Friday, November 20, 2009

Antiques and Historical Perspectives

At our last family reunion, my youngest son had the privilege of escorting his uncles through a local antique mall. His only regret was that he did not have his digital tape recorder. He said his uncles did could not go five feet in any direction without picking up some object, recalling its use and some amusing story. Although "appointed" to the task, he came home delighted and with a new appreciation for his uncles, what they knew, and the time in which they grew up.  In his article, "Antiques and Historical Perspectives," Alan Smith shares his experience and new perspectives gained in cataloguing the large antique collection in his father's estate. In large part, it is this personal relationship with the past that makes genealogy so engaging.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Take one kerosene cube and call me in the morning."

Researching the social history of our ancestors is interesting and can tickle the funny-bone. Makes you wonder fifty years down the road, we are doing now that will amuse our great-grandchildren the clothes, for sure always the clothes. But what about our daily life and the things we take for granted, what new medicines will make the common pill a primitive treatment? In her article, "Medicine in Rural Appalachia," Melissa Slate takes an incredulous look at home remedies from days gone by, and while it may seem shocking and amusing all at once, it is also enlightening, helping us to better understand and appreciate our ancestors.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Art-quality quilts on display in three states

According to an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer, "Art-quality quilts," this winter, three quilt exhibitions offer ample evidence that the imagery on quilts can equal any work of fine art, whether it is a colonial quilt from Connecticut, a modern quilt from Alabama, or a contemporary quilt from Ohio. "Eye-popping geometrics that rival op art paintings. Sweet scenes of childhood that look as if they came from a richly illustrated picture book. Painterly narratives that explore family history." The article provides some interesting historical background as well as details of each exhibit. The times and places are as follows:

Quilting African American Women's History, runs March 8 to November 8, 2008 at the National Afro-American Museum in Wilberforce, Ohio.

Masterpiece Quilts from the Shelburne Museum, runs February 16 through June 1, 2008 at the Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH.

Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt, runs January 2 through March 23, 2008 at the Speed Art Museum, 2035 S. Third St., Louisville, KY.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Survey suggests ancestors' lives not so different from our own

An entertaining article in the The Guardian, "Happy in our Skeletons," reports on an survey that reveals "you are far more likely to discover that your grandparents weren't married or your great uncle was married twice - but at the same time - than you are to learn that Prince William is your third cousin." The article makes the point that we tend to romanticize the past, but people then lived pretty much as we do today, with the same temptations and foibles -- it just wasn't as public.then as it is today, owing to modern news media and modern forms of documentation.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

German TV channel to focus on topics related to death

As reported on Fox News, "German Morticians Plan TV Channel Dedicated to Death," viewers could be in for a surprise the next time they break from their favorite TV shows to surf the channels. If German morticians have their way, viewers may come across what is being called a 24-hour death channel. The channel, which is set to be distributed on satellite TV and on the Internet, is to focus on the general concept of dying. Funeral ceremonies, cemeteries and obituaries will be featured, along with -- and this will be of interest to family history researchers -- information on old death rituals and eulogies. The producers say the channel is intended to help people become more familiar with death and therefore make the grieving process easier and more familiar when they actually go through it.

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Friday, June 1, 2007

Museums as a family history resource

In her article, "Researching Your Family History at the Museum," Gena Philibert-Ortega offers insight into museums as a genealogical resource. In addition to exhibits and artifacts, museums sometimes have research rooms that include local and family history files as well as books and periodicals that pertain to the local history, and some may provide research assistance for a fee. When traveling to do genealogy, a trip to the local museum might be as beneficial as a trip to the local library. To give you an idea of what you may find, the article provides a sampling of museum resources and offer tips for working with museum personnel.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Alex Haley's "Roots" now available on DVD

As reported in the Denver Post, "Reviving Roots," the monumentally resonating TV production of Alex Haley's "Roots," is now available on DVD. "Roots: 30th Anniversary Special Edition" (Warner Home Video, $59.98), the four-disc edition has nine commercial-free hours of the miniseries "that forced Americans to engage what Denver Post TV critic Clark Secrest called at the time 'the central and gruesome fact in American history.'" The DVD also contains compelling bonus material, especially "Roots: One Year Later," narrated by Lou Gossett Jr. and "Crossing Over: How Roots Captivated an Entire Nation."

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Life on the frontier

In her article, "Appalachia: Culture of the First Western Frontier," Melissa Slate provides insights into the day-to-day life of early settlers of the American West. "The culture of the new frontier was as varied as the people that settled it. This new American West comprised much of the land that we now call Appalachia." Understanding how people lived and the challenges they faced helps us appreciate our ancestors, their lives, and our own lives today.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Just a little Irish trivia to help you celebrate. Irish is the second most claimed ancestry in the U.S. (German being the first), according to the U. S. Census Bureau, Thirty-four million Americans claim Irish ancestry, almost nine times the population of Ireland.

Many of those, and others who wish they were Irish, will celebrate today.

In Massachusetts, nearly one in four residents claims some Irish ancestry. Census data show that Americans who claim Irish ancestry average more formal education and higher incomes and are more likely to be homeowners than the at-large population.

The day commemorates St. Patrick, believed to have died on March 17, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. In the U. S., March is Irish-American Heritage Month, first proclaimed in 1995 by Congress. Each year, the U.S. president also issues an Irish-American Heritage Month proclamation. Although not an "official" holiday, in the
U. S. the day is celebrated as something of a festival. You wonder at its mystique -- people of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick's Day, as far away as Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Russia. In Ireland, it is a national holiday and traditionally a religious observance.


Monday, March 5, 2007

Celebrating Women's History Month

In addition to celebrating the "luck of the Irish," March is Women's History Month. These special months are set aside to recognize and honor or create awareness of some significant aspect of our society. As Melissa Slate reminds us in her article, "Celebrating Women's History Month," what better time to learn more about and honor women in history, as well as women in our own lives and those to whom we own our heritage. Melissa offers some ideas for brushing up on your knowledge and honoring the women who have touched your life.

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