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Monday, June 30, 2008

What They've Got There Is a Failure to Communicate

Diane Haddad notes The Importance of Enunciation in Genealogy.

"Prince Edward Island?" my coworker told me her husband answered. "I thought your dad was from Ireland."

Blow-up Bra Blows Up

StoryCorps captured this gem from 94-year-old Betty Jenkins. When she was a young, flat-chested woman, she was given an inflatable bra by her mother. Things went well until she found herself on a plane trip in South America.

It turned out the cabin was not pressurized, and the bra was expanding.

"As the thing got bigger, I tried to stand up," Jenkins said, "and I couldn't see my feet."

The instructions said that the bra's pads could be inflated up to a size 48.

"I thought, 'What would happen if it goes beyond 48?'" Jenkins recalled.

"I found out what happened," she said. "It blew out." [Link, via YesButNoButYes, by way of Neatorama]

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Beware of Nice Blonde Women

A newly-wed husband was recently informed that he is a bigamist.

The revelation came after the unnamed 67-year-old wed his long-term Hawaiian girlfriend and applied to move from Sydney, Australia, back to her birthplace.

American immigration officials scanned his records and contacted the couple to inform them that he was already married.

They produced a marriage certificate showing that he had tied the knot with an American women in Arizona in 1978.

The shame-faced groom confessed he had been on a 28-day drinking binge there while on leave from his job on an oil rig, but insisted he only vaguely remembered "a nice blonde woman". [Link]

A Family Fully Photographed

Jeanne Roehm may need to find a twelve-step program for family-photoholics.

Roehm's father was a photographer and he encouraged her interest in the subject at an early age. He bought Roehm her first camera for Christmas in 1936. But it wasn't until Roehm's aunt sent her a photo of her great-grandfather from 1864 that Roehm decided to begin her collection.

"Seeing that photo kind of got me thinking, 'We're back this far, I should keep building from here,'" she recalled. "I chose to begin collecting in order to make a better connection between my family and (me)."

Since then, Roehm has amassed 73 albums, each containing at least 200 pictures. In all, Roehm has collected and catalogued more than 14,000 photos of various family members through history. [Link]

Drugs Are Not on the Menu

Jonathan Justus and his wife opened Justus Drugstore: A Restaurant last year "on land that's been in his family since 1842."

The high-end restaurant, whose name is a play on drugstores his grandfather and mother operated across the street, has since drawn rave reviews and is scheduled to be featured in Bon Appetit and Food & Wine magazines this summer.
But the state of Missouri says they can't have "drugstore" in the name unless there's a licensed pharmacist on the premises.
The state inspector who showed up just before Memorial Day apparently wasn't mollified that "restaurant" was part of the name and is prominently featured on the restaurant's signs.

"I told her that the intent of the law is clear," Justus said, recalling his conversation with the inspector. "She jumped all over me and said that someone could come to us thinking they were getting medical advice from a professional." [Link]
Here's a tip: if the pharmacist offers you a wine list, don't ask him for medical advice.

Bittys, Bettys and Betsys

About 400 women participated in The Gathering of Elizabeths this weekend. I gather my niece, whose name is spelled "Elisabeth," would not have been welcome.

The northern Illinois community of Elizabeth tried Saturday to set a world record for the largest Gathering of Elizabeths. Women with Elizabeth in any part of their name were allowed in; one participant has Elizabeth as a last name.

The event drew women from more than 20 U.S. states. Those participating had to show a copy of a birth certificate or driver's license.

"We did invite Queen Elizabeth II, but she politely declined," said Susan Gordy, who helped organize the event. [Link]
[Thanks, Nancy!]

A Blog Finder Reminder

The geneablogosphere is drawing attention and gaining respect. Heck, they just had a "Blogger Summit" at the SCGS Jamboree (liveblogged here; see also Craig and Randy's reports). I would have attended, but the gas to drive there would have cost more than my car.

What better time to remind you all of the Genealogy Blog Finder? I've spent the last few days (and nights) working on a new "Preview a Post" feature: Clicking on a blog's thumbnail image will now give you a snippet of the most recent post cached. This should make it easier for you to decide that a blog doesn't interest you in the least.

I've also added new entries and removed some defunct blogs (I don't remove inactive blogs from the directory, but I do remove deleted blogs), bringing the number of blogs indexed to 964. Here are some statistics (as of 10 minutes ago):

  • 107 blogs (11%) were updated in the last two days
  • 243 blogs (25%) were updated in the last week
  • 444 blogs (46%) were updated in the last month
  • 678 blogs (70%) were updated in the last six months
  • 773 blogs (80%) were updated in the last year
  • 574 blogs (60%) are published on the (free) "blogspot.com" domain
  • 82 blogs (1%) are published on the (free) "wordpress.com" domain
  • 65% of blogs abandoned before 2007 were published on the "blogspot.com" domain
  • 2% of blogs abandoned before 2007 were published on the "wordpress.com" domain
  • 3% of blogs either don't syndicate their content or have an unusable feed
  • 347 blogs (36%) have the word "Genealogy" in the title
  • 2 blogs have the word "Genealogue" in the title
I created the Blog Finder back in October 2006 because I didn't have room at The Genealogue to link to all the worthy blogs I stumbled upon. Twenty months and 250,000 page views later, I would call it a success. I hope that it's driven a little traffic to some little-known blogs, and encouraged some little-known bloggers to keep writing.

And now, a behind-the-scenes look at my life as a Blog Finder administrator:

I generally get a handful of submissions each week, and find a few new blogs on my own. I usually wait until I have enough new entries to fill the What's New page before updating the database.

I visit each blog to make sure that it's sufficiently genealogical and sufficiently bloggy to include. A large percentage of the submitted sites check out. The "sufficiently genealogical" criterion sometimes requires a judgment call. I've rejected some "family" blogs where the family seems to go back just one generation. I've also rejected blogs where the non-genealogical posts far outnumber the genealogical. I assign each blog to at least one, and sometimes two or three categories. The Personal Research category is by far the largest, with 443 entries, followed by Tips, Resources & Reviews (183) and Locality Specific (169).

Once a blog's vital info (title, description, URL, etc.) is entered into the database and a screenshot is thumbnailed and uploaded, automated processes take over. The first time the blog's entry is viewed on the site, the server reaches out and grabs its feed. It then parses the feed, extracting the name of the most recent post, the time and date it was posted, and the first few hundred characters of the content. This can be tricky because of the different feed formats that blogs use. The parsing script also has to anticipate anything that might cause an error—for instance, an empty title field.

The extracted data is added to the database, along with a cache date. The server will recheck the feed for an update as often as four times a day (for very active blogs), or as seldom as every couple of days (for inactive blogs). If a recently updated blog doesn't show up on the Recently Updated page, it probably isn't due to be checked for a few hours.

Taneya sent me a suggestion last month:
It would be cool if blogs could have locations associated with them where relevant (for example, my nashville black history blog - or, if people are focusing on family from specific cities) and then be able to see blogs on a Google map. That would make it really easy to browse geographically.
That would be cool. But first, I need to get some sleep.

If you'd like me to update your blog's entry with a new thumbnail, description, etc., just email me the request or fill out the Suggest a Blog form.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ribbing Beats a Beating

Charles Darwin of South Carolina says he's related to the scientist with whom he shares his name.

He has Darwin's books "On the Origin of Species" and "The Voyage of the Beagle," and just passed a copy of "Origins" on to his grandson; his son, Tim, honeymooned in the Galapagos Islands, perhaps the most important stop on any tour of Darwin's theories.

But Darwin admits the ribbing he gets from his friends about his name is nothing compared with the hellfire and brimstone hurled at his distant relation.

"Poor old Charles, he's the one who really took a beating," Darwin said. [Link]

Is Obama Too Antarctic to Be President?

The publisher of Israel Insider believes that Barack Obama's birth certificate is a forgery.

It has become even more suspect with the revelation that variations of the certificate image were posted on the Photobucket image aggregation website -- including one listing the location of Obama's birth as Antarctica, one with the certificate supposedly issued by the government of North Korea, and another including a purported photo of baby Barack -- one of which has a "photo taken" time-stamp just two minutes before the article and accompanying image was posted on the left-wing Daily Kos blog. [Link]
This guy gives crackpot conspiracy theorists a bad name. The Daily Kos post is dated "Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 08:44:37 AM PDT," but the first comment on the post was left at "08:10:34 AM PDT"—some 32 minutes before the image was posted to Photobucket. Our friend in Israel neglected to notice that Kos "bumped" the post to the top of the main page by changing the time.

That said, I haven't yet heard Obama deny that he was born at the South Pole. Is he embarrassed of his Antarctic heritage?

Your Feller Got a Name?

Maureen Taylor offers a lesson on how not to label your photographs.

While it was a great idea to name each person for posterity, she placed a number over each of their heads in India ink. Here are the identifications:

"no. 1 Is my feller
   " 2 Nans feller
   " 3 Papa
   " 4 Nan
   " 5 me
   " 6 Mamma
   " 7 Mrs. Ashcroft (a neighbor)
   " 8 Miss Smith (the school teacher)
   " 9 is Miss Smiths feller
   " 10 Lucile
   " 11 Pleasant
   " 12 Mabel"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sticky Fingers in the Family

While spending their 60th anniversary at Denver's Brown Palace, a couple returned the silver teapot they'd "borrowed" from the hotel while on their honeymoon.

"They gave me a note saying 'thanks for the use of it all these years,' " said Julia Kanellos, who as the Brown Palace's historian is the point person for such transactions. China and silverware, she receives in quantity.

"A woman passed away and her children were going through her things," recalled Ms. Kanellos. "One daughter said 'oh, look, the medicine spoon!' " -- a reference to the family's dedicated delivery vessel for analgesics and antibiotics. "Another one of them turned it over and said, 'Oh, guys, it's from the Brown Palace.' And they sent it back with the story about the medicine spoon." [Link]

Sunday, June 22, 2008

No Guarantee You're Not Descended From a Hooker

Sue Hills, a director of the celebrity genealogy program Who Do You Think You Are?, has set up a company called Ancestral Footsteps to give non-celebrities the same treatment (sans cameras).

She will create a seven-day bespoke tour of your heritage, complete with the car, country house hotels and fine food. And, of course, the several months of painstaking research which precedes it.

One of the things that she cannot guarantee is that your ancestors will be a good, upstanding citizen.

Indeed, she even asks you to sign a piece of paper promising not to get too upset if it turns out that your great-great-grandmother was a hooker. [Link]

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Lot of Dope in Fairhope

A safe at the Fairhope (Alabama) Museum of History was opened on Thursday for the first time in almost forty years.

So, just what did Fairhope residents think was in the big black box? Some of the people waiting to see what was inside made their guesses, “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” “My guess would be city clerk’s documents,” “I said nothing.”

It turned out there wasn't food, overdue paperwork or an empty safe, but it's safe to say the contents were shocking. Inside the safe was marijuana, and lots of it.

Museum officials found the drug falling out of bags, boxes and envelopes. “We like to draw some history; we like to find out some things we didn’t know. I’m a little disappointed we didn’t find a lot of history – we found a lot of dope,” said Barrett. [Link]

Inaccessible Heirlooms

A time capsule buried in the foundation of an Australian city hall in 1907 was supposed to have been dug up and opened last year. But the city council has refused to excavate to find it, to the disappointment of Margaret Horne.

Her grandfather John Norman, a former mayor of Maryborough, put mementos in it for his descendants to discover.

"I'm so disappointed and heartbroken the capsule still hasn't been dug up," Mrs Horne said.

"All through my childhood and even on his deathbed my father kept reminding me to be there in 2007 when the time capsule was opened. None of us know what's in it." [Link]
I think I know what's in it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's a Parody, Your Honor

Having learned that The Generations Network is suing Millennia for trademark infringement, I've decided to scrap my plans to rebrand my blog. You just can't be too careful in this litigious society.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Babies by Mail

Via kottke:

This city letter carrier posed for a humorous photograph with a young boy in his mailbag. After parcel post service was introduced in 1913, at least two children were sent by the service. With stamps attached to their clothing, the children rode with railway and city carriers to their destination. The Postmaster General quickly issued a regulation forbidding the sending of children in the mail after hearing of those examples. [Link]
From the New York Times of Jan. 17, 1913:
The mailing of babies by parcel post is a real infant industry which Postmaster General Hitchcock is asked to foster.

In the circumstances of his bachelorhood Mr. Hitchcock is considering seriously the calling into consultation of experts in the transportation of babies, as a letter to him which he received to-day presents to him a mail problem with which he is quite unfamiliar. To add to his embarrassment the letter contains a note of genuine pathos, which appeals strongly to the Postmaster General. This is the letter, identically as it was phrased and punctuated:
Fort McPherson, Ga.

Postmaster General,

Washington D. C.—Sir: I have been corresponding with a party in Pa about getting a baby to rais (our home being without One.) May I ask you what specifications to use in wrapping so it (baby) would comply with regulations and be allowed shipment by parcel post as the express co are to rough in handling Yours
The name signed to the letter is withheld at the request of Mr. Hitchcock.

As babies, in the opinion of the Postmaster General, do not fall within the category of bees and bugs—the only live things that may be transported by mail—he is apprehensive that he may not be of assistance to his correspondent. [Link]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Girls Allowed

The Isles of Shoals is an archipelago off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire. Janice writes of an incident where John Reynolds brought "a great stock of goats and swine" and—even worse—a woman to the remote spot in 1647.

No Hard Feelings, Right?

Seven centuries after getting kicked out, Dante Alighieri is being invited back to Florence.

The council approved a motion that called for the city's mayor to organize "a public rehabilitation" for Dante, who was sentenced in 1302 to exile from Florence under threat of death, ANSA reported Tuesday.

The motion, which passed by a 19-5 vote, calls for the mayor to head a public ceremony where the sentence would be revoked and the poet would be given the city's highest honor. The award would be accepted by one of Dante's descendants, the motion said. [Link]
For what it's worth, Dante himself seems quite content to stay where he is.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

They Should Have Stayed in Niagara Falls

On May 1, 1915, Lucy and Harold Taylor embarked on their honeymoon cruise aboard the R.M.S. Lusitania. After the ship was torpedoed, Lucy found her way into a lifeboat, but Harold did not.

On the afternoon of the second day after the sinking, still walking around in a daze, Lucy stopped short in the lobby of a Queenstown hotel when a sailor rushed up to her. Only it wasn’t a sailor, but Harold in seaman’s garb. “I think I was,” said Lucy, “the happiest person alive.”

Harold explained how he had been sucked into a vortex as the ship sank and found himself floating miraculously in open water, without a lifebelt, surrounded by the dead and dying. By clinging to pieces of the wreckage, Harold stayed afloat until a small boat trolling for survivors came by. The euphoric couple fired off a new wire to their loved ones at home: “Both saved.”

Their saga had not ended: Once on British soil, Harold, who had immigrated to the United States with his family as an adolescent, was immediately conscripted into the British Army. He fought throughout World War I while Lucy stayed in England, determined to stay as close to Harold as possible. When the Taylors finally returned home to Niagara Falls, in 1922—seven years after the sinking—they settled, raised four children, and lived a quiet life. [Link]

Elyse Explains It All

At the tender age of 19, veteran genealogist Elyse Doerflinger is posting how-to videos to YouTube. Unlike most of the YouTube videos I watch, hers don't require that I confirm my birth date.

In this clip, she advises us to back up our files:

Monday, June 16, 2008

When Pets Get Political

Lori, the Smoky Mountain Family Historian, has a great opening for her pet story:

My first cat was E.R.M. I was quite small and my older brothers were teaching me to spell at the time I named him. The story goes that I was asked by my paternal grandfather how to spell cat, and I proudly declared "E.R.M."
The best story I can think of concerns two kittens owned by my great-grandfather back in 1940. He named one "Franklin Delano Roosevelt," and the other "Wendell Willkie." Wendell drowned in a bowl of milk, thus predicting the outcome of the election.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Their Last Name Means Business

People with the West African surname "Mba" are often mistaken for business school graduates.

Ibrahim Mba, a college student in Dallas, says he, too, gets the raised-eyebrow treatment when filling out job applications at, say, Jack In The Box, the burger joint where he once worked the night shift. "They're flabbergasted," he says. "They ask, 'You have an M.B.A., and you'd work here?'"
Then again, some Mbas are business school graduates.
[L]ast month, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School here conferred a Master of Business Administration degree to Ifeoma "Iffy" Mba, a Nigerian economist who worked in corporate finance before coming to Philadelphia from Lagos, Nigeria's financial hub.
The 28-year-old isn't the only Mba with an M.B.A.: Lawrence Mba, a financial consultant in Canada, already had his when he emigrated from Nigeria. And then there was Robinson O. Mba, who earned one from Columbia University back in the 1970s, the school's records show. [Link]

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Louis Buys the Farm

Via mental_floss:

Louis J. Casimir Jr. bought the farm Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004, having lived more than twice as long as he had expected and probably three or four times as long as he deserved.

Although he was born into an impecunious family, in a backward and benighted part of the country at the beginning of the Great Depression, he never in his life suffered any real hardships.

Many of his childhood friends who weren’t killed or maimed in various wars became petty criminals, prostitutes, and/or Republicans.
Lou was a daredevil: his last words were “Watch this!” [Link]

Friday, June 13, 2008

Of Slaves and Slavs

Etymologically speaking, slaves and Slavs have something in common. Genealogically speaking, not so much.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Where Everybody Knows Your Name and Haplogroup

Visitors to Ireland's oldest pub and New York's first Irish tavern on Father's Day can have their cheeks swabbed while wetting their whistles.

On Sunday, patrons in Sean’s Bar in Athlone, Co Westmeath, and McSorley’s in Manhattan, can give a simple cheek swab which will be sent to the ancestral DNA-testing company Oxford Ancestors at the University of Oxford.

Tests will reveal [whether] the men carry the unique Y-line signature believed to be that of wild king Niall who founded the Uí Néill (O’Neil, from O’Niall) dynasty which ruled Ireland from the 7th to the 9th century.

Timmy Donovan of Sean’s Bar, which has been documented back to the year 900, said he plans to take the test.

“It is a busy pub right next to the River Shannon. We have a huge amount of tourists coming through so it is possible we will get a lot of them to do the test too,” he said. [Link]
Those men found to carry the Y chromosome of Niall of the Nine Hostages will get complimentary drinks.

Don't Bother Asking Him to Check Your Oil

The last time I said this guy's surname it cost me $60.

Meet Fran Fillerup, the city's planning consultant to — yes — the oil and gas industry, among other job duties. Named after a long line of Francis Fillerups who all went by the shorter first name of Fran, Fillerup and his brother, Anders, share a sense of humor about their last name.

Enough of a sense of humor that they collect miniature gas pumps and have gas pump-themed ties.
The Fillerups are of Danish descent. A great-great-grandfather, not named Francis, moved to America during the 1880s. Perhaps nostalgic for his homeland, he decided to adopt the name of his home town — you guessed it, Fillerup — as his last name. [Link]
[Photo credit: Pumping Gas by FutureAtlas.com]

The Boring Details of Barack's Birth

Daily Kos has published Barack Obama's birth certificate, nipping in the bud claims that "Obama was born in Kenya, that his middle name isn't 'Hussein', but 'Muhammad', and that his real name is 'Barry' and not 'Barack.'"

Now when is John McCain going to prove that his middle name isn't "Adolf" and that he wasn't born in Berchtesgaden?

Ancestors, Ancestors, Read All About 'em!

Ancestry.com today is doubling the size of its Historical Newspaper Collection, adding (so they tell me) a billion names and over 20 million images. And they're offering free access from June 12 to June 19. Sounds to me like a great, cheap Father's Day gift.

Genealogue Challenge #130

My favorite kid lit illustrator Maurice Sendak celebrated his 80th birthday this week.

When did his parents marry?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

An Interlocking Block Moniker

A couple in Sweden will be allowed to name their son "Lego."

Couples have previously run into trouble with the names Ikea, Veranda, Metallica and the use of Elvis for a girl.

The Swedish Administrative Court of Appeals overruled an earlier decision to stop them naming their child after the brightly coloured plastic building blocks. [Link]

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Will the Linkage Be Unbroken?

Shoebox Genealogy today addresses one of the questions I have about NFS:

In our discussion with Gordon Clarke, we asked him what was to become of the old familysearch.org page. He matter of factly told us “It’ll be shut down, there will be no use for it because all of the information will be in the New Family Search.”
I hope they remember that FamilySearch is part of something larger than itself—a world wide web, to coin a phrase. More than a million pages from old FamilySearch are indexed by Google. Almost 500,000 of these are individual IGI and census records; another 129,000 are pages from the Family History Library Catalog. Many of these are linked to by some website or another. Unless FamilySearch figures out how to redirect visitors to relevant NFS resources, there'll be a whole lot of broken links and unhappy webmasters out there.

Genealogue Challenge #129

Sportscaster Jim McKay died on Saturday.

What was his paternal grandfather's name, and when did he die?

What, No Zuzu?

The "Z-Cox" family had a reunion Sunday in North Carolina.

Ameriah Biggs Cox Jr. and Jutry Hart married in 1870.

Together, they had 11 children and each had a first name beginning with Z.

The girls were Zylphia, Zula, Zadie and Zenobia. The boys went by Zadok, Zeber, Zeronald, Zesely, Zeola, Zora, and Zelbert.

"Some of the names are biblical," said Z. Bryan Haislip of Tarboro, a caretaker of his family's history. "Some are...sort of made up." [Link]
Note that, though just nine months old, Zeronald smartly went by the name "George" in 1900.

Careful analysis of census data (and of this 1910 photograph of the family) suggests that the couple probably did not marry in 1870, which was Jutry's year of birth, but in 1886.

Gone in 120 Seconds

Donald Trump visited his mother's birthplace in Scotland on Monday, but didn't stay long enough to stick his fingers in anybody's drawers.

Mr Trump spent less than five minutes of his two-hour whistlestop tour of Lewis at 5 Tong, the four-bedroom Edwardian crofthouse of his MacLeod ancestors. Inside for just 120 seconds, he chatted to first cousins Willie and Alasdair Murray, who now live in the home, and declared it in "fine shape".

"It's hard to believe it's well over 100 years old," the construction magnate said later. "It was built by my grandfather. I was very impressed by the condition of the house and the solidity of the house."
The last time Mr Trump was at Tong - aged "three-four", he got his fingers stuck while exploring drawers. [Link]
[Photo credit: Donald Trump by Cristina Stefan]

Friday, June 06, 2008

Pre- or Post-Mortem?

Had this women, featured Wednesday at Shades of the Departed, already departed? Maureen isn't sure:

She's relaxed but lacks some of the characteristics of a postmortem photo. Would her family really have dragged the body to a professional studio (note the backdrop and chair) for a lasting memorial?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Fellow Who Fell on the El

Martina Sheehan spent a recent Saturday morning delving into The Newberry Library's genealogy collections.

In the 1920 census, I see that as a teenager my grandma worked for the City Railroad, now the CTA, and lived with her family, including an aunt and two cousins. I ask my father about the Kilbey cousins, which elicits a gruesome memory: He remembers looking out at El tracks that ran past the elderly sisters’ home and seeing a man fall onto the overhead rail line, catch fire and shower the street below with sparks. Not exactly what I was looking for, but interesting nonetheless. [Link]
She also learned that her great-grandmother aged only two years between 1910 and 1920.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Genealogue Challenge #128

Mel Ferrer died on Monday. He was an actor and director, but to my mind his greatest accomplishment in life was marrying Audrey Hepburn.

What was his mother's complete maiden name (four names in all)?

Extra Credit: What theater company is now located at the exact address where Mel's maternal grandfather was born?

Monday, June 02, 2008

News Flash: Dick Cheney Apologizes for Something

Dick Cheney's joke about West Virginians marrying their close kin got fewer laughs than he expected.

Talking about his family roots and how he's distantly related to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the vice president noted that he had Cheneys on both sides of his family.

"And we don't even live in West Virginia," Cheney quipped.

"You can say those things when you're not running for re-election."
"The vice president's offhand comment was not meant to hurt anyone," Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride said later Monday. "On reflection, he concluded that it was an inappropriate attempt at humor that he should not have made. The vice president apologizes to the people of West Virginia for the inappropriate remark." [Link]
I'm really disappointed in you, Dick. The people of West Virginia should be apologizing to you.

No Preservatives Added

The designer of the Pringles can has been buried. In a Pringles can.

Dr. Fredric J. Baur was so proud of having designed the container for Pringles potato crisps that he asked his family to bury him in one.

His children honored his request. Part of his remains was buried in a Pringles can - along with a regular urn containing the rest - in his grave at Arlington Memorial Gardens in Springfield Township. [Link]
[Thanks, Nancy!]

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Road Runs Round It

Nancy Kerlin Barnett is buried in the middle of County Road 400S in Johnson County, Indiana. Her neighbors moved out long ago.

Over time a foot path developed through this small cemetery and later a county road was planned through it. Other graves probably were moved, but one of Nancy’s sons objected to moving her grave. Since it originally wasn’t a problem, her grave was left behind.

The trouble developed still later when the county wanted to widen the road. Now the grave would have to be moved.

So the story goes, her grandson, Daniel Doty, went to the gravesite with his shotgun and, in essence said, “over my dead body.” How long he remained there and what was said by whom to whom isn’t definitely known.

The upshot, however, was that the county agreed not to move the grave. [Link]

He Forgot His Fiancée

Laura Marasco's grandfather almost missed receiving a very important delivery.

Giuseppina Caligaro, the story goes, sat on a wooden bench in the halls of Ellis Island waiting for someone to claim her. It was April of 1913 and she had traveled to the United States to marry a man she had never met. In one more day, if he didn't show up, Giuseppina would be shipped back to Lozzo di Cadore, her home in northern Italy. She already had given this man's marriage proposal a year's consideration before agreeing to come to New York. So, she waited.

"He totally spaced out about when her ship was due to dock," says Giuseppina's granddaughter, Laura Marasco, about her grandfather's tardiness. "He was in Connecticut helping with a flood and lost track of time."
"For the next 63 years, my grandmother always used to tell him in Italian, 'I should've taken the boat back,'" Laura Marasco says with a laugh. "She held that over his head her whole life." [Link]

Man Doesn't Want His Name Eaten

A man is suing his ex-wife for changing their son's name in a disrespectful way.

The boy's Chinese name consisted of his mother's surname first and his father's surname last.

And the middle name was Eat.

His mother had changed the boy's original name, which had his father's surname in the customary place, in June 2005, after she was separated from her husband.
In his statement to the court, the father said the first name change had traumatised him.

'The literal meaning in English is very apparent and suggestive - the (mother's) surname eats the father's surname,' he said. [Link]

It Took Discipline and Daily Margaritas

After 28 years of research, Edward Michael Gurrola has finally published his 602 page, five pound family history.

“A lot of people are interested in going back with their families but when they hit a stumbling block, they give up,” he says. “I did not give up, that’s the difference. It took discipline. Besides having my family, I would consider this my biggest accomplishment.”

But the notion of being an author was something Gurrola had never considered. He summed up his own status as a genealogical expert: “My name is Ed Gurrola, and I like my margaritas at 4 in the afternoon. My name is Ed, no pretension.” [Link]

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