Saturday, October 31, 2009

Q: Was He a Member? A: Never My Love

An obituary appeared in the New York Times last spring for Richard Blue.

BLUE--Richard, September 18, 1946 - May 16, 2009. Beloved husband to Amanda and wonderful father to Kathleen, Rich was a remarkable human being, loved by all. A great contributor to the music world, Rich had early success as a member of the Association (as Ted Bluechel Jr.) and progressed to write many great songs. [Link]
This came as a great surprise to Ted Bluechel, Jr., formerly of The Association.
Earlier this week, it was reported that [Ted Bluechel, Jr.] had died — but, according to the daughter of [Association] member Larry Ramos, he’s still very much alive; she just talked with him over the past day or so! [Link]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Maybe He's Just Impersonating Elvis's DNA

Eliza Presley claims that she is the half-sister of Elvis. Oh, and that Elvis is still alive.

Eliza Presley, born Alice Elizabeth Tiffin, grew up in an adoptive family. When as an adult she sought out her birth mother, she found that her mother had lived near Graceland in Memphis, and had at times been a part of Elvis' coterie. For a time, Presley, 47, believed she was Elvis' daughter. But according to DNA tests -- she claims to have tested her DNA with both sides of Elvis' family -- the true match for her father was not Elvis himself but his father, Vernon.

Presley is suing Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. to try to establish her genetic link to the family. And it was through this struggle that she came to be in contact with "Jesse," whom she now refers to as "my brother," who claims to be Elvis himself, living in secret. [Link]
The incontrovertible proof is presented on Eliza's website. I eagerly await the comeback tour.

How I Have Longed for the Hills of Longoria Parker

What an incredible coincidence that Eva Longoria Parker's ancestral village in Spain bears both her maiden name and married name.

More than 400 years after her ancestors left for the Americas, "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria Parker can expect a joyous welcome when she visits the remote northern Spain village that bears her name.

The village of Longoria Parker, home to around 60 people whose average age is 70, lies in the green hills of the Asturias region. [Link]

Monday, October 26, 2009

Now That Takes Some Chutzpah

A grandson of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess has offered to sell some of the murderer's personal effects to Yad Vashem.

The letter to the museum, which was sent several months ago and entitled “Rare objects, Auschwitz, Commander Hoess,” was short and succinct, saying: “These are several objects from the estate of Rudolf Hoess, the commander of Auschwitz: A massive, fireproof box with official insignia – a gift from Henrich Himmler, the commander of the SS, weighing 50 kilograms, a letter opener and folders, slides from Auschwitz that have never been seen publicly, letters from his period of imprisonment in Krakow. I would be very grateful for a brief answer. Sincerely, Reiner Hoess.”

The management of Yad Vashem responded with shock to the proposal and rejected it out of hand. The management of the museum expressed disgust over the desire of the criminal’s relative to profit from Holocaust memorabilia. [Link, via JewishGen Blog]

Friday, October 23, 2009

Inscriptions or Prescriptions?

Mark Aubrey at My Good Life posted photos of two gravestones he spotted at Greenwood Cemetery in Greenwood, Johnson Co., Indiana. Each bears a reference to a chemical compound that can leave people with smiles on their faces.

I Suspect Nepotism

A seventh-grader in California and her grandfather have created the "first known Family Tree chart in history" showing that almost all of the US presidents are related.

BridgeAnne d'Avignon, who attends Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville, traced that Obama, and all other U.S. presidents except Martin Van Buren, are related to John "Lackland" Plantagenet, a king of England and signer of the Magna Carta. [Link, via geneally's Twitter feed]
In BridgeAnne's defense, she failed to find a link between Van Buren and his colleagues only because the Dutch are lousy at concocting dubious royal lineages.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Even Scarier Than the One Demi Moore Kissed in That Movie

I don't want to freak anybody out, but I spotted something frightening in one of the gravestone pictures I took today. It wasn't until I downloaded the images to my laptop that I discovered I had not been alone in the cemetery.

I swear on my mother's yet-empty grave that this is not photoshopped.

Lying Around Underground

Most residents of Stockbridge Cemetery in Massachusetts were buried with their feet pointing east.

Not so the Sedgwick family — patriarch Theodore Sedgwick ordered that his family’s graves form a circle with their feet toward the center. This way, on Judgment Day, Sedgwicks will see only other Sedgwicks. [Link]
I'm beginning to think someone should start a blog devoted entirely to families buried in circles.

Monday, October 19, 2009

'I am erected'

Caitlin at Vast Public Indifference found a First Person Gravestone.

No, I don't mean that the epitaph speaks in the voice of the deceased. In this case, the gravestone itself speaks in the first person.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

As a Genealogist He's Comically Bad

Josh Sundling knows little about his family's history, but much about the genealogy of superheroes.

Sundling, who cannot identify his ancestral homeland or the meaning of his surname, possesses extensive knowledge of the creation of superhero teams, the history of imaginary alien races, and the special powers of countless characters.

"We're from Sweden or Norway or somewhere around there," said Sundling, who when prompted can accurately detail the origins of each cartoon member of the X-Men, the Avengers, the Defenders, and the Squadron Supreme. "I don't know for sure. I never really asked about it." [Link]
(Please notice that this item is from The Onion, and not a reputable news source like The Washington Post or Lindsay Lohan's Twitter feed.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's Illegal There to Have Died in a Foreign Language

Slovakia has passed a law imposing fines "for incorrectly using Slovak and for unauthorized use of minority languages." Punishable offenses could include:

  • a conductor addressing a passenger in Hungarian on a train from Slovakia to Hungary
  • a radio station broadcasting in English without Slovak translation
  • failure to re-carve a 50 year-old grave marker
[Link, via NYRBlog (emphasis mine)]

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Megan Smolenyak Masters the Media

I missed Megan on CBS, but just watched her on PBS talking about her Michelle Obama discoveries, published yesterday in the New York Times. I'm a bit of a media snob, so I won't believe her conclusions until I hear them repeated on The Colbert Report and Family Guy.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Mormons Unfamiliar With Suspicious White Powders

A "suspicious white powdery substance" found at the LDS vault in Utah turned out to be ground-up fiberglass.

Two employees discovered the substance about noon at the Granite Mountain Storage Vault, located near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Unified Fire Authority Capt. Clint Smith said the pair were unloading a shipment of film used in genealogy work when they discovered a white powder they were unfamiliar with. [Link, via Twitter]

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

But I Do Enjoy the Commissions

Craig writes that "Genea-bloggers who say anything positive about genealogical products from now on may [be] required to disclose any 'material connection' between themselves and the distributor of the product."

I intend to skirt these regulations by saying nothing positive about genealogical products. They all suck.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Not a Self-Hating Jew, Just a Jew-Hating Fool

The Daily Telegraph said last week that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has Jewish roots. The Guardian says today that he has no Jewish roots.

According to both Naji and Tait, Ahmadinejad's father Ahmad was in fact a religious Shia, who taught the Quran before and after Ahmadinejad's birth and their move to Tehran. So religious was Ahmad Sabourjian that he bought a house near a Hosseinieh, a religious club that he frequented during the holy month of Moharram to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hossein.

Moreover, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's mother is a Seyyede. This is a title given to women whose family are believed to be direct bloodline descendants of Prophet Muhammad.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

His Captain Was a Real Character

I was watching my niece perform in a production of Carousel this afternoon, and the name of one character—Enoch Snow—sounded awfully familiar. It turns out Enoch Snow was a real guy who lived in Scarborough, Maine.

After moving his family to Wells and later, Scarborough, in the 1840s, Enoch began harvesting clams to use as bait for commercial cod fishing. At that time, locals enjoyed the white-shelled clams cooked on the shore over seaweed on heated rocks, as the Indians had taught them in the 1600s.

After the Civil War, the Boston and Maine Railroad came to Pine Point. As a result, clambakes became a tourist attraction. The railroad also enabled clammers to easily distribute their products outside of Pine Point, leading Enoch to become a clammer instead of a sea captain.
But his real nice clambakes aren't the reason Enoch's name sounded familiar. My great-great-grandfather Lemuel Dunham wrote of going to sea in 1856 "on the Newfoundland Banks, hauling in the cod and halibut." The master of his vessel was ... Captain Enoch Snow.

The Wing Ring

Little did I know when I wrote this that someone had actually designed a cemetery with genealogy in mind. And it's in Wayne, Maine—less than ten miles from where I was sitting when I wrote it.

The concentric circle design of the cemetery was an engineering feat, Ault said. Those working on the cemetery, for example, had to temporarily move at least 39 graves while the redesign took place. Then they had to carry out a sophisticated plan for the property, cutting arcs from granite and shaping grave plots around them.

The concentric circles turned out to be a carefully conceived plan to reflect Wing family genealogy. The eight-sided obelisk at the center carries the names of all seven original Wing brothers. Descendants are buried in rows emanating out from the inscribed name of their Wing brother ancestor. [Link]

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