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.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tika & Top Ten Genealogy Mistakes

This was my sorry-looking little Tika when I made the mistake of giving her cooked hambone from a pot of hambone and beans. Those gelatinous bites solidified in her tummy and intestinal tract and she barely escaped having surgery (the laxative worked). But it was a Big Mistake that I shall not never repeat!

What, do you suppose, are the Top Ten Commonest Genealogy Mistakes? From a 2005 list compiled by the Connecticut Society of Genealogists they are:

1.  Misspelling the word genealogy.
2.  Believing everything you find in print is correct.
3.  Assuming you're related to XXX because your surname is XXX too.
4.  Being content with finding names, dates and places only for your family.
5.  Believing an undocumented 1908 family history must be correct.
6.  Accepting without question the family stories and legends.
7.  Believing that any variation in the spelling of your surname means it is not your surname.
8.  Never writing down a source.
9.  Believing that everything you find on the Internet is correct.
10. Not bothering to talk to all relatives and searching out new cousins to talk to.

Do you identify with any of these mistakes??

Tika just says, "Please don't bring me to this place ever again!! It smells awful!!"

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tika & Fraudulent Pedigrees

Have you come across a nice tidy genealogy of your family compiled by one Gustave Anjou?? Sorry to have to tell you, but no doubt it is all untruths.

Gustave Anjou, born in Sweden in 1863, made a good living in New York City by pandering to those folks wanting to have good solid European ancestry by giving them what they wanted....... no matter that many of the sources he cited did not exist.

I learned about Anjou from speaker Gordon Remington at an FGS conference back in 2004 and kept this story all these years to remind me to beware.

Gordon told the audience that over 300 fraudulent pedigrees by this fellow have been identified to date. A list of the principle names for these pedigrees can be viewed at this website:

Maybe this is not news to you but I hate to think of so many eager-beaver upcoming genealogists who tend to believe anything they might find on the Internet. Surfer, beware!

Tika reminds us that she has no pedigree; all she knows is that she is from Idaho.

Tika's Laughs

I've been away from my Tika for a month now enjoying being a Southern tourist and attending a national genealogical conference, finishing up with some Library of Virginia research.  Found this delightful "dog" bit (quoted from C.R. Humphrey Smith's "Kentish Names & Arms" in Kent Life, 17 Nov 1972:

"..... on the thirde day of January 1579 was a decree for doggs and proclaymed in the church of St Nicholas after Evensong that all inhabitants of Newe Romney disposed to keep any dogg or curr, should before the twelveth of the said month enter their dogges and after observe the decrees in order as they were read, uppon payne in those decrees expressed. These were admitted to keep dogges.... William Eppes, three red spaniels, one bitch all spotted red....."

In other words, William Eppes, living in the town of New Romney in Kent, England, in 1580 had to "license" his "dogges."

For 400 years our dear doggers have had to be officially noted! Did you realize that?