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Showing posts from June, 2021

Menu Monday: Kearsarge House, August 9, 1873

 I absolutely love the New York City Public Library's historical menu collection , which is where I have so far found all of the menus I have featured here on Mondays; they just ask that if you reproduce their menus that you credit and link back to them, which I would happily do even if they didn't request it -- this is a wonderful site containing menus dating all the way back from the 1850s to the early 2000s. Obviously, we focus here on those of the 1800s and early 1900s.  This week we're visiting the 1870s (curiously, the only menu NYPL has in their collection from that decade), and my mother's family's old stomping grounds of New Hampshire. You may remember that we featured The Profile House in a previous entry. Today we're going to Kearsarge House in North Conway, New Hampshire, in eastern Carroll County near the Maine border.  Kearsarge House was originally Kearsarge Tavern, owned by Samuel W. Thompson since 1861. But with the arrival of the Eastern Rail

History in "reel" time

 Many history lovers like me pine for the "good old days" (which can be basically any time previous to our own), and lament how many aspects of our society and culture have degraded. But one thing that I do love about living in the 21st century is our technology. Today, we can really have the best of both worlds -- if we want to adopt vintage dress and decor and lifestyle, we can do so... while still enjoying conveniences like climate control, modern medicine, and the internet. Take YouTube and other video sharing sites like Rumble and Dailymotion, which allow us to watch videos of literally anything we want on demand.  Of course there are thousands and thousands of channels geared towards history, and several that specifically dedicate themselves to video footage of the past, often in high quality color. The people who take the many hours of time and effort to restore and make available these snippets of history in reel time (see what I did there?) are awesome and deserve bi

Menu Monday: R.M.S Berengaria, November 22, 1926

 I'm fascinated by old ships, so I jumped at the opportunity to feature a menu from one that I had previously never heard of: The R.M.S. Berengaria . The only things I knew about it right away was that 1) it was a British ship (R.M.S. stands "Royal Mailing Ship") and 2) it was owned by Cunard, because of the "ia" ending. Cunard ships ended with "ia" (e.g., Lusitania, Mauritania ) and the ships of their main rival White Star Line ended with "ic" (e.g.,  Titanic, Atlantic ).  Berengaria began life as SS Impersonator , built in 1912 for the Hamburg American line. When the First World War broke out in August of 1914, she was not used for service but basically left in Hamburg to fall into disrepair. After the war ended in November of 1918, the ship was taken over by the Allies to be used to transport troops home.  In September of 1919, Impersonator was transferred to the British Shipping Controller and would now operate under Cunard. The new cap

Four generations

So I came across this photo randomly on Pinterest and it piqued my curiosity -- there was no description, nothing in the photo to indicate who these people were or where this was taken. But from the hair and fashion, I'd say it was taken around 1910 and it clearly looks like four generations of women: great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and daughter. If this was 1910-ish, great-grandma was probably born around 1840, grandma was born about the early 1860s, mom was born in the mid 1880s, and the daughter was born circa 1907.  I love how they all look so much alike, right down to the same crooked mouth. 

Ancestry DNA match answers a long-wondered question

 One day when my mother Shirley Howes was in middle school, her teacher introduced a new student: "Class, this is Joan Howes." My mom was instantly curious and approached the new girl at lunch -- and it turns out that Joan was her first cousin, the daughter of her father's twin brother. Mom said she was a nice girl, but they didn't stay in touch. This was probably because my mother's parents had divorced when she was about ten (unusual for the 1940s), and mom was pretty much estranged from her father and his side of the family thereafter. So last night I was looking at my DNA matches to me on Ancestry. Ancestry now gives users the ability to group our matches and identify specific relationships -- so I was going through my close matches, identifying what side of my family they're related on and picking one of the suggested specific relationships if I knew them. Usually Ancestry was spot on with their list of possible relationships, ranging from most likely one

Menu Monday: Santa Fe Route Dining Car Service, November 9, 1899

 So as far as "Menu Mondays" here goes, we have two firsts: a breakfast menu and a menu for a train dining car. Union Depot was opened in Kansas City, Missouri, on 7 April 1878, designed by architect Asa Beebe Cross  to accommodate a growing number of railroads needed to ship products and transport people. It was an impressive building, the largest west of New York. Though at first its size and ornate style seemed a bit "extra" to many, its need was proven within just a couple of years as population and product shipping demands increased.  It was, unfortunately, located in an part of Kansas City called West Bottoms, a seedy area filled with saloons, tattoo parlors (yes, they had those back then), and houses of ill repute; not a place where respectable people wanted to be. The depot itself was spacious and very comfortable, with a restaurant and offices.  Aside from being in an undesirable part of town, West Bottoms was also prone to flooding, and in 1903, a flood p

Protecting documents and photos

 Something that comes up a lot in the vast topic of genealogy is protecting your research (documents and photos) from being lost or destroyed. The first thing I would strongly suggest is making sure that you are using a family tree software that is stored on your computer, and not just putting your tree/research on a website -- no matter how good and trustworthy that website is. Yes, I have my tree up on Ancestry, but I also have Family Tree Maker on my computer. I love FTM because you can actually upload it to Ancestry and keep the trees synced -- so that when you make a change in either your online tree or your FTM tree, you can update the other with whatever changes you've made. When you only have your tree on a website, then you're kind of at the whim of fate that the website stays up and doesn't have problems. Always "own" your own tree and research, and don't rely on a website. The second thing, and I can't stress this enough.. BACK UP YOUR COMPUTE

Fun with photos

 A few months ago, MyHeritage introduced a feature where you can upload old photos to their site and colorize them. Since then, they've added to their photo feature the ability to "enhance" (sharpen) photos, and even animate them! Just very recently, they've added the ability to "repair" photos that are creased or torn or spotted. It is truly amazing how all of these elements can really bring old snapshots to life-- almost literally, in the case of "animating" them.  Now, these features aren't perfect... for example, the colorization isn't completely accurate. -- e.g., people who I know had blue eyes come out with hazel. And sometimes there are some weird reddish-purple blotches that appear. The enhancement option often adds clarity to faded pictures, but sometimes, it tries to "fill in" things that aren't there and that don't look right; it tried to give a rather blurry photo of my 3rd great-grandmother a wide, toothy sm