November 27, 2014

Google Book Search – A Genealogist’s Dream Come True

Imagine that you have always wanted to find more information about one of your ancestors, but you had neither the resources, time, or any idea on earth where to find it. Imagine too, that you knew of a book or author who had written about your family member, but you had no idea where to start to look for said book.

Have you considered looking in Google Book Search? As a little exercise in discovery, today I did a cursory search in the database for books about Rose Farm, my cousin William Livingston Holmes’ home that was built by him circa 1847 in Oregon City, OR. What came back is astounding: Books 110 of 1,041 on rose farm Oregon. (0.05 seconds). That doesn’t mean that every one of those books has the exact information I am looking for, but my chances are pretty darn good that there will be at least a few that contain additional information that I might not have already.

One of the things I like about the Google Book Search too, is that if you do find a book you would like to refer to later, you can add it to your ‘library’ and come back to it later. In addition, you can also click on handy links to find the book in a library, or buy it outright from a site like Amazon or Alibris.

The goal for Google, from before its implimentation, has always been to make information available to the world.  What had kept them from doing that with books had been the threat of lawsuits and copyright complications. Just this week though, on October 28th, they have reached an agreement with a large group of authors and publishers to grant digital access to millions of in-copyright books. Not only does it make access to these books available, but it also opens a new market for those authors and publishers to sell their work. Rather than me telling you all about it here, please read New Chapter for Google Book Search on their blog.

I wonder if they will eventually take self-published genealogy and family tree books? ;) Not so much for the monetization, but just for the sheer ability to share our research with other potential family members!  Yes, I know we can do that alread in limited ways, but to be able to share it with the whole world…priceless!


Wisdom Wednesday – Family Wit And Words

 

As I began making banana bread today using Mom’s recipe I retraced the steps I’ve always used to begin any baking project.  Mom taught me to look at the recipe, get out all the ingredients and utensils and get everything lined up before I began. Oh, and just for good measure, I read the recipe one more time.  In the “old days” we also used to turn on the oven to preheat and let it get warmed up. I have a gas stove and the oven takes very little time to heat now, and most likely saves money in the process.

As long as I had the oven going, I stirred up six of each,  blueberry and apple chunk muffins. As I combined all the ingredients for each baked item I put the canisters away, wiping them off as needed, or refilling them if they were low.  When everything was done baking and on the cooling racks I had to rest up a bit.  One batch of anything is usually enough for one day, but three different things…that did me in.  Mom always ran a sink full of hot soapy water so as we’d get done with a bowl or spoon, etc., we could just put it in to soak and it would be easier to clean later.

As I went along today I could ‘hear’ Mom reminding me to do all these things. I’m probably not a lot different than many other cooks in my age group. Some things have changed though. We didn’t have Pam in Mom’s day, so we’d have to butter the pans with Crisco or actual butter if we had it.  Mom always used margarine and I remember she would always keep the outer paper to butter pans or cookie sheets.  She grew up during the depression era and there wasn’t much that went to waste.

One of our family stories that Dad would tell on Mom was “remember the time you bought all that firewood…? It was all cedar and Mom was fairly new at buying things like wood.  She went to business college in Seattle, but they don’t teach you to buy a mixture of wood types like madrona, fir and some cedar for hot fires and kindling.  She was a whiz at shorthand and typing, but had a lot to learn about living in the boonies.  At least she never had to cook on a wood stove.  I know people swear by them, but she probably thought of herself as Donna Reed rather than Ma Kettle.

I didn’t learn everything about cooking from just my mom.  Almost everyone I have met along the way in my life has given me witty ideas and wisdom that was passed on down to them too.

My mother-in-law taught me that when you’re making homemade tomato soup that ‘red into white and you’ll always be right”.

My friend Debby showed me how to combine mustard, ketchup, pork and beans, brown sugar and onions and ham to make the most tasty baked beans ever.  Over the years I’ve tweaked the recipe, adding little smokies or putting in BBQ sauce with the ketchup.

Grandma Josie said that if you start a fire in the woodstove to bake bread to begin with cedar for a hot fire when you put the loaves in, then as the fire dies down, add a piece of madrona because it burns for a long time with an even heat. Adding just a little fir will round it out nicely.  When Grandma would back yeast rolls for dinner I remember she would always have a little shortening melted in the bottom of the pan and as she put each roll in she would flip it over so it would have some oil on the top to brown the rolls.

One last memory I remember I learned from my father-in-law.  He said, whenever you’re in a bar make sure you never have an empty beer bottle.  If you get into a bar fight you don’t want to grab an empty one because when you go to hit it on the edge of the bar to break off the end to use as a weapon it’ll just shatter.  Partially full ones break leaving some nasty jagged points on the end and are much more effective.  See what you can learn by just listening to your elders?  Luckily, I’ve not had to use that bit of wit so far in my life.

I’m participating in Wisdom Wednesday, daily blogging theme used by writers to add content to their sites.  Geneabloggers is one of those sites. Pay Thomas a visit and see what his offering is for today.

“To participate in Wisdom Wednesday simply create a post in which you share words of wisdom about any number of things including weddings, marriage, children, work, and so on.  A post  could include such things as favorite sayings of grannies, superstitions, that sort of thing.  Words of wisdom should have their origins in the past and have been passed on from generation to generation.

A special thanks to Jennifer Geraghty-Gorman of On a Flesh and Bone Foundation: An Irish History for suggesting Wisdom Wednesday as a daily blogging theme!”

Wishing you all a very safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.

147 Year Old Breedlove Civil War Diary

Wayne Breedlove with JWB diary

Wayne Breedlove with JWB diary

The Caretaker

Pictured above is my 2nd cousin, once removed, Wayne Breedlove who generously brought the John W. Breedlove diary with him from Florida when he visited us last week. Wayne’s father, Othel Breedlove was the man who ‘rescued’ the diary from obscurity decades ago. Wayne found it in his dad’s camper, tucked away on a shelf in a bag of some sort.

diary 01 and shell

Reunited Mementos

It was just by chance the colors of the conch shell matched the tablecloth so well last Sunday. The shell is just as old as the diary though, and it was a reunion for it to be with the diary because John Breedlove had brought it home with him from the east coast as a benign memento of his wartime trek with Sherman’s army on their ‘march to the sea’.

John enlisted as a Sgt.  on August 13, 1862 at Steelville, Missouri and was placed in Company E of the 32nd Regiment, Missouri volunteers when he mustered in October 18, 1862 under Capt. Clark.

Wayne, Kathleen, Jack, Dave and Marilyn

The Breedlove Descendants

The five people in this picture are all descendants of John W. Breedlove. They are: L-R – Wayne Breedlove, Kathleen Rice O’Neill, Jack Harbeston, Dave Yates, and in front, Marilyn Scott Tank. Also attending were Kathleen’s mother Anna Helmick Rice, and of course, myself.

I hope to add more detailed information about the contents of the diary as we get a better look at the pages. Wayne is planning to scan them and then give each of us the digital images for our records.  When I get them, I will share some of them with all of you.

diary 02 first page

Wayne Breedlove and Carol Yates Wilkerson.jpg

Wayne Breedlove and Carol Yates Wilkerson

14 June 2009

The Home Friend 1909 – Ohio Carriage Mfg Company

ohio-carriage-company-buggy

ohio-carriage-company-buggy

The automobile was still in its infancy, and the United States was no where near as dependant on oil as it is 100 years later in 2009.  H. C. Phelps was a master of persuasive advertising, encouraging his customers to “cut out the middleman” and buy directly from him via the United States Postal Service.

Purchasers of the 1910 model were assured they were getting the up-to-date models, not shopworn ones that had sat in third party displays waiting to be sold. Even then, this mode of transportation had its “lemons” it seems.

Can’t you just imagine your ancestors excitement when their new well-built buggy arrived at the post office? With 125 styles to choose from, it would have taken all winter just to decide which one to buy!

Source: Learn more about “The Carriage Trade” by Thomas A. Kinney at Google Book Search.

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