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.