Thursday, January 28, 2010

Salinger's Mom Born in Atlantic, Not Across the Atlantic

I do love correcting the New York Times:

[J.D. Salinger's] mother, Marie Jillisch, was of Irish descent, born in Scotland, but changed her first name to Miriam (the name, incidentally, of the wife who drives Seymour Glass to suicide) to appease her in-laws. [Link]
Not quite. His mother was the daughter of George and Nellie Jillich, born 11 May 1891 in Atlantic, Cass County, Iowa. Here she is in the 1900 census with her parents. They too were born in Iowa. I'm pretty sure that I've seen ship manifests which confirm Miriam Salinger's exact place of birth, but—like the Times—I am too lazy to double-check my sources.

The Times obit also says that J.D. "married a German woman, very briefly — a doctor about whom biographers have been able to discover very little. Her name was Sylvia, Margaret Salinger said, but Mr. Salinger always called her Saliva."

Dr. Saliva's full name was Sylvia Louise Welter. An article in this newsletter (pdf) discusses their brief marriage. The couple arrived in New York aboard the Ethan Allen on 28 April 1946. The manifest indicates that the doctor was a citizen of France, 27 years of age, born in Frankfurt-au-Main, Germany, and was fluent in English, French, German and Italian. No wonder he dumped her.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

They Buried the Competition

The towns of Ponca City and Cross were both founded in Oklahoma's Cherokee Strip in 1893. Only one would survive.

Both aspired to be the county seat, and the war between them waxed so warm that several men bit the dust. Finally the mayor of Ponca City called a public meeting one night and urged the citizens to keep up the fight until they made Cross a cemetery.

It is thought by his remark that the mayor actually advised the destruction of the city and the people of Cross by winchester rifles, but if so his threat was not executed in this manner.
Ponca City gave a town lot to every owner of a house in Cross and paid for the moving, and in this way stampeded the residents of the rival town.

Nothing being left but the town site and schoolhouse, the bluff of the pioneer mayor of Ponca was made good a few days since when the council bought the town site for a cemetery and made the schoolhouse the residence of the sexton. [Link]

Only the Title Is Titillating

I'm sure I'm not the first one to find "The Lesbian Ancestors of Prince Rainier of Monaco, Dr. Otto von Habsburg, Brooke Shields and the Marquis de Sade" a disappointing read.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Something to Do in Her Spare Time

I was not especially surprised to learn that Sarah Jane Newberry—Britain's Most Famous Virgin—is also a genealogist.

Many of Sarah Jane's ancestors are from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and distantly France, Rome, Greece, Sweden, Spain, and Italy and there are subsequent family links in all the mentioned countries now. She also has links with other countries and is currently researching these and if there are family links in those countries now. She knows there are some in Alaska. She has got a relative that moved to Jamaica and teaches English and she thinks the Jamaicans are very nice people.
Sarah Jane also thinks that writing about herself in the third person is very, very nice.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Scarier Than When He Played Dracula

Actor Christopher Lee has recorded a "symphonic metal" album telling the story of his ancestor Charlemagne.

Although he has previously worked on metal projects – narrating several records by Italian band Rhapsody of Fire, and collaborating briefly with Manowar – he has never released an album before. This particular project resonated not just with the actor's dark, storm-whipped soul – but with his family tree. "I am through the Carandini family [his mother's] actually descended from Charlemagne," he revealed. [Link, via]
Listen if you dare:

Myspace music player

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Huge Gold Brooch Harder to Forget Than His Grandmother

Kind of wish I hadn't read to the end of this article about the 1937 relocation of a graveyard in Maine.

Most of the coffins and all they contained are completely gone, and all that remains is an outline of a figure in bones and a discoloration of the earth.
It seems one man came to a workman and told him that his grandmother had been buried there 20 years ago. The visitor stated that he did not remember his grandmother, but could faintly remember that she was laid to rest with a huge gold brooch at her throat. He said he would like to have that pin as a keepsake. This was one of the graves where all that remained was the discolored earth—and the gold pin which was given to the grandson as a keepsake.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Top Ten Reasons I'm Not Attending Blogger Day 2010

10. Too busy writing top ten lists.

9. Irrational fear of states beginning with vowels.

8. Prefer to hold my own Blogger Day alone in my basement.

7. might get jealous.

6. No free airfare for my imaginary wife.

5. Blogging credentials were revoked in 2009 for failure to meet post quota.

4. Plastic explosives in my underwear might have caused problems at the airport.

3. Bitter that CEO Tim Sullivan has been screening my calls since 2007.

2. Once shot a man in Provo just to watch him die.

1. DearMYRTLE's restraining order.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Sorry I Haven't Written...

...but I've been busy.

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