Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Adam Redcay's Farm (e-i-e-i-ooooo)

Okay, after this, I'm gonna take a break from the Redcay's. It's true, I love researching, but it's good to take a break. Besides, they are always spelling their name different, and they insist on living on the border of various counties and townships and it gets annoying. Is it Brecknock township in Lancaster county or Brecknock township in Berks county? And who made the decision to divide the county up in the first place?

Some old dudes in 1752 were sitting around in Lancaster county Pennsylvania saying hey, I think there should be another county because Reading is getting too big. Let's make it and break townships right in the middle so in 350 years when people are trying to figure out where we live they'll have no idea and have to resort to random searches on some sort of inter-tubes which invariably ends with them back on a time-wasting network of socialness that sucks the hours away.

First off, let's establish the name. It's Redcay. Which can also be found as: Redkey, Retge, Redge, Rettge, Redkee and Retga. That last one gets me, that must have been some think Pennsylvania Dutch accent.

So, the oldest Redcay I can find for my brother-in-law's family is Adam Redge, who was born on Oct. 13, 1799. He was warrantied land in Berks county in 1828. Exactly 23.106 acres. Not 23 acres, not 24 acres, not 23 and one half acres. 23.106.

He died in 1871, his gravestone is at the Allegheny Church graveyard.

I know his wife's name was Anna, and I have all his kids.

But where did he come from? The census's I found state he was born in PA, but who knows where since the older census's only list the father's name, not any other member's of the household.

I've found a few family history's of Redcay's, but they are apparently different lines, because they don't match up with mine. A mystery.

And I found a farm on an 1864 map that belongs to a John Redge (Adam did have a son John), but it's in Brecknock township of Lancaster county, not Berks county. There's an 1876 map of Brecknock Township in Berks county, but there is only a T. Redcay listed as owning property. "T"? Who is this "T" imposter? There are no good pennsylvania dutch first names that start with T! There should only be Adam's, Martin's, William's, John's, Jacob's, Abram's and Elias. That's it. No T's should pop up until the early 20th century. And how sad am I that I even have a statement to make about such a subject?

And that my friends, is how I know when it's time for a break. Maybe I'll go organize some photos or something. Or maybe go outside and see what the sky looks like. Or not.....

more animals

Monday, December 29, 2008

Adam Redcay and His Job

Adam Redcay is my brother-in-law's great-great-great-great-great grandfather. He was born in 1799 and was deeded land up in Berks County, PA.

By 1870 though, his wife had passed away, and he was no longer farming, but had apparently moved to a house in Adamstown in what is now Lancaster County, PA (Adamstown is known now as the antiques capital of the world, at least according to their website). He was living on his own with a servant. Interestingly, the servants name was Leah, which is a pretty rare name, even back then.

I know all this from looking at census information. Another column on census sheets is occupation. 90% of the time, occupation for women was left empty because it was just assumed that they were home doing housework. Some census's listed it as "Keeping House". If you were a grandmother or grandfather living with your son or daughter and their family, you usually didn't have an occupation listed either. Maybe "widow" or "widower" would be listed.

But for the 1870 census and 70-year-old Adam Redcay, they didn't just leave his occupation blank.

They listed an occupation for him - it was: "old man".

Now that has to be an occupation. I can only imagine that being an "old man" involves being cantankerous, grumpy, and irritated by everyone. Much like the old men driving cars in front of me every day who think it is their occupation to prevent me from going around them. I don't run into angry old men in stores, or on sidewalks or at my job. Only when driving.

Maybe Adam Redcay's occupation is why he isn't living with any of his kids. They probably all got together and were all like, omg, I am not taking Dad in, he trips us with his cane and never likes what we make for dinner. Let's buy a house for him in the next county over and pay some poor sap named Leah to take care of him.

I made it!

Remind me next year when I'm feeling all in the holiday spirit and decide to host parties within days of each other that I'm going to need more time off BEFORE the parties....!!!!!

But I survived and I think all went well. I was very excited to host christmas eve this year, I had a blast setting up a pretty table and making fun little menus for everybody. My christmas party this year seemed to go well as well, it went by in a flash which usually is a good thing!!!

And now, my real vacation! A week of playing with genealogy until I'm sick of it and am glad to go back to work. (Yeah, right).

I already spent all day yesterday doing more on the Redcay's, that is my latest interest, it's my brother-in-law's family. I was reading through this book on germans in berks/lancaster counties and this guy made a comment like, oh, and the Redcay family, which is obviously Rothke....

Rothke? I didn't think that was obvious, is there something wrong with me? But anyway, I was glad to find it, google does something right, and that is the posting of old books. Remember the old days when if something was out of print, it was out of print and you were screwed? Now you really can get whatever you want whenever you want. That makes me HAPPY! I love the internet!

and an update on the new cat, Angel: NooNoo has not killed him yet, though she is working hard to traumatize him. She likes to sit in doorways and growl at him so that he has to sqeeeeeze by in the doorway as far from her as possible. She's all talk, she's definitely getting used to him now. He has turned out to be such a relaxed cat, he loves parties, and loves to place himself right in the middle of the room and hang out. I'm so lucky to have found him!!!

And now, back to the Redcay's!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

An open letter to the electricians who wired my house when it was built...




shame shame shame.

you know who you are, and karma has hopefully come for you.

1. first, I found that you wired the smoke detectors to my foyer bathroom's lightswitch

2. then, I found that you wired the fan in the foyer bathroom to the light, not the lightswitch, so I can't have a separate switch without tearing apart the wall

3. and finally, this weekend, I discovered that the outside outlet is reset by the upstairs hall bathroom outlet's reset switch.

enough said.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Angel

So the other day I was working from home and my cat (NooNoo) just wasn't herself. Ever since Patches has been gone NooNoo hasn't been quite right. She talks to me a lot (she must have a little bit of Siamese in here) and has no one to chase and be chased by.

At the spur of the moment, I headed on down to the Chester County SPCA. Rescue places have a lot of animals right now, due to foreclosures and people downsizing...there were lots of cats and as I walked in to where they keep all the cats I just wanted to cry, I felt so bad for all of them in their cages. But I steeled myself up and decided to pay attention to who was interested in me. Right away there were two stand-outs. Two males - one was white and tan, named Spook, and one was black and white, named Angel. And both are BIG cats. At least compared to what I was used to, especially with my little NooNoo around the house, all 6 pounds of her.

Spook rubbed against the cage bars and meowed and meowed at me, Angel rolled over on his back and looked up at me. My heart melted!

So I met with each of them in the little room and although both were sweet as pie, it seemed like Angel would be easier to adapt to new situations.

Ta-dah, I have a new cat!

Right now he is quarantined to my office, which has not pleased NooNoo very much. Once she realized I had actually placed a CAT in the room, she likes to sit there and growl at the door. Her growls remind me a little of Marge Simpson when she goes: Hmhmhmmmmmm in response to something dumb somebody says.

Despite being 6 pounds and not having any front claws, NooNoo takes no crap from nobody. I know who is going to be in charge once she and Angel meet. But I love her dearly. She gives me those sweet little silent meows....

Angel is currently 12.4 pounds. Apparently he gained some weight while at the SPCA (he was there since late September, poor thing). We're going to try and lose about 2 pounds, we'll see. We have a free wellness check at the vet tomorrow afternoon, after that, he and NooNoo can meet face-to-face.

He is just a total little sweetheart, he's adjusted very well to the office (I always laugh when I see cats in new environments, that low cat-walk thing they do around the perimeter). I have about 8 scratching posts in the room to encourage him to use those rather than my chair and ottoman, but the ottoman is a draw. He doesn't seem to understand "No!". He just kind of lays there and looks at me like, huh? I just drag him across the floor away from the ottoman towards the scratching thingy and then he thinks I'm petting him. At the moment, he LOVES to eat, I guess there isn't much else to do when you're in a cage, so that is his big thing, but I think once he has the run of the house and other distractions, he'll be okay. I put a t-shirt of mine in the room and he likes to lay on it, so I think we've bonded nicely. I hope that all goes well with the vet!!

Here's my first picture of my new little boy. As you can see, he's on the crappy office chair that Patches loved and I could never get rid of because of how much she loved it.

What's the first thing he found and jumped on? That crappy office chair. So for now, my elbow and arm will continue to suffer. I guess I'll put it in the loft eventually....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2001 is dumb

Okay okay, I admit it.

I don't understand 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Yes yes, it's all cool and futuristic and I know all the quotes and I can sing the daisy song.

But the ending....I just don't get it. I really don't get it. I don't think I even like it. Lots of odd-colored landscape scenes while nasty cacophonous so-called music playing, then lots of heavy breathing while Keir gets old and it's all deep and significant. I know something important is being said, I just know it, especially at the end with the baby and the earth right next to each other.


I do enjoy listening to the entire Blue Danube at the credits. People don't appreciate credits enough. I always liked watching credits, while all my friends would be literally running out of the movie theater. Where were they going so fast? What was so important everyone has to do? Don't you want to know who the caterer was for the movie? I do. Really, I'm not even kidding.

Anyway, all this came up because I just caught the last 15 minutes of 2001 on TCM. I sat there for like 6 minutes of the stupid landscape scenes and then the heavy breathing, trying to give it one more chance of being relevant to me. But no, it failed again. Or maybe I failed, maybe I am not abstract enough. It's true I like to know what the answer is, please don't waste my time postulating and guessing and theorizing, just tell me what the real answer is. I am not good as the strategist type, the visionary leader. That is SO not me. Vision smision, while you're sitting around thinking about 10 years from now, I'm the one making things work right this second. :-D

But I digress, as usual. So I watched the end of 2001, and now 2010 is just starting. Maybe it will help me since I haven't seen it in like 20 years.

And then I get on the computer and my dad just happens to mention science fiction! See how everything is linked. I always wanted to like the science fiction that my dad liked but the future was never a nice place in those books. It was cold, with hard edges and computers that took over. I think I enjoyed the Foundation series, but I can't remember. I gravitated towards fantasy which had happy things like unicorns and fairies and magic. I don't really read fiction anymore because there isn't time to waste on stuff like that when there is so much non-fiction and history to read.

And now I should go pay attention to the movie so I can finally understand what's going on. And yes, in case you are wondering, I did read the books, 2001 and 2010, but it was so long ago I forgot them too. It's actually a good habit, forgetting what happened in a book, because then you can read it again and not have it spoiled. I try not to do that anymore now that I read non-fiction, but it was a hard habit to break.

I'll let you know if I figure it all out. Maybe it'll all come back to "42". :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Redcay Family

So I'm researching my brother-in-law's family tree so my niece and nephew will have their family tree. Whether they'll be interested in this information is another story, but I'm taking a chance that one of them, or maybe one of their kids, will appreciate my thousands of hours slaving over a hot keyboard.

Redcay is a great name. The best part of it is that you can get it as a tattoo if you wanted to. A big red "K". Like the superman logo. I've tried to tell my brother-in-law for years now that I think getting a red "K" as a tattoo is a great idea. Unfortunately, the fact that I can't help but grin every time I say it takes away from the impact of my opinion I think.

So most of the Redcay's swarm within Pennsylvania, specifically within Berks and Lancaster counties. They were probably part of the big rush of germans that came over for religious freedom in the 1700s.

One of the things I like best about genealogy is watching the evolution of families over time. Favorite names for kids, who moved to another state, stuff like that. And I like seeing how little things like spelling have changed over time. Being picky about spelling is a relatively recent phenomenon, people were much more, shall we say, flexible, in the past.

For instance, in a 1930 census, maybe your name was written down as "Susan". But the 1920 census has it written as "Susanah". And the 1900 census has it as "Susannah". That's a pretty easy example though. I have one person whose name is "Letitia". In some places her nickname is listed (Lettie). In other places, clearly the person writing it down was not familiar with such a la-dee-dah name. They wrote "Ledisha".

So as I researched the Redcay surname, I eventually ran out of Redcays. What happened to them? They had done a spelling change. Lots of people with non-english names changed the spelling of their surnames to what matched the pronunciation.

Eventually I found one of them: "Retga". You might think that "Retga" sounds nothing like "Redcay" but if you do what I did, it actually does. Sit in front of your computer and pronounce "Retga" with a german accent, (Yes, this is what I do in my spare time, I'm not even making it up) the way it would have been as the census taker in 1880 heard it. Imagine going from door to door, getting some annoyed wife and making her tell you the names, ages and occupation of everyone in the house. Or maybe that's just me projecting, maybe they would have welcomed a chance to speak to someone different for a time.

But anyway, "Retga" actually sounds a little like "Redcay". And then I found others spellings, like "Retge" and "Ratge".

I have no idea what this surname means, I don't speak german. But I did find a word "ratgeber" which means counsellor or advisor. Whether it relates or not, I don't know.

Yep, this is what I love doing with my spare time!!!!! :-)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Haven Connecticut and Thomas Mix

Back in August of this year, I took a trip up to Connecticut and visited New Haven for the first time. To me, this was quite significant because when I first started doing genealogy about 287 years ago (or at least it feels like that), the first cool thing I found was about New Haven.

It turns out that (on my Mom's side) there is this family called MIX. I'm not yelling at you, it's just that when we genealogists type out a surname we're supposed to make it all capitals. I don't know why, but pick up any family history or genealogy book and you'll see it like that. I guess it's to get your attention. Not that I'm some sort of official genealogist, I don't belong to any groups or associations or anything, but hey, I've been doing for over a decade. Actually I don't think I'll do the all caps thing anymore because I do feel like I'm yelling, and this isn't a book.

So anyway, my grandmother's maiden name was Mix. And I managed to trace it all the way back to a Thomas Mix, who was one of the founders of New Haven, Connecticut in 1637.

I thought that was pretty cool. We're not really a family (on my mom's or my dad's side) that has had possessions to pass down. I guess we were all part gypsy, which does explain why I like to move so much. I see these annoying people on those antique roadshow things, all like, hey, my great-aunt left me this ugly costume bracelet and it turns out to be diamonds and platinum. Or some broken down hall table turns out to be a chippendale. Who are these people? How do they hold on to this stuff? They must not have people like my mother in their families because if it isn't nailed down, it's in the trash. And this includes slow-moving family members.

So when I found out I "owned" New Haven, I felt pretty cool about it! Hey, that's my town! My relative helped set it up!

We even found where we believe the old homestead was. Not Thomas Mix's, he wasn't listed on the map, so we think he and his wife were living with his father-in-law, Nathanial Turner. Actually, it was Captain Nathanial Turner. Even though they were all puritans, they liked their titles. Captain Turner's homestead is probably under the building in the center of this picture:

I got the info from a book, it said "Nathanael Turner, whose home-lot was on Church Street, next south of Mr. Cheever's", and an old map of the original new haven colony that showed people's homesteads.

Could you imagine founding a city? I can't imagine. Just sitting around the fire and saying, hey, let's put a street over there, and an intersection down there. Oh, and let's fill in that swamp. ???? And then argue over who has the best land for their garden? Yikes! They had guts if nothing else.