, through briers and brambles and thickets. Across rivers and lakes?? How long would you or I have lasted at that job?

Tika did turn around and ask, "Chain? You mean like the one you use to hook me up?" Silly dogger.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tika & Civil War Trivia

One of the first things I did upon returning from my month-long trip to the East (from the West) was to snuggle my Tika in our chair and tell her some of the wonderful stories and things I learned on this trip. She was all ears as I explained some Civil War trivia bits:

"Cush" was fried fatback (like bacon) and then hardtack biscuits crumbled (worms and all) up in the grease ("rendering the hardtack chewable and the worms crispy").  "Goober peas" were peanuts. This Southern staple originated in Brazil and then went to Africa and finally came to America with the enslaved African-Americans.

"Graybacks" were body lice; the soldiers regularly had "grayback races." Only the officers were issued toilet paper. The officers smoked cigars, the juniors smoked pipes and the foot soldiers chewed. For most of the men the war was 80% boredom and 20% sheer terror. Only 50% of the men in the Civil War could read and write. One musical instrument the men played was "bones," using two animal ribs about 7-8" long, to click together.

During the Civil War, over a million horses were killed. "Quickest way to disable an officer was to shoot his horse from beneath him." During the three days at Gettysburg, some 7,000,000 bullets were fired and 53,000 men died.

Only the fatback and crumbles really interested Tika, and worms? "I'm okay with them too!" she said.