Saturday, September 28, 2013

The WADEs in 1820

I have already written at length on my search to find the father of my 3g-grandfather Joseph WADE. In my post “The Hunt for Joseph WADE” I went back in census records as far as 1840. In this post I will skip backwards past 1830 and focus on the 1820 census. (As of yet I have been unable to locate them in 1830; I think they may have been among the early settlers in Indiana and been missed by the census.)

Josiah WADE, likely my 4g-grandfather, before settling in Jay County, Indiana, was one of the early settlers of Ohio. He signed with Nathaniel MASSIE’s party in 1790, and became one of the original pioneers of what would later become Adams County (Evans 52). Information about this venture is readily available in various places on the internet. I will explore the subject in more depth in another post at a future date. I mention it mainly to establish some basic background on the WADEs that will be featured in this post.


We are looking specifically at two pages of the census of Fayette County, Ohio: pages 27 and 28, which cover most of the area known as Jackson. The last page, 29, of the area contains no WADE households. On page 27 we find three WADE households, which are clustered together on three consecutive lines. First is the household of John WADE, who is as yet unidentified in my WADE tree. The makeup of his household is:

1 M 0-10

1 M 16-26 = John

1 F 0-10

1 F 16-26 = probably John’s wife

Josiah WADE had a brother named John, but this John is far too young to be him. As you can see, this John is between the ages of 16 and 26, whereas Josiah’s brother would be about 40, if he were alive. One online tree reports that John died at the age of 18 and was buried with his parents (Stuart). Perhaps the John in this census is a son or a nephew of Josiah.

Edmund WADE

Moving on to the next household, we find an Edmund WADE. This Edmund probably is Josiah’s brother. He did have a brother Edmond, and the age bracket is right. According to the Pottenger Family Tree on Rootsweb, which appears to be fairly well researched, Josiah’s brother Edmond was born in 1767, which would make him about 53 at the time of this census. “Edmond raised his half-brother Jackson by his father’s second wife, Mary Campbell,” notes the Pottenger Family Tree, and further gives Jackson’s birth date as 1815, so we can tentatively identify him in this household (Pottenger). It is only tentative as we do not have a date of death for either of Jackson’s parents, which might give us an approximate date of his moving in with Edmond. We also do not have dates for Edmond’s wife Lucinda, nor do we have names or dates for any of their children, so I identify little farther within his household, which in this record is comprised of:

1 M 0-10 = Jackson (1815)?

2 M 16-26

1 M 26-45

1 M 45+ = Edmund (1767)

1 F 10-16

1 F 26-45 = Lucinda?

Joseph WADE

The third WADE on page 27 is a Joseph WADE, who could quite possibly be my 3g-grandfather. He and his wife are both the right ages, and they have a daughter of the right age bracket to possibly be the Susan who is suspected to be a sister of my 2g-grandfather Allen C. WADE. There is also an unexpected son:

1 M 0-10

1 M 16-26 = Joseph (1797)

1 F 0-10 = Susan (1820)

1 F 16-26 = Mary (1796)

I have never heard of another son in this family, but given the parents’ ages—23 and 24—it is certainly possible that they had an earlier child. Their marriage date is unknown, so there may even have been other unknown children.

The proximity of this Joseph WADE to the other WADEs on this census (I must judge solely by the census record, having been so far unable to find any land records) suggests the possibility that he is the son not of Josiah WADE but of his brother Edmond. Either way, though, he is still the grandson of their father, William Zethonia WADE, and I can continue my research upon that assumption.

Of course, there is always the possibility that this is not my Joseph WADE at all but rather one of his cousins.

Josiah WADE

Having completed our investigation into the WADE households on page 27, we now move on to page 28. There are two WADE households on this page, separated by only one line. Between Josiah WADE and a second Joseph WADE is a James McCOY. Although that surname does not appear anywhere in the WADE genealogies I have accessed, I wonder if he may have been an in-law of some sort.

Josiah WADE’s household is made up of him, a woman between the ages of 26 and 45 who may have been his wife, five younger females, and four younger males. Two of the males can be identified easily, but the other two leave a few possibilities. For now I will leave that section devoid of names:

2 M 0-10 = Jefferson (1812), William Harrison (1818)

2 M 16-26

1 M 45+ = Josiah (1765)

4 F 0-10

1 F 10-16

1 F 26-45 = Josiah’s wife?

As for those two mystery males, one of them may be that Robert WADE who appeared in the 1840 census of Jay County, Indiana. Under that assumption, given his age range here and his age range of 30-39 in 1840, we can calculate his birth date to be between 1801 and 1804.

The other mystery male may in fact be my 3g-grandfather Joseph. Perhaps he was not yet married to Mary, as no female of her age appears in the household. Or perhaps she was older than my information has led me to believe and she is the female between 26 and 45, not Josiah’s wife. In that case, one of those females between 0 and 10 may be Susan. Of course there is always the possibility that Susan was not one of their children.

Joseph WADE (Sr.)

I have identified this Joseph WADE as “Sr.” in the heading, though he is not identified as such in the document, merely to differentiate him from the other Joseph WADE (or Joseph WADEs). The title is not meant to imply any parental relationship with another Joseph.

He was almost certainly the brother of Josiah WADE, and all the members of his household can be easily identified with the aid of a certain posting on GenForum:

2 M 0-10 = Edmund (1814), James B. (1814)

2 M 10-16 = John (1808), William (1810)

1 M 45+ = Joseph (1776)

2 F 0-10 = Lydia (1812), Elizabeth Jane (1819)

2 F 10-16 = Marella (1804), Mary (1806)

1 F 16-26 = Abbie (1802)

1 F 26-45 = Mary (1782)

Edmund and James B.’s birth dates as given on the posting, 4 June 1814 and 4 Oct 1814, do not make logical sense, but I am not going to investigate that discrepancy at this time (Moore). Instead, I will assume that it is merely a slight typographical error, but that they would still both fall into this age bracket.


Evans, Nelson Wiley, and Emmons B. Stivers. “Massie’s Settlement at Manchester.” A History of Adams County, Ohio: From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Including Character Sketches of the Prominent Persons Identified with the First Century of the Country’s Growth. West Union, Ohio: E B. Stivers, 1900. 51-53. Google Books. 24 Jan 2008. Web. Accessed 28 Sept 2013. Original from Harvard University.

Moore, Dennis. “Re: Zephaniah Wade/Adams Cty, OH Connection.Wade Family Genealogy Forum. GenForum, Presented by, 19 May 2002. Web. Accessed 29 Sept 2013.

Pottenger, Thomas. “Pottenger Family Tree Inc. Amon,Trochelman, Copas and More.RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project. Ancestry, 7 Aug 2013. Web. Accessed 28 Sept 2013.

Stuart, Gary Lee. “Information about John Wade.The Gary L. Stuart of Ariel WA Home Page. Ancestry, 2009. Web. Accessed 28 Sept 2013.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Funny: Straw Hats

A straw boater such as might have been worn on the streets of Omaha.
Attribution: Elf [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

It seems that fashion was important municipal business in 1913. I ran across this article on the Chronicling America website. It is from page 12 of the 13 Sept 1913 edition of the Omaha Daily Bee. Aren’t you glad that city government took such an interest in personal style?

Days of the Straw Hat Are Numbered by Mayor’s Order

Because of the long, hot, dry season, Mayor James C. Dahlman will permit straw hats on the streets to September 15, but thereafter the mayor positively declares he will put a gatling gun in the hands of a policeman and destroy all straw lids. The mayor issued the following proclamation today:

Now that the long hot, dry summer of 1913 is a thing of the past, I feel justified in fixing a definite date for sending straw hats to the cellar. I therefore name September 15 as the last day that straw hats will be allowed to appear on our streets. A gatling gun will be placed at Nineteenth and Farnam streets in the hands of the best gunner on the police force, with instructions to pick them off wherever discovered. So. Mr. Strawhat, you have fair warning.

I certainly hope that this was a joke! You can read the article in its original newspaper form here.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Amanuensis Monday--Elsie Crocker’s Manuscript, Part 21: Bees, Dogs, Chickens

To read this project from the beginning, click here.

It’s hard to believe, but we have come to the final installment of Elsie Crocker’s manuscript. This post transcribes the last two pages.

We moved closer to Boise. Here Dad got us settled before, going to Portland Oregon, to work in the shipyards. A war was going on, World War One. The pay was pretty good.

This place was a lot smaller than Shaws place. Dad got a lot of bees, about twenty or thirty swarms of bees. Dad got these bees ready before he left. He even put starters in the hives for the bees to build on. The starters. were a wooden slat with some honey comb across the top. The bees would fill in the rest and fill it with honey, some of the swarms did so well he put double decker tops on the hives. We had a clover lawn and ran bare footed most of the time, so you can imagine how many stings we got.

Walter Underwood, Sr. in his beekeeping gear several years later, in Oregon.

We had a lot of honey, we ate honey on everything. Sometimes the swams would split, if they had two queens. It was too crowed for two queens. The bees before leacing would swam on the out side of the hive. It would look real black with them, when they were ready to leave they would swarm in the air, making a round cylinder circle. Bill and I would try to stop them by throughing up rocks or dirt in the air. We didn’t want to loss these bees. Mother saw us one day She yelled at us to quit doing that as they may light on us. Where ever the queen stopped the rest stopped also.

Once in a while Bill would find a swarm in one of our trees. We would let our dad or neighbor. where they were. They would get an empty hive and try to shake some of the bees into the hive, hopeing to get the queen. The rest of the bees will follow the queen. They would leave the hive there until the next morning. Nine out of ten the swarm was in the hive, then they took the hive and put it with the others.

Dad wore a fine net screentype hat around his head. A cloth was fastened to the bottom of the screen and fell around his shoulders. He also wore long gloves. Some time he would get stung anyway. Did he look awful! He would swell up real bad. He never went to the doctors, but I’m sure he should have. Now days we get shots. Some people even die with bee stings.

At this place Mother had to sell the bees, hives and all. She just couldn’t take care of them.

We had some good neighbors close to us, I had a real good friend ashort way up the road. She had a married sister, with a very small baby.

My friend’s name was Roxy, her brother’s name was Hazel, a funny name for a boy, my mother always thought.

Roxy and I was together a lot. She started me to crochet. We were sitting under a shade tree, one day, she tried to teach me. I just couldn’t get the hang of it. But the next day I was out there by my self and made a lot of this lace “mile a minute” it was called. I could not make it that fast, but I had got the idea how it was done. I went into the house to show my mom what I had accomplished. Mother asked “Was Roxy here I never saw her?” No I did it by myself. I said. I just couldn’t make my fingers going and hold the thread in the other hand, after I had it figured out, it was easy.

Roxy had a big black and brown dog which thought could sing. We would find a nice shady place and Roxy would bring some dried peaches, her dog and a mouth organ. She would play the mouth organ and the dog would sing. We didn’t know then it hurt the dogs ears. He was howling not singing, he wasn’t held there or tyed, he could leave any time, but he didn’t. He looked very professional and cute. He would sit on his hind legs, with his front legs up, just like he was posing. I’m glad we didn’t have him sing the whole time we were there.

Roxy only took a few peaches a day, we would eat them. They were so good. Well, one morning Rozy’s mother called my mom and asked “How was Elsie feeling? Mother said “Just fine, why”? Roxy’s mother told her Roxy and I had eatened a half flour sack of dried peaches. Roxy was real sick. The peaches had swollen up in Roxys stomach. Roxy got well in a couple of days but that was the end of our afternoon dog shows.

Here is where we had a lot of watermelons too. Some one was stealing them so my brother Walter and the neighbor boy Hazel decided to caught them or to scare them away so they made some buck shots. Then that night we went out and layed doun in the water melon patch or near by. We waited and waited for a long time We got cold and damp. We finally gave up. Dis appointed no one showed up. Dad said he was glad That buck shot might of hurt someone.

We had chickens on this ranch, one afternoo it rained (as we would say) cats and dogs. The chickens were getting wased away. Mother yelled go fast and get the chicken coope door open or we will lose a lot of the small chickens, Mother and I was gathering them up in our aprons as fast as we could. It was really coming doun, I was running back and forth, trying to keep Mother from getting so wet. Well I stepped on a big clencher nail, which a nail with three sides for a point. It is so hard to get out once it gets in. Poor Mom had to get this out of my foot without hurting me to much.

And that is the abrupt end to Elsie’s manuscript, or at least my copy of it. When she first completed it, my dad, who was a printer at the time, made and bound several copies and distributed them to relatives. The copy from which I have been transcribing is not one of those bound copies. At one time it was stapled, but the staple has long since disappeared. Some day I would like to compare it to one of the bound copies to make sure that the pages are still in the correct order and that none are missing.

As you can see, this manuscript ends before the Underwood family leaves Idaho. Although I do not have the rest of the story in Elsie’s own words, I will soon post an entry telling the rest of the story as I know it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Amanuensis Monday--Elsie Crocker’s Manuscript, Part 20: Sisters and snacks

To read this project from the beginning, click here.

In this second-to-the-last installment of Elsie Crocker’s manuscript, she relates a couple stories of two of her younger sisters: my grandma, Aileen, and the youngest girl, Inez. I particularly like to read of my grandma as a child. It is amusing to think of her as a pesky younger sister.

She also tells about some more of the foods of her childhood. I am not surprised that Elsie wrote so many times about different recipes, as Elsie herself—and, indeed, all four of the Underwood sisters—became an excellent cook herself.

Mother would cook for the thrashers when they came to our house. The thrashers would go from one farm to the other until all the thrashing in the community was finished. The men went from one farm to the other to help thrash. The wives would go with them to help the one that was having the thrashers that day. They would help with the cooking. The thrashers were fed well. We liked to watch them thrash. But wern’t aloud to get very close. As the shaff would get in our eyes, or get in the way of the machinery. It was exciting to see all the wheat filling the sacks. They called the stems of the wheat straw, used for bedding doun the horses and to keep other animals clean. When they finished there was a huge pile.

A threshing machine, perhaps similar to the one used by Elsie's "thrashers." 
By ThomasWeise (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

One day I remember clearly, we had the thrashers that day the straw was piled. As I usually collected the eggs, Mom told me to see how many eggs were at the top of this huge pile of straw. She knew there was some as she had heard the hen cackle, the hen cackles to tell the world she has laid an egg. I started to go, and there was Aileen crying and tugging at my skirt. I had to take her but it was going to be rough. That straw was stickery and light. I’d go about one step and fall back two. Carrying a small child on one hip and a basket for eggs in the other, was tough going. We found the egg, but I was tired, I wondered if it was worth it, going by myself wouldnit have been so bad but the extra weight made me sink deeper in the straw. My legs were scratched, I wasn’t very happy. I asked my mother why Aileen had to follow me everywhere I went. Mom told me I should be glad I had a sister who wanted to follow me. I am sure my mother was right. I never got upset after that, Aileen followed me every where any time

Mother made the best cottage cheese. She would put any sour milk she had, in a pan on the back of the stove top, where it cooked very slowly, until it separated. Rinsed it and washed it real good. She put the cheese part in a bag and let it drip dry. She the mixed the cheese with a lot of thick fresh cream, salt and pepper. Um’um good.

Dad would help us make pop corn balls which he never ate any (no sugar). Our snack food those days were pop corn and apples. No fast foods’.

We were always happy to get home to all the good smells especiallywhen Mom cooked the left over mashed potatoes and left over boiled cabbage, she fried it in bacon grease. This one of the dishes Bill and I would hurry to get to the table for. The smell was so good while we were doing our chores. We always when we were young had dinner at noon, and dinner or spper as we called a night meal.

We had a big irregation ditch next to our house, to one side. The ditch had a lot of rushing water going thru a culvert, the culvert ran under the road.

One night the neighbors were having a kids party. Dad was in Portland working for the war. Mother told us older kids, we could go to the party. She would go and visit a new neighbor and take Inez. Inez was not much over a year old. Mother was quite ready when we left the house, for some reason I had to go back to the house. I didn’t see Inez and asked Mother where she was. She asked Isn’t she there? I told her I couldn’t see her any where. We hyrriedly looked every where. Then I happened to remember her loving that little baby at Roxy’s house. She just wouldn’t go there surely, well, we started up to Roxys house. As we got started over the culvert. I heard a faint “Elsie”. I looked doun into this water and at the entrance of the calvert, her arms out stretched side ways was the only thing saving her from washing doun stream. I jumped into the ditch and grabbed her her out. I don’t know how I had the strength and couage to jump in that fast water. Mother was happy to see she was alive. We were both thankful we were there to save her, what if I hadn’t have gone back for something that night? I am sure the Man Upstairs was there with us that night.

Mom didn’t go to the neighbors that night, the neighbors came to our house. They worked hard and took turns pumping the water out of her. Mother watched over her to see if she was still breathing normal. Mother said to forget it but think of it as a lesson.

I enjoyed reading about fried mashed potatoes, as that is also a favorite of mine. I have never added cabbage to them, though. Perhaps I will try that one of these days.

I love that Elsie was so specific as to the time of the story of Inez’ near drowning. The details she offers would place the incident in probably the spring or summer of 1918.

Elsie told me another story of saving a little girl from drowning. This would have been several years later, when the Underwoods had moved to Portland and Elsie was working for Safeway. I believe that would have been in the late 1940s, 1950s or early 1960s. It was at a company picnic at a park. I’m sure that Elsie told me which park it was, but I didn’t write it down. (Genealogists often lament their slack note-taking in their early days, but I must excuse myself. Rather, I am glad that as a high school student I had the foresight to take notes at all!) There was a pond or a river there, and a little girl fell in. Elsie saw her go down once, twice, and then a third time. She remembered the old saying that a drowning person only goes down three times, and in she jumped.

To continue with the next installment of Elsie's manuscript, click here

Monday, June 3, 2013

Amanuensis Monday--Elsie Crocker’s Manuscript, Part 17: Food and Animals

To read this project from the beginning, click here.

In this installment, Elsie tells about a couple of foods that her family used to make, a misadventure with her father’s dinner, and a few animal interactions.

Sometime when it snowed, we would make ice cream. We started with a ten pound tin can with a clencher lid. We’d put some cream and a little milk, sugar, vanilla and eggs. We’d find a big drift of snow, we put doun in the snow. We took turns twisting and turning this ice cream. Of course we open the can up once in a while to see how it was coming a long. Icicies were used to freeze the cream instead of the snow, of course the icicles had to be gathered and copped up.

Mother made the best beef steak pudding, as she called it, it consisted of beef, a little flour, a little water, pepper and salt with a suet crust. She cooked it on the back of the stove allday long, on a wood stove. It was cooked in a heavy fire proof bowl, covered withe a cloth. Tied with a string. Then the pudding was put in a pan of water. This was a wonderful dinner with good mashed potatoes.

Mother cooked her plum pudding this way also.

One day Dad asked us to go over to the other ranch, across the flied, from us. This farm also belonged to the Dorrs and the Shaws. The tenants had moved and on one was living there. He had seen some scallions (little onions) over there going to waste. So one day Bill and I decided to go over and get some for him. We cleaned them and put them on the table ready for his dinner. That night Dad was happy to see that we had gotten his scallions. He took one bite. (What ever is this, where did you get this?” We told him it was what he wanted. Bill and I never had tasted or smelled garlic before. We thought it didn’t smell like onions. Bill and I got a kick out of this, he wanted us to get them and then they didn’t turn out right.

When the thrashers, came they would lift up the bundles of wheat. The binder had already been there and put the wheat in sort of standing up piles. The thrashers were pick up the piles and feed them into the machine to knock the wheat out of the stacks. Under some of these piles were a few baby mice, all pink and white. We children liked to watch the thrashers but also these litt mice. Bill and Walter being older than I, would encourage me to carry one of these cute little mice into the house and scare my mother. Of course the boys came with me but I carried this little cute mouse, by the tail into the house. I can still see Mother yelling “Get that out of here. One day she even got and stood on top of the table. Holding up her skirts yelled, Don’t let him loose in here

This was funny until one day, there wasn’t any mice. We found a water dog a little one, I was supposed to carry this in to the house. I took hold of his tail as I had did the little mice. He had a different He just curled up and bit me on the hand. That was the last I ever did that. The boys could carry their own animals after that.

I was surprised Mother didn’t like mice, as she had a little poem. I think she made up. The poem went like thi
     I’m only a wee little mouse ma’m
     I live in the crack of your house ma’m
     With a small piece of cheese
     And a very few peas
     Only having a little feast ma’m
     Oh, no need to open the door
     I can slip right thru this crack ma’m
I always enjoyed this little poem. She said there wasn’t anymore to it.

Every spring the sheepherders would bring their flocks of sheep, by our house, on thier way to the foot hills, to feed during the summer months. We lived on a small hill, we could see them coming in the valley below. The sheep would stir up a cloud of dust. Bill and I would run and get on the gate posts, the posts were flat on top, so we could sit on them. We waited for the band of sheep to come by. Then we would ask the sheep herders, if they had left any little lambs along the way that couldn’t make it. They would tell yes and where they had left them, not to far from where we lived. Bill and I would run all the way and fetch this cute new born baby lamb home with us. Sometimes there was only one and another time there would be a pair of twins. No matter we shared our little lambs. We knew how to feed them out of a bottle. Later they could eat grass and wheat like the big ones. We gave them a lot of love and attention.

Out of curiosity about that little verse about the mouse, I did a quick search on the internet. Without looking very hard, I found what is probably the original of that poem. It is entitled “The Mouse” and was written by Laura Elizabeth Richards:

I’m only a poor little mouse, ma’am!
I live in the wall of your house, ma’am!
With a fragment of cheese and a very few peas
I was having a little carouse, ma’am!

No mischief at all I intend, ma’am!
I hope you will act as my friend, ma’am!
If my life you should take, many hearts it would break,
And the trouble would be without end, ma’am!

My wife lives in there, in the crack, ma’am!
She’s waiting for me to come back, ma’am!
She hoped I might find a bit of a rind,
For the children their dinner do lack, ma’am!

’Tis hard living there in the wall, ma’am!
For plaster and mortar will pall, ma’am,
On the minds of the young, and when specially hung—
Ay, upon their poor father they’ll fall. ma’am!

I never was given to strife, ma’am!
(Don't look at that terrible knife, ma’am!)
The noise overhead that disturbs you in bed,
’Tis the rats, I will venture my life, ma’am!

In your eyes I see mercy, I’m sure, ma’am!
Oh, there’s no need to open the door, ma’am!
I’ll slip through the crack, and I’ll never come back,
Oh! I’ll never come back any more, ma’am!
(I found the full poem in Tirra Lirra RhymesOld and New on the Internet Archive and on Free Fiction Books. It also appears, missing the fifth verse, in The Unitarian Register, Volume 91, on Google Books.)

To continue with the next installment of Elsie's manuscript, click here

Amanuensis Monday--Elsie Crocker’s Manuscript, Part 19: Miscellaneous

To read this project from the beginning, click here.

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, this installment begins on a new page and with a title of a sort. Strangely, the title has nothing to do with what follows, and I wonder if it was meant more as a note to herself to later write a Christmas book. (If she ever did, I have never seen it.) This week I am transcribing just a single page of the manuscript, because it is largely a series of miscellanies tied together by a stream of consciousness, and the following page arrives so abruptly that I can’t help but wonder if somewhere along the way I lost a page of the manuscript.

My Christmas book is separate form this one

The Christmas’s on the big farm I remember best

I was the right age to remember Christmas and dear old Santa.

It was such good fun no the farm with my brothers and sisters. Dad was right for wanting and having six children We were close in ages, two to five years apart. We looked after one another, of course we had a few small spats once in a while but what family didn’t. The boys would tease me a lot but Mother said I could take care of myself pretty well. Let anone else pick on us, and they were right there helping us. I think if possible everyone should have a sister and brother. When yoy have others in the family you learn to share That’s very important.

We went with out a lot, not having it we never missed it. We wore each others clothes sometimes especially if someone out grew their clothes., and a another could wear them.

We never went hungry. We never were abused by anyone. We grew most our food such as vegetables, and fruit. Our cow for milk and cream, chickens for eggs and meat. We had our own meat, pigs, calves, and beef. All we needed were the staples for our cooking.

An example of the produce they grew themselves: Aileen and Inez UNDERWOOD sitting atop a pile of pumpkins
Growing up with animals of all kinds around us, we learned a lot. We learned how to feed them, how much water they needed and how to bed them doun at night. Keeping the doors and gates closed, to keep our animals home. Learning to listen for the rooster to call us in the morning. His “Cocok-a-doodle, our alarm clock. How to chop the wood, and how to fill the wood box, kindling and how much to keep the stoves going.

We understood baby calves and baby chicks. How to care for them. How they got usued to seeing us and eager for their food.

I never did it all by myself but I helped when I could and I watched and learned how. Some animals were easy to love and some didnit want your love.

We also got acquainted with different insects, butterflies, dragon flies, snakes, mice, grasshoppers, birds and frogs.

We had a bird called a “meadow lark” which would sing, while we would be planting our garden. He would sing “hurry up get your beets in”. We had another one the whipper will, it sounded “like whip poor Will” My brother’s name was William, we called him Will part of the time. I didn’t like this one much, as I loved my brother very much.

To continue with the next installment of Elsie's manuscript, click here

Monday, May 27, 2013

Amanuensis Monday--Elsie Crocker’s Manuscript, Part 18: Fireworks and Cotton Candy

To read this project from the beginning, click here.

If only I could have divided this manuscript up in a way that this installment would fall near the Fourth of July!  It tells about fireworks and the Fourth of July, circuses, and some other miscellaneous things.

On the Fourth of July, we would have some fireworks. Mostly firecrackers and some sparklers. The boys liked the “Devil on the Walk”. These I hated. They were small and sort of round which you held in your hand. The boys would through them on a hard surface, like a sidewalk, they made a loud noise and spattered pieces all over. They liked to get in back of you and then through one back of you. We would jump a mile. The boys would laugh but it hurt if some of the pieces hit your legs, it would burn.

The boys had some fire crackers that didn’t have any wicks. They put these into the ground, up right then preced to light them. Then they would go off. I had some without wicks, I thought I’d do the same thing, it looked easy enough. Well, I planted it in the ground, lit my match, no responds. I waited a bit and nothing happened, so I ran into the house to get another match. Instead of lighting the match I knealed doun and blew on the firecracker, it went off right in my face and eyes. I ran into the house and my mother said “I never had any use for fire crackers anyway.” I ran into my bed room and had a good cry I new my dad would scold me. I could hear her saying Just wait until your dad gets. I can’t remember what my dad said but I did injure my eye. The doctors tell me I had a injury on that eye and the crying I did was the best thing I could have done. Don’t do what the other fellow does, be careful of the fire works.

Dad used to sole our shoes when we were young. He had a shoe tree and three or four awls to fit all our sizes of shoes. We would leave our shoes in fron of our bedroom door at night when we went to bed, the next morning the shoes were mended, soled and cleaned. Dad was proud of polished shoes, I think by being in the ppolice force made him notce them more.

It was quit a day when the circus came to town, probably once a year. All the neighbors turned out on this day, and of course we also went It was going to be a big day, we’d get up early to get our chores done. We would pack a lunch, cheese and crackers, bread and bologna and fruit. Of course we got dressed in our best, when we were all fixed to go, we left in our wagon, drawn by our horses. We planed on spending the day there, seeing all the people we knew.

The circus was housed in a big round tent. Along with this cicus was a carnival, here we would walk around looking around to see what we could buy with our few pennies. We would save all year to buy one thing. Dad would buy us each a square brick of pink popcorn with a pretty fan on top of the corn. We ate it during the performance. The tent was very hot, we had lemonade to drink, just one for each of us. Money was scarce but we had always had a lot of food and a lot of love and a fine house, we were happy. We really appreciated the little extras.

We also some pink cotton candy which Dad thought a waste of good money. He said “You put it in your mouth then its gone.” What have you got. Dad couldn’t eat sweets so he couldn’t appreciate the sweet taste. Pullin off the cotton candy off was fun. We loved seeing the animals perform. Wishing we could teach our animals to do tricks.

On the farm the boys found three rims off the wheels. The wooden wheels, were, two rims wide the other rim narrow. They decided to use them to make a make believe car. The boys used a long lath for the handle and a short lath nailed to one end of the long lath. This was used to start the car. You stood this rim right up, then put one end of the small lath insede of the rim, close to the edge, twist it around on the rim. It would start if lucky. You would run behind this rim guiding with the small part of the lath. To stop this car, use the little lath part, one end next to the rim, holding on to the rim. This will stop it.

I made the mistake by leaving my car (which was called a Dodge car) My car was the narrow rim. It was so much harder to keep up. I left his Dodge in front of the pump house, well Dad nearly fell over it: the boys were very quick to tell him it was mine. He grabbed me and started to spank me with the handle of my car. I told him not to break my Dodge car. He stopped and sort of grinned. At this time didn’t realize he didn’t know what my Dodge car was. I think he thought it was my bottom. This is the only spanking I can remember. He usually scolded which was far worse.
I believe that the story about the “Dodge car” must have been one of Elsie’s favorites, for she told it to me several times.

I know that there was something behind the passing comment that “Dad couldn’t eat sweets so he couldn’t appreciate the sweet taste.” I don’t know the full story, but I have heard comments from other family members about his aversion to sweets.

This is clearly the end of one section of the manuscript, as it ends mid-page and the next page begins with a title.

To continue with the next installment of Elsie's manuscript, click here

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Luxembourg Records: A Little Practical Advice

In some ways, bringing the Luxembourgish branch of my family history to life is much more challenging than the American or English. It is much more difficult to find sources relative to remote regions of Luxembourg, and when I do find them, chances are they aren’t in English. On the other hand, the primary research is often much easier. Once I made it over the hurdles of learning to read Gothic script and understand records written in French, German, or Latin (none of which I studied in school), it turned out that the primary sources are very easy to navigate. Although the names are often variously spelled in their French, German, or Latin counterparts, the records leave very little room for doubt about a person’s identity. They consistently refer to women by their maiden names even when married, and often identify age, birthplace, and parents. Sometimes a document will record even more information than that.

Now that so many of Luxembourg’s civil records are available for free online at FamilySearch, the potential for research on your Luxembourg line is immense. However, the task looks daunting at first glance. The records are not only unindexed, but they are in another language—some in French, some in German, some in Latin—and both the handwriting and the typeface is difficult to decipher. All your experience in interpreting nineteenth century American handwriting will help you little, because this is an entirely different kind of script. Known as Gothic script, it can be extremely challenging for the modern genealogist, accustomed to our Roman style, to read.

Fortunately, a period of unemployment a couple years ago furnished me with ample spare time to devote to going through these Luxembourg records and teaching myself to read Gothic script. I found the chart in this piece of immeasurable value in understanding both the script and the typeface. Even the preprinted parts of the records can be difficult to understand without aid.

Practice Gothic Script

I am not going to reiterate all that has already been said on reading Gothic handwriting; it has already been said very well and succinctly at the link I mentioned before. I will, however, share a few of my experiences and some hard-won advice in the civil records from Luxembourg specifically.

I recommend beginning to familiarize yourself with some of the later records first, because it can be easier to translate the printed portions of the records rather than immediately diving in and trying to figure it out in Gothic script. Often what was customary to write in the blank spots in the earlier records became pre-printed in the later records. Therefore once you know what you’re looking for, such as “geboren zu (born in)” or “wohnhaft zu (residing in)” or “sohn der (son of), ” and realize approximately in what order the information is likely to appear, it is much easier to locate the pattern of words in the handwritten portions. The letters that were once indistinguishable as s, f, or h begin to organize themselves into coherent words.

A rather simple example of later typewritten records clarifying earlier handwritten records, but it serves to show the concept.

Often, although the record may be written in Gothic script, the names will pop out easily in Roman script. This can be exceptionally helpful in scanning through the records for your ancestors. In birth records, I usually look for the name following “erschienen,” as that is almost always the name of the father, to see if a record is relevant to my search. The signatures, in the eternal nature of signatures, are often much more difficult to read. They do not follow the pattern of names being in Roman script, as the people sign however they are accustomed to write.

Occasionally, a completely handwritten record will be tucked in the pages. Now that you are used to German, this record is unaccountably in French! Don’t despair. Firstly, it is likely in Roman script, easier to read. Secondly, although the words are different, it tends to follow the same pattern. Usually I scan these for relevant names and, if I find something of interest, I return to them later. It can be difficult to switch back and forth between French and German, Gothic and Roman script, so I look at them when my mind is not so full of the Gothic German.

If you do not speak French or German or Latin, don’t give up! You may have gleaned from the preceding paragraphs that I am not fluent in any of those languages. As a matter of fact, prior to this experience I had no training in any of those languages. I did, however, take several years of Spanish, and my passing familiarity with that grammar served me in the challenge of comprehending another grammar. As long as you have tenacity, a modicum of language ability, and access to Google translate, you will be able to figure out the records more or less successfully. I used a combination of Google translate and a physical printed German-English dictionary in my translation. This was partly because of the well-publicized deficiencies of computerized translators. (Just translate a sentence from English into German and then back again and see what you get!) You have to use your brain in combination with the help from the translator. Sometimes it will get hung up on word combinations that are probably legalistic and don’t make sense to it. I had to often frequently cut down the sentences and translate a phrase rather than the entire sentence in order to get to the meaning of the sentence. The physical dictionary also helps in occasions where a word is spelled phonetically or dialectally. The online translators cannot help you there, but a physical dictionary provides a word list from which you can often pick out what was meant.

Helpful Lists

Make a list of the months of the year, the numbers from 1-10 and the tens from there, days of the week, and the ordinal numbers—first, second, third, etc.


I also keep a list of Luxembourg place names in their French, German, and Luxembourgish stylings. Every once in a while if you cannot identify a town, you will find it is written in its Luxembourgish designation. This list is comprehensive; I prefer to make a smaller list of my own, including only the towns that I have found relevant to my search and referring to the larger list only when stumped. Also helpful to refer to a list of German occupations such as the one found here.

French Republican Calendar

Once you get back to a certain period before 1804, you might come across another surprise: suddenly the records you were expecting to see in German are written in French. Or, perhaps more surprising, the records written while under French rule are written in German. I found one such marriage record for Henri Mertz (AKA Heinrich, etc) and Catharina Audrimont. The date was puzzling to me because no matter how I looked at it, all I could get for the year was “11” and for the month “Nivos,” which means nothing in either French or German. Finally I discovered that during this period of time Luxembourg was under French Republican rule and was compelled to use the French Republican calendar, which, believe it or not, is a metric calendar. Ten days in a week, and months that one British wit once translated to “Wheezy, Sneezy and Freezy; Slippy, Drippy and Nippy; Showery, Flowery and Bowery; Wheaty, Heaty and Sweety.” The years are dated from proclamation of the French Republic. Therefore, the year I was reading was correct—it was the year 11, which roughly translates to 1803. (However, due to the non-coincidence of new year’s days, part of FR 11 was in 1802.) The month was a misspelling of the month Nivôse.

Dates found in the French Republican calendar (and a number of other calendars, for that matter) can be looked up on this calendar converter. However, before you use the converter, make sure you read a little about the French Republican calendar so that you understand how it works (i.e. what the décades are) or you will end up with the wrong date.

Don’t Give Up!

Although looking at the original Luxembourg records can be challenging at first, it is well worth the effort. Each record is likely to contain a wealth of information. That same marriage record of Henri Mertz and Catharina Audrimont which I mentioned above yielded results I hadn’t dared dream to anticipate:

Henri Mertz
Catharina Audrimont
b. 28 Jan 1780 in Keispelt
b. 19 Nov 1774 in Medernach
Occupation: nurse

Parents: Theodor Mertz and Susana Trauscht of Keispelt
Parents: Peter Audrimont and Margreta Arens of Medernach

This was in addition to the expected information about the wedding itself: the date, place, and witnesses, and it was all new information to me.