July 28, 2013

Return of the Green Fairy

I recently saw a documentary about absinthe, an alcoholic beverage that was very popular in Victorian times. It was especially so in France, usually among more "artsy" types like painters and writers; painter Edouard Manet and author Oscar Wilde, among many others, were both known to be regular imbibers of "the Green Fairy."

It was thought that absinthe enhanced creativity, and from the middle of the 19th century to the early 20th, the anise-flavored concoction was available in cafes; barkeepers would bring patrons a new saucer with each drink, and used the number of saucers that were stacked to tally how much to charge.

By the early 20th century, however, absinthe had gained a very bad (though undeserved) reputation as being mind-altering and responsible for immoral/bat-shit crazy behavior. It was banned in both Europe and the U.S.

Absinthe is no longer illegal as of 2007, and it has apparently been making a comeback.

There is a ritual associated with the beverage: absinthe is served in short glasses, often with a bulb at the bottom or some other indicator of how much absinthe to add to the glass. Pure absinthe is usually clear green in color (hence its nickname), and extremely high in alcohol content; a small, decorative slotted spoon is laid across the top of the glass, and a sugar cube is placed onto it. Ice-cold water is then poured over the sugar and spoon. As the sugar and water are filtered into the glass, the liquid becomes cloudy and beautifully pearlescent. Then you stir and enjoy.

Victorian Trading Company-- a deliciously gorgeous site on which to browse and fantasize-- actually sells absinthe goblets, spoons, and decanters. And there is a 1920's-themed restaurant in my city's downtown that serves absinthe; I figure that it would probably be a good idea to actually try the stuff before I decide to get goblets and spoons (forget the decanters, which are waaaay out of my price range). I love anise, which is the predominant flavor, so I doubt that I would dislike it.

July 14, 2013

Following wrong lines: a new brick wall for Elizabeth GEORGE

I've manage to break down a few "brick walls" for ancestors in the past, but now I have actually uncovered... a brick wall.

For Independence Day, I had highlighted the service of three known patriot ancestors, one of whom was 5th great-grandfather Captain Jacob WEBSTER (1744-1836) who was at Ticonderoga. On 13 February 1767 he married Elizabeth GEORGE, who died on 13 March 1824 in Kingston, New Hampshire.

I had her, incorrectly, as the daughter of Micah GEORGE and Mary FAVOR, but recently discovered that she could not have been their daughter; the Elizabeth who was born to Micah and Mary GEORGE married a John JONES in 1769, and died in Hopkinton, New Hampshire in 1838.

There is a New Hampshire marriage record for my 5th greats Elizabeth and Jacob (one of those that were filled out in the early years of the 20th century) but it does not list the names of the parents.

I'm glad to have caught the error-- a brick wall is better than incorrect lines in the family tree-- but now the task at hand is to find out, if possible, who her father and mother were.

To that end, I've just emailed the Kingston, New Hampshire clerk's office to see if there might be a death record or obituary for Elizabeth. I have a photo of her headstone, which confirms that she died on 13 March 1824, but I haven't found a death record online. I've also checked Judith Arsenault's The Vital Records of Kingston, New Hampshire 1694-1994, but nothing is listed for her there either.

Considering this, I'm not optimistic that the clerk's office will have a death record or obit, but it doesn't hurt to ask anyway. They may have some other document that identifies Elizabeth's parents.

Meanwhile, if any readers have information or suggestions, please feel free to share.
Elizabeth (GEORGE) WEBSTER's grave, Kingston's Plains Cemetery.
Photo courtesy of Find A Grave and contributor Richard Cole

Ancestry line:

Elizabeth GEORGE (1753?-1824) m. Jacob WEBSTER
Mary "Polly" WEBSTER (1772-1861) m. John WINSLOW
William WINSLOW (1800-1860) m. Mary "Polly" SEVERANCE
James W. WINSLOW (1838-1906) m. Elizabeth MACE
Bessie Maud WINSLOW (1886-1970) m. Frank Bailey PALMER
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father 
Me (b. 1974)