Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - 23 December 2009

At Christmas play and make good cheer,
For Christmas comes but once a year.

- Thomas Tusser "The Farmer's Daily Diet

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Don't Stand So Close to Me

A few years back I was lucky enough to spend a day in Edinburgh, Scotland. We only had time to go through Edinburgh Castle and about half-way down the Royal Mile, so I would love a chance to go back. What we saw was really just wonderful though, it's beautiful and so much history packed into a tiny spot what with the Old Town/New Town thing. "New Town" was created in the over the course of about 100 years (mid-18th to mid 19th centuries).

"Old Town" is basically the strip from Edinburgh Castle on the hill down to HolyRood Palace. (Check out this great website for a better view of the map where you can zoom in). It was of course surrounded by a wall at one point and this caused the population to really pile up on one another. Aristocracy and fishmongers would live in the same building (although I'm sure the inside of their rooms looked really different).

A cool feature of Edinburgh that we learned about was the "Close". A Close is basically what in America you would call an alley. But it goes way beyond alleys that I've lived with - they might be only as wide as a person, they could have stairs in them, they can be open to the sky, or maybe the buildings over top completely cover it. They're named too, maybe after someone who lived nearby, or for where they led to; and there are fortunately still a good amount of them.

One close in particular is extra cool because you can tour it now and see how it looked in the 18th century. What happened was the tenements above were torn down so the Royal Exchange building could be built in 1753, but the lowest floors were left as is and remained the foundation of the Royal Exchange building. This close is Mary King's Close. Mary King is said to have been the daughter of Alexander King, who was a lawyer for Mary Queen of Scots and lived somewhere along the close. I can't verify all that though.

Naturally, it's supposed to be super haunted down there and we did take the tour. You walk down a long staircase and suddenly you're in a dark alley (close) with authentic 18th century laundry hanging overhead. Ok, maybe the laundry is new. But whether you believe in ghosts or not, it's definitely creepy. But also, for an amateur genealogist/historian like me, it's WAY COOL to see something preserved so well like that.

What brought all this up was a book I'm reading now called "Traditions of Edinburgh" by Robert Chambers. He published it in 1824, and revised it a few times. Literally he went around asking old people what they remembered about the Old Town in Edinburgh and he has all these great little stories. It's really interesting to hear him lament about places that were torn down for roads or new buildings, just like we do today! It just goes to show that nothing changes!

Anyway, he was talking about some ghost stories and believe it or not, he had one about Mary King's Close!

Here's the excerpt (he's talking about a "deserted house in Mary King's Close (behind the Royal Exchange"):

"At midnight, as the goodman was sitting with his wife by the fire reading his Bible, and intending immediately to go to bed, a strange dimness which suddenly fell upon his light caused him to raise his eyes from the book. He looked at the candle, and saw it burning blue. Terror took possession of his frame. Turning away his eyes, there was, directly before him, and apparently not two yards off, the head as of a dead person, looking his straight in the face. There was nothing but a head... ...Presently the door opened, and in came a hand holding a candle. This came and stood - that is, the body supposed to be attached to the hand stood - beside the table, whilst the terrified pair saw two or three couples of feet skip along the floor, as if dancing..."

Isn't that cool? I got a kick out of the fact that he was relating this well-established ghost story in 1823 about a place that I walked through in 2007. Don't try to tell me history isn't fun!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What Happened?

Some might say, where the hell has the author of this supposedly regularly updated blog been?

Sorry about that, I'm very busy, it really has been extremely busy at work since August, plus this is the time of year we have lots of birthdays and thanksgivings and christmas parties and shopping.

Also, I am very very busy playing games on Facebook.

An intervention might be necessary.

What happened to me? Suddenly it's absolutely VITAL that I harvest my crops, make my sweets, cook for my restaurant, help my mafia, and live my vampire life to the exclusion of all other things. Especially now that christmas (my favorite holiday) is coming, I want to make sure I have christmassy decorations in my restaurants, homes, and farms. Also, I need to exchange virtual christmas presents and cards. I also have a strange fascination with watching my little employees work while in my cafe. I remind myself of Zorg in Fifth Element, thinking, look at all these little things, so busy now!

What's WRONG with me!!!!! :-D

I decided that after Christmas I'm cutting back on the games. I'm pretty sure I can do it, after all, last February 2nd I gave up soda. For good. For real. And let me tell you, I was a hardcore soda drinker. Breakfast, lunch and snack. Every day. Mmmmmmm fountain soda. Yes, fountain soda. You see, I am a soda conneee...conneisuer...connusewer...I can tell the difference in taste between beverages that come from glass, aluminum and plastic containers. (it's the taste buds I inherited from my dad). But best tasting when it comes to soda is the soda that comes straight from the fountain. Maybe it's the better carbonation, I don't know. I still get cravings, but it was surprisingly easy to quit. Since February I've had one drink that was mixed with ginger ale (Pimm's cup) and 1 sip from a bottle of coke produced in mexico so it was made with real sugar, not the corn syrup crap. Mmmmmm, that was a good sip.

Of course, I just replaced the soda addiction with an iced tea addiction so I'm not sure I'm better off....

But I digress, back to my facebook game addiction. I guess it's good because it's truly mindless entertainment to harvest my fields and pet my reindeer and shoot a member of a rival gang while cooking up chicken pot pie and killing werewolves.

Unfortunately, what I've lost is time for my genealogy fun stuff. It's not mindless, so it gets put off until I have enough time to spend on it. Which of course, isn't happening.

So, at christmas, it's bye-bye games and a welcome back to genealogy. I'll be taking several days off so I can just wallow around in all my research and re-aquaint myself with everything. I'm thinking I might have my own personal scanfest of photos.

Now, I won't actually delete the games, because maybe in a few months I'll try out one or two, but it can't be all of these games at once! I'll just hide them for a while and see what happens with all that free time.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Reason #86 Why the 70s Were Scary

So anyway, food has been the big theme, what with the Thanksgiving holiday just passing by us last week. My last post was about food, and I have some more thoughts on the subject. As in....the food of the 1970s. Yikes! Have you taken a look recently at any cookbook created in the 1970s? The food was...different. I realize that tastes change and what we're eating now will probably seem quaint and slightly gross to people a few hundred years from now. If you don't believe me, take a look at some of the blogs out there on medieval food and cooking and you'll see what I mean.

That got me to thinking about some of the staple dishes we ate when I was little. And here I want to enter a disclaimer about my mom and her cooking. My mom is an awesome cook. Her cross to bear has been being stuck with people all her life that are boring and picky eaters. So nothing I say here today is a criticism of what she cooked, she was doing the best she could with 70s ingredients and food fashions and having annoying family like me. :-) (love you mom!)

But that's not to say that there weren't some utterly GROSS things I ate as a child. Or at least, I thought they were gross at the time. Let's start with:

1. Green Jello in a Mold with Pears

Okay, first of all, the green jello is lime flavored. Ugh! I was never and am still not a person who appreciates tartness. It's just not part of my palette. I never liked sour-patch kids or any of those tart candies, it just wasn't right when a dessert wasn't sweet! So that was the first strike against it. But what the ladies in my family used to do was somehow suspend chunks of pears in the green jello and to top it all off, put it in some sort of mold so it looked like a nuclear fallout version of a bundt cake. And of course, since you're a kid, they make you eat it! Augghh! I also have vague memories of somehow cream cheese being involved, which may be why I avoided cream cheese until I went away to college.

2. Manwich

Have you ever actually looked at a sloppy joe? I know some people out there absolutely love this stuff but I really really didn't. For one thing, it was a messy meal. :-D I know, I know, I was an unnatural child, but I was also a very clean unnatural child. I usually managed to really not be dirty, even after playing outside for hours. It's a gift. Anyway, that picture in the ad is so incredibly deceitful because you KNOW that stuff was not staying in the bun but would be squeezing out all over the place. I think there were vague tastes of the spices that are used for taco spicing in this stuff and I really didn't like it. I would always do my best to just eat the buns but my mother was never fooled. Fork and knife in hand, I would choke it down. I'm happy to say, I can't remember the last time I had this stuff but I swear I can still taste it!

3. Hamburger Helper

First of all, where were all the flavors that they have now??? I see this stuff in the grocery store and it practically takes up a whole aisle!!! We were much more limited back in the day. It could be that if I tried this stuff now it would be pretty good, but I'm scared. I also have it associated with another meal that my father loved loved loved but the rest of us thought was really strange (sorry Dad). If I remember correctly (and it could be I don't because I've blocked it out), he liked eating ground beef and macaroni. Yes, just ground beef and macaroni. No sauce. Poor Dad. There is a reason for his madness, he's one of the fabled super-tasters. It's true, they do exist and he was actually confirmed by a doctor - he has more taste buds than the average human. So spicy foods to him are REALLY REALLY SPICY, for instance. He can name the ingredients used in a dish to you because he actually tastes each one. We poo-poo'd him for years but now grudgingly admit he might actually not be making it up. So he doesn't need things all spiced up because he tastes more than the rest of us. I think I inherited some it, but it's only a pale shadow. So yes...I think that meal is all mixed up in my memory with Hamburger Helper. Sorry Hamburger Helper people, I'm sure you are delicious!

4. Stuffed Cabbage

Oh how I dreaded the nights my mom made this meal!!! :-) Look at this stuff!! Honestly, I don't think the taste was all that bad, but the smell! Ohhhh, the smell! Ohhhhhhhhhhh. geez. My poor mom was always bewildered by the antipathy this dish garnered. The one time I remember having to stay seated at the table because I wouldn't eat my dinner was for this meal. Plus I had to sit in another seat so I couldn't see the TV. Oh the torture, the humanity! I don't know why, but I hate smelling the meal in the house after the meal is over. Yes, I know I'm a strange person, but I have to admit it. Baking is a whole different thing, I'm talking about the smell of cooked meat or, say, cooked cabbage. And that smell sticks around, it stays in your nose somehow. Let's move on.

5. Stuffed Green Peppers

Okay, I'm happy to say, I actually like this meal, except for the green pepper part. Yes, I realize that it's sort of an integral part of the meal, but I'd be perfectly happy to scoop the stuffed part out of the green pepper, pour that red sauce all over it and be perfectly happy. I didn't mind the flavor of the green pepper in the food, but I didn't (and don't) like cooked green pepper. Maybe it's the texture plus the taste, I don't know. But to this day, cooked green pepper is gross to me. The past couple of years I've worked on trying to learn to enjoy raw peppers - so like using a nice sweet red bell pepper for dip and stuff - that's great! I love the taste! I can even stand a few raw green bell peppers. But not cooked. However...I do like the sweet peppers they put on hoagies and I know they are cooked, but the flavor is totally different. Isn't taste a strange thing?

6. Hunky Steak

Last one for today. I couldn't find a picture of this gem, but I was actually stunned, STUNNED to find it on the internet at all, I thought my grandmother had made it up (probably learning it from her mom). It's basically a cheap cut of beef cubed up and ketchup and you cook it up in a pan. Nope, I'm not kidding. And I think it's....really good! My mom would always make it with egg noodles and I just loved that meal. When I did a search on the name, I actually found someone had posted a version of it and they referred to it as "Serbian Steak" and that it was basically a way to make a cheap cut of meat edible because you cook it slowly in the ketchup, which I guess since it has a lot of acid in it from the tomatoes helps soften up the meat. As the ketchup cooks it turns into a sweet/sour kind of taste.

And that my friends, is the end of today's stroll down memory lane. One thing I find interesting is that the examples of 70s foods I gave you today are all red and green. That could mean 1 of 2 things. Either I'm in the mood for Christmas, or food in the 70s was colored weird. It's probably both.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Corned Beef Hash

Today I ate corned beef hash.

I was buying canned goods to donate and I saw the cans of corned beef hash and couldn't remember what it tasted like. When I was little, sometimes my mom would take pity on my dad and make it because he liked it. I didn't really remember liking it or not. I do remember that I thought I put ketchup on it, which probably means my dad put ketchup on it.

So I bought an extra can for me. The instructions were really easy - something like, take the contents of the can and fry until crisp.

I admit to second thoughts after I opened the can. It did not look very appetizing. But, I fried it until crisp in the pan, and glopped some nice cold ketchup on it.

I like my condiments cold, I can't explain it. Even stuff like warmed maple syrup - no way. I like my maple syrup straight from the fridge. Duck sauce for egg rolls, ketchup for meatloaf, tartar sauce for fish sticks, heinz 57 for steak - I like it all cold. I guess it's something about the cold condiment with the warm food. I like it. I know, I've put too much thought into it, but when you have a fantastic cook for a mom, you end up noticing stuff like that. She'd do the nice things like warm up the maple syrup so your pancakes wouldn't get cold, or make a tangy sauce for the meatloaf that you cooked up and served on it warm. I was an un-appreciative child, happy with my cold pancakes and heinz-57-covered steak. Don't worry though, I've made up for it with her, I'll try just about anything these days, and love experimenting in nice restaurants.

But I'll tell you right now, if you're going to serve me meatloaf, I hope you have cold ketchup.

Anyway, back to the corned beef hash, from what I can tell, the way I served it made it pretty much just a vehicle for providing your body with sodium and ketchup. And since there's a ton of sodium in ketchup, it really all boils down to giving your body a big dose of sodium.

It was filling though, probably all that water I'm retaining now, but I think I'll be good to wait another several years before I try it again. I probably will try it again though, because there is something about it - since it's a food I ate in childhood, it's kind of comforting.

When I looked for pictures for this posting, I discovered that many people put fried eggs on top of the there's an idea! Next time I'll try that. Plus there were people out there mentioning mustard and worcestershire sauce and other things. Really? Yikes.

Meanwhile, I think I need to go get a glass of water...I'm thirsty! :-)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fun with Statistics!

No really, I actually do have fun with statistics. I am not a math person, I've never been a math person, to me, math is some sort of magical stuff that is beyond comprehension. EXCEPT...for statistics. I can't explain why it's different to me, it just is. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the topic of this book:

So the other day it occurred to me to find out what percentage in my family files I had of births of twins. No reason other than curiosity.

My maternal family tree database has 7,417 people in it. So I did an export of people and their birth dates to a .csv file and merely eliminated all those people who didn't have the same birthdate. What I found was this:

No instances of triplets.

27 sets of twins, which of course is 54 people.

I then eliminated those that were not a direct relation of mine and that took it down to:

25 sets of twins, 50 people.

That means the incidence of twins in my maternal family datebase is: 0.006741.

Not very high! Somehow when I entered those sets of twins I felt like it had been higher....

I then divided it by century to see how many sets of twins had been born per century:

1600s: 7

1700s: 9

1800s: 7

1900s: 2

And I wonder what happened in the last century to make it suddenly drop off! I blame incomplete data.

Interestingly, the 2 sets of twins born in the 1900s were both born in 1913 (May and October), one being on my maternal grandfather's side and the other being on my maternal grandmother's side.

Looking at gender, it's pretty even, 24 female and 26 male.

The closest to me when it comes to relationships are the 2 sets born in the 1900s, both of which are my great-grand aunt's and uncle's. Of the 25 sets of twins, 18 sets are some sort of cousins to me, with the remaining 7 being some sort of aunt or uncle.

And that completes my funtime with statistics for the day!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

SNGF - Surname Distributions

Randy Seaver has posted another Saturday Night Genealogy Fun suggestion! This week it's:

1) Find out the geographical distribution of your surname - in the world, in your state or province, in your county or parish. I suggest that you use the Public Profiler site at, which seems to work quickly and easily. However, you cannot capture the image as a photo file - you have to capture the screen shot, save it and edit it.

2) Tell us about your surname distribution in a blog post of your own (with a screen shot if possible), in comments to this post, or in comments on a social networking site like Facebook and Twitter.

For "Kleylein", I was curious if anything at all would come up, because it is not a common surname at all. Sure enough though, I got some hits:

According to this website, we Kleylein's only exist in 5 countries and within those countries, we're a pretty small percentage (frequency per million):

Germany - 3.05%
Belgium - 0.29%
US - 0.14%
Spain - 0.10%
Argentina - 0.08%

As far as I know, "Kleylein" originated in Germany and in fact is pretty localized to the Bayern region. I visited Unterrodach years ago, which is where my line of Kleylein's came from. That's consistent with this website that says Marktrodach is the Top City for finding Kleylein's.

Once my father gave up and joined Facebook along with the rest of the world, he immediately began searching for all the other Kleylein's he could find and sending them friend requests. Thanks to him, I'm FB friends with one of the Kleylein's in Argentina, which is pretty cool, considering there's even fewer of them there than in the US.

My mom's surname is another unique one ("Domelle"), so naturally I did a search on that one as well:

And yep, even less Domelle's are out there. Interestingly, the website says there are Domelle's in West county, Ireland. I'm not sure I buy that, since I know for sure my great-grandfather immigrated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So, that is either a coincidence of spelling, or some person from the family moved to Ireland at some point. I also know for a fact there is a branch of the family in Canada, but Canada does not show any Domelle's for this website. Nobody's perfect I guess!

When I click on the map of the US for Domelle, it is pretty good in it's distribution by state, although I believe one state in the South is missing:

When the Domelle's immigrated, they mostly ended up in Indiana where they were farmers.

This is a fun little website, I did searches on pretty much every surname I have and then some. Thanks Randy!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy All Hallows Eve Eve!!!

Happy day before Halloween! Another cartoon, celebrating spookiness....this one is an old Mickey Mouse one, back from when he was cute. It also shows how old cartoons can easily contribute to lifelong fears of old houses, skeletons and spiders!!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween, Part Deux!

Another great cartoon from the old days. To this day, I still picture hairpins flying in the air after certain people leave a room (sometimes it's even me!) :-D

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Halloween!

In honor of Halloween, I thought I'd post this old Betty Boop cartoon on the subject. I miss the really old cartoon where everyone bounces all the time!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why don't you put her in charge?

So it's a nasty rainy saturday here in the northeast (again) and I've been doing chores and stuff around the house. On the TV is Aliens because I can't not watch that movie whenever it's on, I don't know why, I think it's a masterpiece.

I noticed my cat Greta was watching it. She seems to enjoy staring at the TV now and then.

The room is dark because it's such a cloudy dark day and I'm watching the flashing from the TV reflect on her and her eyes and suddenly I'm reminded of the scene from the first Alien where we don't see the bad stuff happening to the guy with the hat in the chains-hanging-from-ceiling-room, we just see the reflection in the cat's eyes that's witnessing it.

And I got all weirded out!!! Not that there's aliens in my house or anything, but...I turned on the lights. After all, they mostly come at night. Mostly. :-D

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Family's Increase

I just love the ideas that pop up over at! So often, it makes me look at my research data with a fresh eye, which is something I definitely need! This week, the assignment is:

1) Pick one of your four great-grandparents - if possible, the one with the most descendants.

2) Create a descendants list for those great-grandparents either by hand or in your software program.

3) Tell us how many descendants, living or dead, are in each generation from those great-grandparents.

4) How many are still living? Of those, how many have you met and exchanged family information with? Are there any that you should make contact with ASAP? Please don't use last names of living people for this - respect their privacy.

5) Write about it in your own blog post, in comments to this post, or in comments or a Note on Facebook.

1) I chose my great-grandparents William Homer Mix and Cornelia Elizabeth Akins.

2) I did a descendant's list in Family Tree Maker.

3) Number of descendant's by generation:

a. Children: 10 (9 deceased, 1 living)
b. Grand-children: 37 (5 deceased, 32 living)
c. Great-grandchildren: 44 (all living)
d. Great-great-grandchildren: 17 (all living)

4) So William and Cornelia's increase is 108 people. 14 are deceased, so that leaves 94 remaining. I do know there's probably a lot more because there are a bunch of distant cousins that I don't have family information on. For all I know they are deceased as well. 50 of the 94 remaining are younger than me and probably not likely to have family information to pass on to me. So that leaves 44. Of those 44, I've met only 3!!!!!!! Those 44 are all cousins (2nd and beyond) that I've never met. So I now have something on my list to do!

I also have the problem of losing track of people after the 1930 census. The release of the 1940 information can't come soon enough.

I also now have a job of going back to the SSDI and searching for death dates for the Mix line, something I haven't gone back to in several years. I do belong to 2 newspaper archive sites, but unfortunately, neither of them have local newspapers from the Finger Lakes region of New York yet.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My DNA tests confirm I'm from Earth

So my grandfather was indulgent enough to allow me to scrape the inside of his cheek for DNA several months ago. I think he thought it was a lot of hooey, but it was harmless enough. I waited with baited breath for my results and I have them!

And I have NO idea what any of it means! :-)

I had figured I was a smart enough person, I'd be able to figure it all out, but honestly, I know I have information there, and I just have no idea how to interpret it. I'm still very glad I have it and I'd do the swab and cough up the money for the results again in a second, I just wish I was a scientist who understood it all!

So what do I know now?

Well, when it comes to the Y-DNA, which I tend to refer to as "boy-DNA", I am told that my grandfather's DNA belongs to Y-DNA Haplogroup R1a1. WooHoo, a fact! I love facts. Apparently it confirmed positive for the sub-clade of M198, whatever that means.

I looked up haplogroup R1a1 on wikipedia and it explained that this is the y-chromosome found most frequently in central and eastern Europe, and in some areas of Central and south Asia.

This happily matches my grandfather's presumed heritage of his family coming to the US from Hungary (the area is in modern Romania). Further on that, his family had supposedly moved south to Hungary, probably in the late 1700s, early 1800s from the Alsace-Lorraine region. That is what my grandfather says he was always told. There was in fact, a large migration of Germans south into the Austro-Hungarian empire. The Hapsburgs had encouraged German emigration to unsettled areas of Southern Hungary in the 18th century.

So all that makes sense and matches family legend, which is very gratifying.

The company I used also looked in their database to see if the boy-dna matched anyone else in their database. I didn't get a significant number for a match, but more eastern european confirmation - their were non-significant matches to people in modern-day Bulgaria and Slovakia.

I did the 67-marker test, but did not have any matches with the same or similar surname. This was not surprising to me, my grandfather's surname is not widely occurring.

When it comes to girl-DNA (or mtDNA), I am told that my grandfather has the mtDNA haplogroup H, which is the most common mtDNA haplogroup for Europe.

There are lots of forums out there I know, for posting your DNA test results and finding others that match, I'm looking into those and figuring out which one's to bother with. I will let you know how it goes!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Roses and Elderflowers and Vodka, Oh My!

Well, I could write some long apology on why I've been distant lately, but hey, somebody has to pay the mortgage around here! I can't really complain too much, this current job I have is an absolute pleasure compared to my last one. It's not that my last job was bad, I loved my work, but the stress level was out of control. Now I work with these all these techie kind of guys and for me, it's way low stress. But we have a big project (which is a good thing!) and it's been sucking up my time and energy.

So when I come home after a long week, or work all day on a Sunday, I make myself a drink!! And last Sunday I found the best drink in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Say what you want, this is the best.

It all goes back to my childhood....(imagine the picture in front of you getting all wavy in preparation for a flashback)

No really, though, when I was probably like 11 or so, my parents took me downtown to Philadelphia to a restaurant called, "Middle East Restaurant". I couldn't make up that name. It's the small sign to the right of the furniture sign in this picture. I vaguely remember grape leaves and lamb, maybe there was a belly dancer? Or that might be memories of EPCOT. But what I do remember, for sure, no doubt, was that they got me a glass of rosewater to drink.

I've often wished for the ability to project into other people's heads the song I was thinking of because I am horrible at carrying a tune. It's the same thing with my first taste of this rosewater. If only I could make you realize how incredible it was to me! I felt like I tasted the smell of a rose. That's the only way I can describe it. It was an unforgettable sensation, probably because I had no frame of reference, no idea of what it would taste like, and I was young and fresh and unjaded. Unlike now, where I am old and cynical and very very jaded. :-)

So that was a moment in time, I tasted a rose.

Fast forward 154 years from my childhood to this past summer (you see, this is a multi-faceted and complex blog post!). I went to this restaurant in Washington DC called PS 7's. It was a great meal, I think I had some sort of fabulous risotto or something, but the highlight of the meal was an accident...for an after-dinner drink, I had a glass of Elderflower liqueur. Fantastic!! Apparently the flowers are hand-picked by French elves only when the moon is full or something equally as complicated. Once I was home, I literally ran to the liquor store and bought up bottles of the stuff. And promptly forgot about it. It's been languishing in the dark in my liquor cabinet for months.

Last Sunday after a hard day of thinking about work stuff and typing work emails and working on work spreadsheets, I thought I'd have a drink, so I poured myself a glass of the elderflower stuff. And it was good. But then I decided to search around for some mixed drink recipes for the stuff. And I came across one where the drink recipe included rosewater.


I thought to myself, why, I have rosewater! Locked up in the cupboard being saved for some special occasion! So I broke it out and mixed me up a Rose-Hip Martini as they called it. was good. It was very good. It was SO good, I had three. And would have had more, but had to go to bed at some point!

Moral of the story? Don't be afraid to try drinks with ingredients picked by gnomes in the Alps. Or something like that. And go smell some roses.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Genealogy Trading Cards

Okay, yes, late as usual, but only a day late. And yes, I'm supposed to be working on actual work-related documents like spreadsheets and powerpoints right now, but hey, everyone needs a break once in a while, right???

Randy's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun suggestion was creating genealogy trading cards. Some people have done a really great job! I'm not as witty (or as professional) as some, and so, here's what I came up with:

Fun's over, back to my real-job work. :-) Until I find something more interesting again...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Madness - Elizabeth Obendorfer Domelle

Okay, so I've got one for Monday Madness! It's my great-grandmother on my mom's side. She's a mystery (which may be what she wanted!). :-)

Her Name: Elizabeth Obendorfer

Birthdate: 27 September(?) 1882

Birthplace: supposedly Vienna, Austria

Death Date: 14 April 1958

Death Place: Dyer, Indiana

Marriage: abt. 1912 to William Domelle, in Chicago, Illinois

And that's pretty much what I have! And I'm not even exaggerating that much, unfortunately.


Here is information my grandfather gave me about his mother:

--only child
--maid for people on first trip to America, came through Ellis Island then returned to Europe for some reason, became cook for group of priests second time around through Ellis Island
--went to Chicago
--from Austria/Hungary region
--met husband in Chicago

My grandfather also often reminisces about her wonderful cooking and baking skills. He remembers her in the process of making strudel pastry where she would have the pastry so thin it would be hanging off the kitchen table.

He also says she was a quiet person, not prone to talking much about herself. He remembers his father called her "Lissie" or "Lissy". She also stated that her father was a military man, my grandfather says General; and also that at some point she was so poor over in Europe that she had to resort to eating grass. He states also that she came alone through Ellis Island both times.

So what facts do I have?

I have her in the 1920 and 1930 federal censuses. census'. censi. Someone please tell me the plural of census!

She's in Thayer Village, Lincoln Township, Newton County, Indiana on 09 April 1930, living with her husband and children, next-door to her brother- and sister-in-law.

She states her age is 48 (therefore, born about 1882). She also states that she was 30 yrs old at her first marriage (therefore, married about 1912). She states she and her parents were all born in Austria, and she speaks german. She also states she immigrated in 1912 and still has Alien status.

As for the 1920 census, she was still in the same area, Lincoln Township, Newton County, Indiana. It was the 29th of June, 1920 and she was then living with her husband and children as well.
She states her age as 38, which is consistent, but this time she states that her year of immigration was 1906. She again states her parent's birthplace as being Austria, but this time hers is Hungary. However, this time, the census taker felt the need to note "Magyar of" above each notation, so she was a "Magyar of Hungary", her parents were "Magyar of Austria" (her husband was noted that way too). The definition of "Magyar" is basically "Hungarian", so it's a little repetitive to note that someone was a Hungarian of Hungary, but there was a lot of war and changing borders going on in that region in the early part of the 20th century.

As for her maiden name on certificates, on her children's birth certificates it's listed variously as:
--Lizzie Obendorf
--Lizzie Odendorffer
--Elizabeth Oundoffer
--Lizzie Obendorfer

On her husband's death certificate, it's listed as Elizabeth Obendorfer.

She never got a social security number.

I only recently found her exact death date in: "Jasper County, Indiana Funeral Home Records of Rensselaer & Surrounding Area Nov. 1917 to 15 May 1990", 1994, pg 129. The info is:

Domelle, Elizabeth
- b Nov 29 1877 Vienna Austria

- d Apr 14 1958 Dyer IN

- sp Wm

So I don't have a death certificate for her yet. I noticed her birth year was different, which would have made her older than her husband. Did she just give out the same year as his birth year rather than let people know she was older?

As for the Ellis Island records? I haven't been able to narrow her down yet. There's too many variations of Obendorf/er and Lizzie/Lissie/Lissy/Elizabeth/Erzebet/Lizabet.

And so, that's it!

Elizabeth Obendorfer
--born between 1877-1882, maybe Sept. 27 or Nov. 29
--came over through Ellis Island, 1906 and 1912
--born in Austria, parents born in Austria, but of Hungarian heritage
--died April 14, 1958

I have no idea who her parents were, who any siblings were, why she came to America, did she leave behind any children in Europe, after all, she was 30 when she married my great-grandfather and he had an ex-wife and children in Europe, she it's a possiblity.

This is the only picture I have, it's a scan of a photo of a photo, so is not very good.

She's my mysterious Great-Grandmother!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Visit to Tioga County NY Historical Society

A few saturdays ago I hopped in the car and made the about 4 hour drive up to the Tioga County Historical Society in New York.

I was hoping that by going there I'd make some momentous finds that would help with my DAR application. Yes, I am an optimist, it's a disease and as much as I try to shake it, it sneaks up on me all the time. One of my main family lines is "MIX" and I have tons of info on them when they lived in Connecticut. My direct ancestor (Thomas Mix) eventually moved on to Vermont, where one of h is sons (Collins Mix) met his wife (Leafe Ide).

I've pondered much on the name "Leafe". It turns up several other times in my family tree, for the Ides, and then some Mix's, it was a name for girls. In some records it's "Lefie" or "Leaffee". The only thing I can come up with is that it's a surname. It was pretty common at different points in history to name children with the wife's surname as their first name.

Back to my story....So Collins and Leafe moved from Vermont to New York. I believe they paused in Sarasota, NY for a bit, but they settled in Tioga County, which is right down near the border of Pennsylvania in the Finger Lakes Region. Very beautiful country. Lots of Mix's moved over the border into PA and eventually one of them became Tom Mix, the silent movie star. Cousin Tom (4th cousin 3 times removed) is my tenuous link to Deadwood (I miss the HBO series A LOT) because he rode in a parade for Teddy Roosevelt that was led by none other than Seth Bullock. (I told you it was tenuous.)

But as for my New York Mix's? They are a hard to find bunch. They turn up in the federal census's (censi?) and that's pretty much IT! Where are they? What were they doing? Avoiding becoming part of any record? Yep, that's what they were doing! I'm starting to think they were shady! :-D

So I was hoping to find more info at the Tioga County Historical Society. It's a lovely old building right on the river in Owego, next to some big old homes (very genteel). Sadly though, the records are maintained using decades old technology. As in, index cards. Major bummer. The volunteers were EXTREMELY helpful and kind, I don't want to sound like I am knocking the place, but wow, it did show me how spoiled I am with electronic research! So even though I spent 8 hours straight there, I didn't really come up with much on my folks. It was like researching in the old days. I did find lots on an uncle, Miles Curtis Mix, oh sure, tons of records on him, he was all over the place. My guys? Not so much.

One cool thing I did find was on Collins Mix. He had a son, Jonathan Collins Mix. In the 1850 federal census, poor old Collins is living in the Poorhouse in Owego, NY. I couldn't figure out why he was there when his son Jonathan (my ancestor), was one town over in Candor. And his other son Squire (don't ask, but yes, his first name was Squire), was one county over in the town of Caroline. (He had a daughter too, but she's still a bit of a mystery.)

First I found (an index card) that listed something transcribed from the "Tioga County Keeper's Book". It stated:

Mix, Collins
D. 17 Jan. 1852 ae 73 at the Poor House
12 Nov. 1850 admitted ae 72, intemperate
Residence Tioga County

So there I had it, he was intemperate, which I suppose was a gentle term for what could have been many things. He could have been an old alcoholic, he could have had dementia or alzheimer's and was violent; the list goes on.

With that info, I was able to look at the microfilm of the local newspaper, "The Owego Gazette" and found this from the 15 January 1853 edition (it was published weekly):

Mortality at the Poor House
Names of persons who have died at the Poor House during the year ending on the 1st Day of Dec. 1852 (Furnished by Col. Daniel Bacon, Keeper).
Collins Mix, formerly of Candor, Jan 17th, 1852, 73

Unfortunately the microfilm reader was barely working, so no copies could be made from it, so I had to just manually transcribe it. I was glad to find at least this tidbit of info on my direct line, and I have a bunch of other notes on other members of the family (especially Uncle Miles, he's Everywhere!).

One other cool thing that was happening at the Historical Society was they had an exhibition in the museum part of the building on jewelery, clothing, mementos associated with death and mourning. It was a really impressive exhibit for such a little Historical Society! If you are nearby Tioga County NY at all I would recommend checking it out.

So I'll just have to keep digging on my Mix family in New York!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lament for the Movie Credit

Poor Movie Credit. Nobody loves you anymore. You are the first thing to get cut when a movie is shown on tv, or smooshed to the bottom of the screen while the channel runs promos for shows they were busy showing promos for on the bottom of the screen while the movie was actually being played. I learned that these bottom-of-screen promos that play during a show are called "snipes". No, really, do a search on 'tv ad snipes'.

Note to TV channels advertising departments: I actually find the stuff you run on the bottom of the screen during tv shows and movies REALLY ANNOYING. I'm trying to watch a show, and 1/3 of the screen is obliterated by people jumping around or trucks driving or whatever as you try to squeeze ever more self-promotion time out of every minute of every day.

If anything, I think we're all pretty hyper-aware of all the crap happening on tv. You don't need to remind me to watch a show while I'm already watching one of your shows. Some smart channel out there will stop doing all that and advertise the fact that the viewer can watch shows in peace.

And back to the movie credit...

I guess I am the only person out there that enjoys watching these? I kind of like seeing where the movie was filmed, what songs were used, who the minor players were. Am I it? Am I the last one standing who cares about this? And if it was an especially good movie, I enjoy hearing what kinds of song or songs they play over the credits, and some movies even throw in a little extra quick scene at the end, or amusing credits (a la AIRPLANE!).

Last night I went to see Inglourious Basterds. Yes, I liked it. I like Tarantino movies generally. Sometimes I think he goes a little long with his dialog, but hey, that's him, and it's his movie and he always makes up for it by presenting you with some awesome scene following all that dialog. Basterds was long, but I really enjoyed everyone in this movie, I wanted to see more of the characters. The guy who played the main bad guy (actor Christoph Waltz) was AWESOME and he should definitely win oscars or emmys or moviemen or whatever, just some sort of prize. He made the movie. I'd definitely watch it again.

So there I was, I had invested hours into watching this movie, and the credits started. I was enjoying the interesting song Quentin had chosen for the credits and was looking at all the actors (there were a LOT of people in the movie, some briefly), and they turned the lights on!

Sadness. Bummer. Poo.

I would have thought the one place left where I could actually sit and watch movie credits in peace would have been the movie theater where a ticket was PAID for, but no, I guess this is gone now too.

So tell me, am I the only one? Should I get over this? Why do they even bother to create credits anymore then, there should just be a link to a website for the dorks like me that want to find out something about the movie?