Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Finding Mary Ellen Cook

My 2nd great-grandmother on my Mom's side is one of my brick walls. When I first started doing genealogy, my grandmother told me that her Dad's parents were John MIX and Mary Ellen COOK.

So all these years, I had this Mary Ellen COOK, but it was only from that verbal conversation with my grandmother. The name "Mary Cook" occurred much to frequently in the census records for me to be able to narrow down who her family might be.

Eventually, I got a hold of the death certificate of my great-grandfather, William Homer MIX. In the mother field, the name surprisingly read: Mary WEAVER.

The informant was my grand-uncle Floyd MIX, who was William's eldest child. Hmm! I would have thought that William's eldest would know who his own grandparents were, right? But then again, my grandmother (and her mom) were always pretty much always right when it came to the names they remembered and wrote down.

So I started searching through the census records, trying to find a Mary WEAVER who fit my profile and guess what I found? Yep, here is a Mary WEAVER who in 1850 just so happens to be living with a family named COOK in Dryden, Tompkins County, NY! OMG!

That means that my grand-Uncle and my grandmother could both be right! Unfortunately, she is 9 years old, so I couldn't try to narrow down her family in the 1840 census.

My next confirmation of her name came from the Civil War Pension file for her husband, John Mix. She signed her name several times as "Mary E.". Also, in most of the census records where she was Mary MIX, she provided her name as "Mary E.". And finally, her tombstone lists "Mary E." as well. So it is likely that the "Ellen" my grandmother gave me is correct, but it's not proved 100% yet.

And last, but definitely not least, in my visit to the Broome County Historical Society in New York recently, in their Name Index (a.k.a. the Woodward File), I came across this transcription from the newspaper Union Center News:

Mrs. Mix
her father, Mr. Weaver of Wisc. age 83

came to visit - no one met train - he wandered

around for 36 hrs - fell into culvert. He

had lived Wisc - 40 yrs!

The line breaks and punctuation is from the transcription. No date was listed on the card for the newspaper article, but the transcriber wrote: "prob '87 - '88". The original clipping was noted as being in the Woodward Scrapbook which resides in the town of Maine in Broome County, so I didn't get to see the original for myself.

So! This means her father had been in Wisconsin for decades - that would certainly explain why the 9 year old Mary was living with the COOK family in 1850.

Looks like I found the real name of my 2nd great-grandmother: Mary E. WEAVER. Her family is still a mystery, but I'm one small step closer!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How to Make Brandied Hard Sauce (at Leah's House)

So I'm making homemade gingerbread friday and I want to have a Brandied Hard Sauce for it. It's super easy and delicious.

Step 1:

Gather the ingredients (unsalted butter, confectioner's sugar and brandy).

Step 2:

Stare at the bottle of cheap brandy that's been in the liquor cabinet for years. Ponder the bottle of good cognac across the room that will be used in the eggnog. Go on the internet and search on "brandy vs. cognac". Discover that cognac is just a TYPE of brandy. Feel annoyed that this is new information. Post on facebook the new information in case there are others out there that also never got filled in on this tidbit.

Step 3:

Gather the ingredients (unsalted butter, confectioner's sugar and cognac).

Step 4:

Mush up the stick of unsalted butter in the mixer. Mush up a cup of the confectioner's sugar into the already mushed butter. Feel concern that the consistency is not creamy, but more like buttery white dust. Breathe in a lot of airborne sugar. Pull another stick of butter out of the fridge and stare at the wording on the package about 8 Tablespoons of butter = 1/2 cup. Second guess the amount of butter numerous times. Continue mushing and then feel a lot better about it. Put 2nd stick of butter back into the fridge.

Step 5:

Add a tablespoon of cognac into the mix. With abandon, add another in honor of Christmas.

Step 6:

Continue mushing and feel intense relief that the consistency is now like cream cheese, just like the recipe said!

Step 7:

Scrape the hard sauce into a container. Notice that it really looks a lot like mashed potatoes. I mean, a lot.

Step 8:

Cover and place in fridge.

Step 9:

Reward oneself with a glass of the re-discovered from the back of the liquor cabinet Benedictine.

Step 10:

Feel accomplished!

Oh, and if you want to know what recipe I actually used, it's here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Books Are Your Friends

"Books are your friends."

My father would repeat this to my sister and me when we were little. Trips to the library on the weekend were such a treat, it was like buying as many books as you wanted!! And once you read them, you just take them back and get more. Children don't get to make many of their own choices, but at the library, I got to browse and browse til my heart was content, mulling the benefits of one book over another, finally deciding on both.

I would take books with me to school, reading on the bus, reading in study hall, reading reading reading, all the time. Books were an escape.

My one regret was falling into the trap of romance novels for a time, but still, it was all fine in the end because I ended up discovering historical romances. That's where I first started picking up an interest in history. It all started with those Regency romances - they took place usually in England during the early 1800s when Napoleon was still in power in France and the Prince Regent (hence, Regency) ran the social set in England. I learned about cravats, Beau Brummel and how scandalous the waltz was when it was first introduced.

Eventually I moved on to the hard stuff - Kathleen Woodiwiss. For those of you blissfully unfamiliar with the seething world of romance novels, she was the queen, no, the Empress of historical romance novels - hundreds and hundreds of pages and super detail about whatever period of history it was. I read and re-read her novels dozens of times. I can't stomach the stuff now ("Her long coppery hair fell in wild disarray about her shoulders and heaving bosom..." - LOLOL, can you believe it?) - but I'm grateful for her books - she gave me a super-awesome vocabulary and sent me on my way towards non-fiction.

Sometime after college, I started spending all my time on non-fiction. I had a few years with Napoleon Bonaparte, then moved on to more of a focus on medieval and English history. It really kicked in when it occurred to me how it's a perfect fit with genealogy - when you know the current events for a period of time and a place, you understand your people better. Duh!!

And so I began a years long collection process - any time I'm in a used bookstore I look for old out-of-print titles for the time periods and places I'm interested in.

Meanwhile of course, the internet happened and man oh man did it get easier to search, especially in all those genealogy books published around the turn of the 20th century. When I was first getting into using the computer I bought a couple books on CD - I believe one of them was a history of New Haven, Connecticut.

That's when it happened. I had those CDs for a couple years, spent a lot of time printing out different pages that were relevant to me, then put them away. When I went back to them a few years later, lo and behold, I couldn't open the files. The format had become obsolete (this was prior to PDF being as ubiquitous as it has now).

And Lo, my great distrust of electronic archival formats was born. It's not to say I don't use electronic files - I totally admit, I am an internet fiend, I love using the internet to search for information (on pretty much any topic), and I Love Love Love having access to so many different libraries and collections and out-of-copyright books. And whenever I am able, I save my own copy of information to my hard drive and eventually back it up to a cd or dvd.

But do I fully trust that it will be there when I go back? Nope. I expect, pretty much every day, that it could all go away. Is all this online stuff really there or are we just imagining it? When I step away from my monitor, are you all still out there? I'm not sure. Maybe you are all in my snowglobe (let's see who gets that reference, don't cheat, the answer is here).

You know what is still there when I leave the room? My books.

A dear dear friend recently called me up and was raving about her new eBook reader. She is an avid consumer of popular fiction and loved the fact that she didn't have all these books cluttering up the place now that before she would just have to figure out a way to get rid of or donate. She was telling me how much I would love it and I should get one.

I couldn't think of a more terrible fate! :-D

To trust that all my information exists electronically? No way!!! It's great as a working copy, but my real archive is still paper. And don't even get me started on the whole who really owns your ebooks - at least with a real book I know I am the owner and no one can take it away from me. It is the one area in my life where I won't allow technology to change me. I absolutely prefer IM over phone calls, over written invitations, and wikipedia over my parent's volumes of Encyclopedia Brittanica -- but you will never get me to exchange a book for a .pdf file.

Besides, you can't tell a cool story about how you found a .pdf file in a tiny used bookstore in the Trossachs in Scotland where a large cat serenely reigned. And you can't say that inside the front cover of that .pdf, a former owners name was Bothwell (could be related to the famous one???) and then you hand-carried the .pdf home in your carry-on luggage to make sure nothing happened to it? Nope, you can't say that about a .pdf. But you can say it about my copy of John Evelyn's diary here in this picture. :-)

Books are your friends.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Obituary of Elmer Quick (abt. 1853 - 1926)

More obituaries from my grandmother's collection. I believe that some of them she inherited from her mother, it's likely this is one of them.

Elmer QUICK is the brother of the 2nd husband of my great-great-grandmother. Got that? :-)

My great-great-grandmother, Hattie KIRBY, married a widower with several children. He died after only a few years of marriage, and after that, with two young children of her own now, Hattie married the widower Joseph QUICK (who also had children of his own).

According to family legend, Joseph was a good man who dealt with some difficult circumstances. As my grandmother would tell the story, one day, when Joseph was a child, work was being done to butcher several pigs, I guess there were several families together at one spot doing the work. At one point the adults had stepped away, I don't know whether it was to eat a meal or what, but several children ganged up on the young Joseph, they slit him from his neck down to his abdomen and were about to dump him into the large container of boiling water used to scald the pigs so the hair could be easily scraped off the skin. Before he was dumped in the water, some of the adults found what was happening and stopped it. My grandmother would point to me the couple pictures she had of him, and in those pictures he always had a very long beard; she would tell me that he always wore the long beard to cover up his scar.

Joe QUICK died before my grandmother was born (he died in 1913), so that means this was a story she only heard from her mom and grandmother.

This obituary, as I stated before, is for Elmer, who was Joe's brother. So it may have been my great-grandmother, or even my great-great grandmother who saved the obituary.

Not all identifying information was trimmed off of this obituary, I have the date of the newspaper, but unfortunately, the name of the newspaper is unclear. It could be the Ithaca Daily News, but I have not confirmed that.

Also, there are other local tidbits of information that was not trimmed away, so that also makes me think that it was someone else, maybe my great-great grandmother, who saved this obituary.

Obituary Text:

Hold Funeral Today For Elmer Quick, 73

Caroline Center, June 15. - Elmer Quick, 73, died in Ithaca last Saturday. He is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Estabrook of Van Etten, Miss Mildred Quick of Willard and Mrs. Florence Goldman of Michigan; three half-brothers, Jefferson Lynch of Brooktondale, Andy Lynch and George Lynch of Caroline Center.

The funeral was held at the home of Mrs. Estabrook of Van Etten today. Mr. Quick had been in ill health for several months.

Mr. and Mrs. George Richards and Miss Ella Richards attended the Mount-Gee wedding at the home of her brother, Ralph Mount, of Trumansburg, last Wednesday.

Miss Bernice Munch closed her school last Friday with a picnic on the church lawn.

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lynch and daughters Henrietta and Mary spent Sunday at the home of their aunt, Mrs. Charles Davis, of Lisle.

Richard L. Snow has not missed or been tardy a day of school for the past two years.

Florence Yaple is expecting to teach this school next year.

Maurice Lynch has rented Edgar Baker's farm.

Cecile Benton has measles.

Arliss Olney is visiting her aunt, Mrs. Lindsey, of Brooktondale.

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur L. Richards and children of Candor were Sunday guests of Mr. and Mrs. George Richards.

Edgar Lasby and Richard L. Snow are trying regents at Brooktondale this week.

Obituary of Marc DeMarc (1889 - 1971)

I'm still working on posting the obituary collection that was in my grandmother's possession.

This obituary is for Marc DEMARC who was my great-uncle, married to my great-aunt Daisy MIX. He married my great-aunt relatively late in his life, he was 53 and she was 29. They had 3 sons together.

Below are two obituaries my grandmother had. All identifying information about the newspaper has been trimmed off.

Obituary Text:

Marc deMarc
FREEVILLE - Marc deMarc, 82, of Country Manor Estates, R.D. 1, Freeville, died Monday, June 14, 1971, in Tompkins County Hospital.
He was a member of the Jehovah's Witness.
He is survived by his wife, Daisy Mix deMarc; three sons, Joel Timothy deMarc, and Daniel John deMarc both of Ithaca, and Adriel Lauren deMarc, at home; and four grandchildren.
Funeral services will be announced by Wagner Funeral Home.

Marc deMarc
FREEVILLE - Funeral services for Marc De Marc of Freeville, who died Monday, June 14, 1971, will be conducted at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Wagner Funeral Home. The Rev. LaVearne J. Ebel of Jehovah's Witnesses Church will officiate. Burial will be in Resurrection Park, Kingdom Farm, South Lansing. Calling hours are 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday.