Monday, 26 January 2015

Passengers - Part I

I have two great-great-grandfathers who came to Canada with their young families around the same time. I don't know exactly when, just before 1865. Passenger lists are few and far between before 1865, as before that time the master of vessel was not required to keep the manifests. But, even though I do not find my ancestors on a passenger list, there are clues to help me narrow down the time they arrived in Canada.

~ My 2x ggf George King was on the 1851 census for Devonshire, England, working as a miller in Woodleigh.
~ Their marriage banns were read in May 1853 and the wedding took place January 1854 in Woodleigh, Devon.
~ In September of 1856 there was an Auction notice in the Exeter Newspaper for the sale of the property and animals of George King. (There was also a notice in the paper 5 months later for the business of his brother-in-law and sister.) 

~ Their first son was born in nearby Washbourne that December, and baptized January 1857. That was the last I find of them in England.

For some unknown-to-me reason, around the same time 4 of George's siblings went to Australia and George is the only one that came to Canada. Their mother had died 10 years past , but their father was not to die for another 7 years.

My 2x ggf Alexander Mavor came from Ellon, Scotland.

~ He was last on a census in Scotland in 1851, working with his brother Francis as a farm servant 8 miles north of Ellon, in Methlick.
~ His marriage banns were read in Ellon in May of 1853 and he was married in New Deer (home of the bride's family) in August 1853.
~ Their first child is born October 1853. That was the last I find of them in Scotland.
(Alexander's brother followed him to Canada years later, in 1873, with a wife and 10 children in tow.)

Both families had a daughter born in Canada in 1859, one in April and one in October.  So I know My Kings arrived between January 1857 and April 1959, and my Mavors arrived sometime between October 1853 and October 1859. So far that's the best I can do. 

Other places you can look when you don't have a passenger list are immigrant societies and perhaps voyage accounts by passengers.

Some passenger lists have been uploaded to Internet Archive.
*Index to passenger lists to various US ports - some are lists but others are cards with passengers information on them.  Even though they are not in alphabetic order, they are all of one letter in a file (ie opening the file the first name begins with R, they will all be R names).  It may be a chore to go through them, but hey, no one said genealogy was easy!

1 of a batch of cards of passengers arriving at Baltimore 1820-1897.

There are also some websites where volunteers have researched and transcribed passenger lists for us. (Big YAAAY and thank you for the volunteers!!!)

Relevant Links

The original lists of persons of quality, emigrants, religious exiles, political rebels, serving men sold for a term of years, apprentices, children stolen, maidens pressed and others, who went from Great Britain to the American plantations; 1600-1700

Monday, 19 January 2015

A Matter of Honour

Doing a search for a surname of a relative's family line I came across this newspaper clipping from October 1905 ...

I have found no evidence that this Mr Mooney is related to my Mooneys, but I wanted to find out more about dueling.

My grandson takes fencing and he loves it. He won't have to fight a duel to defend his honour, but he does have a tournament coming up at the end of the month.  I can't be there because of distance, but hopefully I will get to see some video!

A Duel was based on a code of honour, and usually fought by the upper classes or soldiers. There were basic rules to follow, but each dueling pair could set their own rules and agree on type of weapons. A proper duel was always a personal matter, never a professional one, and not necessarily meant to kill, but to get "satisfaction".

Penny London Post 27 May 1748

The earlier duels were fought with swords, and later pistols were used. They came in matching sets to be fair to both sides.  Duels were being fought all over the world. The last fatal duel fought in England was in 1852 with the winner being tried for murder, while the last duel in France was in 1967. Here is an article of a sword duel fought in Cologne, Germany in 1975:

The Showdowns of the old west were a form of duel, and not always based on a matter of personal honour.  

Duels were not restricted to men!  There have been cases of duels fought by women.

There is lots of information about duels on the internet, and many duels were written about in the newspapers. You can do a newspaper search using the keywords duel (and with/without the word pistol or sword) plus whatever place you are interested in. Also google dueling weapons and choose images.

Was your ancestor a duelist? Did any duels take place in the town of your ancestors?

Following are sites with names of famous duelists, and interesting books on rules and dueling.  

Relevant Links:


Monday, 12 January 2015

Listen to the Music

There was always music in our house.  If someone wasn't playing the piano, there were tunes playing on the HiFi.  My parents had a big collection of 78's and LP's.  They often had the neighbours in for a "sing-along-with Mitch" party.  Mitch Miller's albums came with lyrics sheets to pass around.  Mom and Dad also had some popular music of the 50's -  some I remember are Trini Lopez singing La Bamba and Lemon Tree, Harry Belafonte singing the Banana Boat Song and a song about a cook who kept "one eye on the pot and t'other up the chimney". My Dad's favourites were Teresa Brewer and Rosemary Clooney (yes, George Clooney's Aunt).

Granny and Grampa had a HiFi in the dining area of their small flat, and Grampa loved to listen to bagpipes, Sousa marches and old WWI songs. Glad I wasn't his neighbour!!  Granny liked the crooners. I remember one Christmas Granny wanted (and was expecting) a new stereo, but Grampa had other ideas. He gave her a huge portrait of himself in his WWI uniform that he had painted by his nephew Clemmie. Granny never did get her new stereo!

My parents bought me my first portable record player when I was about 9 or 10, with a couple of 45's that I just about wore out - Connie Francis singing "Stupid Cupid" and Fats Domino singing "Whole Lotta Lovin". I saved up my babysitting money to buy more 45's when the diners changed out the records in their jukebox - they sold the old ones for 25¢ or 5/$1.

As a teenager my favourite of my parent's albums was the soundtrack of the Helen Morgan Story, with Gogi Grant singing. I still have the album, which I also copied to cassette and then to CD to play in the car. I love most old musical movies so my favourite song list would be a very long one! 

Up until now I have been telling you about books of genealogical value that you can see and download at Internet Archive, but that isn't all you will find at this site!  There is also music, free to listen to or download.  There are old WWI songs, the 40's and WWII, plus many of MY old favourites from the 50's and 60's, which I have added to my playlist!

There are other websites with old songs, try search on google with keywords: minstral music, music of 1800's, etc.  Before there were recordings there was sheet music and some can be found on Internet Archive also.  I am a big fan of Davy Crockett with Fess Parker and I have the sheet music, the 78 and the movie on VHS. At one time I had the sheet music for "God Bless Our Home" in a frame on my wall. My unfulfilled dream was to have a big music room with old instruments and my favourite album sleeves on the walls.

What music do you think your ancestors listened to, or played on an instrument?

Relevant Links

Helen Morgan (zipped album)

Connie Francis

Antoine "Fats" Domino

Pack up your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag (WWI)

It's a Long Way to Tipperary (WWI)

Andrew Sisters (Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy)

Al Jolson - collected works

Obscure 1950's singers - video

Ballad of Davy Crockett

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Internet Archive - changes

Internet Archive has a new look!

When you click an Internet Archive links in one of my articles, you will see the interface has changed. To read the books click on the "full screen" icon (red arrow at top right). Then it is pretty much as it was before the changes.  To save the book to your computer click on the "download" button and choose one of the formats from the list, probably a standard pdf. You can still download a single page by right clicking on it and choosing "Save picture as..." 

When a link leads to multiple books, it IS a little easier to see which one you want. Before when it gave just a list of links it didn't always show the year - now in most cases you get the front of each book with the year showing. You can switch from this view to list view.

When you want to do your own search, the home page is different also. It starts with the wayback machine at the top (for searching old websites), and the regular search box is more toward the bottom of the page. You can also browse by category, choosing from the menu list on the black bar, or using an icon above the search box. Then on the right side you can see how many of the results are audio, texts, movies, images, etc. For books only click on texts.

You can read what they wrote about it on their blog here.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Medical History - Knowing your Genes

Here was I these past years, working on my family tree, and I asked other family members for their family info. I'm sure everyone went.. Phew! Dianne is doing it so I don't have to! No one at that time was that interested that they would ask me questions about it. Until something happened! I am writing this with permission from my cousin and her family, and with their encouragement to tell people the importance of knowing your family medical history.

My cousin's son is athletic. At the age of 25 he was coming home from a 10K run and as he reached his home driveway he passed out. He was rushed to the hospital and spent a week in intensive care and another week in a room while they tried to figure out what was wrong.  He went through a battery of tests until they found it, a disease that is difficult to diagnose -

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. 

HCM is an inherited heart disease.  The whole family was promptly tested and although her daughter was fine, her other son was found to have the same disease, to an even greater degree. There is no cure, and both boys are on experimental drugs and curtailed athletic activity. In some cases a person may have HCM and never know it, some develop severe symptoms of heart failure, and still others die suddenly with no previous symptoms. HCM also is what can cause the hearts of newborn babies to swell and eventually give out within the first months or years of life.

More than we realize, it is common for young athletes to die suddenly of an arrhythmia caused by Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. My cousin's son was lucky! Could his attack have been prevented all together if they had known and paid attention to our family medical history? My cousin and I talked about it.  Although the disease can affect women as well as men, I knew that the men in our family did not live long lives¹. My father even joked about it at age 90, saying he had outlived them all, as he died of old age at 92. So I went back through the family line to check causes of death. (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy was first recognized in 1958, so before that the cause of death was put down to sudden heart failure.) 

¹There were only 4 females born until my generation, which produced more females than males.

The clues were in front of us all along.
Also, when reading an ancestor's death certificate, check the underlying illness.  A person may have been in the hospital for a certain illness, then contracted phneumonia and died.  The doctor will then write phneumonia as the cause of death, although the underlying illness, which could be hereditary, would have killed him soon.

So I really want to stress the importance of knowing what, if any, hereditary and genetic diseases run in your family. 

Do you know what is in your family genes?

Related Links:

Report from McGill University - Familial Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Saturday, 3 January 2015

"Le Trois Fait le Mois" - Weather Folklore

Today is the 3rd of January.  Is today's weather a sign of what's to come?
January in North America can be a month of extreme cold with some brutal winter storms thrown in. Imagine our ancestors coming to America unprepared for their first winter!!

The ever-popular Farmer's Almanac began in 1792 and developed issues for different climates. Before there was radio and television, and before there were weathermen of global weather services with their education in meteorology and/or science, people had their own methods of predicting the weather. There were weather predictions for farming, gardening, sailing, etc. There are more weather proverbs than you can shake a stick at!

Every third of the month my mother-in-law would say "Le trois fait le mois!" ... or literally "the three makes the month", meaning that the 3rd day of the month was an indication of what the month's weather would be like. Do you find that to be true?

What are some of the weather adages you heard growing up, most likely passed down from your ancestors? Are they fact or fiction?

Related Links:

The Farmer's Almanac for the Year of our Lord 1800

The Old Farmer's Almanac - 1829

The Canadian Farmer's Almanac for the Year of our Lord 1836

Royal South Australian Almanack for 1839

Weather lore: proverbs, sayings, and rules concerning the weather - 1869

A handbook of weather folklore; being a collection of proverbial sayings in various languages relating to the weather - 1873

Weather folk-lore and local weather signs - USA 1903

Almanac - Fact behind the Folklore - Weather Proverbs

Folklore and Sayings (NOAA Newsletter 2010)

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