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Mar 5, 2015
Had to spend a good part of the day shoveling 9 inches of global warming off the driveway, so I don’t have to get up in the wee hours to do it before getting off to the office. In truth digging the cars out, then scraping the layer of ice off the windows, took more time than the driveway. It sucks when snow follows rain.
Where’s Al Gore when you need him?
Jan 23, 2015
Inspired by (Disney’s) security theater, Leatherman will be bringing a “wearable multitool” out this year. I feel for the guy who designed this; one of the minor annoyances of being a low-level road warrior (3-5 flights a year) is not being able to bring my own Skeletool with me. I’ve seriously considered buying a pack of the cheap $2/unit in bulk at the local home despot to be able to drop one in my checked luggage and not care too much if it doesn’t make it past baggage handling. This won’t fix that annoyance completely, since it won’t have a blade, but the “cutting hook” would deal with most of what I actually use a blade for (opening packages without having to use my teeth). And, of course, the most important tool, the bottle opener.
OTOH, the fine folks at TSA will probably make something up on the spot to “ban” this…
Jan 1, 2015
If the lack of posting this week hasn’t given it away, I’m taking a holiday off from the blog, probably until Monday there won’t be much on here. It’s not so much a break from the blog, but a break from having to follow everything, which is really most of the work. Sometimes it’s just relaxing to take leave of the RSS reader and bathe in the blissful ignorance.
Christmas time was down in Nashville with Bitter’s family, but we took a route through Southern Virginia to do some genealogical research. Then on the way back from Nashville we spent two days in D.C., one day at the National Archives, and the second at the Daughters of the American Revolution Library. I have most of my family back to the boat. My mom’s side was easy to research, because they are all recent immigrants, except two lines. One line are technically recent immigrants from Canada, but they ended up in the land of snow and beavers because they were Quaker loyalists on Long Island who were kicked out after the Revolution for supporting the crown. The other is possibly tied to a Colonial Delaware family, but I’m not making any headway on proving that.
My dad’s side, on the other hand, has four Revolutionary War Veterans, and one additional patriot who paid supply taxes. There are also four Civil War veterans, one with the 71st Pennsylvania Vols., two with the 29th Pennsylvania Vols., and one with the 1st West Virginia Vols. All were Army of the Potomac, though the 29th was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland later in the war and participated in Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign and March to the Sea (sorry about that, to any of my Georgia readers).
Researching colonial lines is difficult, requiring old fashioned research in libraries, and careful examination of historical documents. Ancestry.com isn’t of much help for people prior to 1800. Fortunately for me, my entire family stayed in Philadelphia, which makes it easier than it is for Bitter, whose family moved every few generations. I managed to gather quite a lot of clues at the DAR Library from a compiled index of Philadelphia church records from 1644-1780. I feel I don’t have very long to get back to the boat, since I’m starting to get back to the time period where the only people in the Delaware Valley were Indians, Swedes, and Dutchmen. William Penn didn’t arrive in the New World with his charter for the Province of Pennsylvania until 1682. Whether I have ancestors who were original settlers of Pennsylvania will be difficult to prove or disprove, since Penn’s passenger manifest from his first voyage did not survive.
Dec 31, 2014
Yesterday afternoon, my best friend from college met Sebastian and I at the DAR library since she knows she’s DAR-eligible, but doesn’t really know much about that family history. It was handy that she brought in the insignia from various family members so I could easily look up their numbers, and it was amazing to see the men who she can call 6th great grandfathers. Two of them were part of the Lexington Alarm.
Yup, my best friend from college actually descends from two different men who were part of those shots heard round the world. As Sebastian put it, she can actually say she’s from a family that used firearms to defend their guns and ammunition from being seized by the government. It’s really quite amazing the risks they were taking at the time.
In her family, the son of one man married the daughter of the other, and I don’t find that surprising at all. One of the first tips I see in researching Revolutionary War patriots is to look for more of them in the in-laws. In my research, it’s very common to find that families actually engaged in supporting the cause tended to see their kids marry. I guess when you take such a radical position on something, your family tends to find other families who are just as passionate.
Yesterday, I found notes on a distant cousin’s application that showed one of my ancestors served under his future father-in-law. I’m not sure if the marriage was before or after the shared military service yet. I also found through these notes that a woman I believe to be my 5th great grandmother is considered a patriot in her own service because she defended her house during a British attack over their attempts to get the ammunition that was being stored there.
I know that genealogy of someone else’s family isn’t high on the reading list, but it really does remind me of something Sebastian said a while ago. At some point, a personal family history is your country’s history.
Dec 25, 2014
Sorry for being offline the past couple of days, but doing the family thing this week so posting will be a bit light. To all who celebrate, Merry Christmas to you and your family, wherever you are. But wherever you are, I’m sure you’d probably rather be in Hawaii, so Merry Christmas the Bing Crosby way:
Nov 27, 2014
I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving holiday. I am out at my dad’s in Berks County, with a gallon of my latest home-brew (Belgian Dubbel). My sister is allegedly coming, who I have not seen in some time.
Nov 24, 2014
This weekend, Sebastian and I had the chance to tour Christ Church in Philadelphia. I had never been before at all, and he had never really been on a real tour of it.
The history there is just amazing. It’s quite humbling to realize that the baptismal font still in use today has been around since before most people have paper records of their family’s baptisms – over 600 years old and it was used to baptize William Penn in 1644. As the tour guide pointed out, the chandelier they planned to light that afternoon for a wedding is the same chandelier that was in place (and likely lit) for Benjamin Franklin’s daughter’s wedding.
Another bit of history that I did not know stuck out to me after seeing incredible artwork in the form of stained glass. One of the scenes featured in the glass is the prayer given before the Continental Congress on September 7, 1774. The delegates asked the local Anglican minister open the session with a prayer. Following tradition of the time, the 36-year-old opened with the scripture that happened to be designated for that day, Psalm 35.
1 Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.
2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.
3 Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.
4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.
5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them.
7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.
8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.
9 And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.
10 All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?
11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.
12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.
15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:
16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.
17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.
18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.
19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.
20 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.
21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.
22 This thou hast seen, O Lord: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.
23 Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.
24 Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.
25 Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.
26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.
27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.
It’s rather amazing how that so perfectly fit the circumstances of that very day. However, the real highlight of our visit was getting to see the actual book of church meeting notes from July 4, 1776.
Nov 11, 2014
Getting into genealogy has inspired me to ask many more questions about the veterans in my family. I never expected to learn even a fraction of what I have lately.
My paternal grandfather got a bug for flying as a child when he was walking home from work in the late 1920s and he went by the local airport in Ardmore, Oklahoma. A guy with a plane offered him a chance to fly. That man turned out to be Wylie Post. In college, my grandfather joined the ROTC and was called up in June 1941 shortly before he could finish his degree in Petroleum Engineering. He served in the Army Air Corps and was stationed in Burma for his longest stint. He was trained to fly the B-25 and C-46, but after a while they told him to get into an unarmed P-38 and go take pictures of the Japanese. After the war, he went back to school to finish his degree and met a freshman girl who caught his eye – my grandmother. My grandfather survived a plane crash during the war and having a boat sink out from under him, but not skin cancer. He passed when I was 11 months old, so I never knew him.
My dad’s story isn’t nearly so eventful as his father’s story, but he did serve in the Navy during the later years of Vietnam. However, he was never sent over there and his job was primarily making sure people got paid and taking care of the accounting. I’m sure the men who served with him appreciated his ability to do his job. :)
(He’s the second from the right.)
The final picture I have to share was just recently obtained. It’s a picture of CASU-44, my maternal grandfather’s unit in WWII. He enlisted in the Navy, and they put him to work fixing planes because that man can fix absolutely anything. He went to Tinian behind some Marines and, from his stories, was basically working with them most of the time. He was punished for striking an officer after the fresh officer showed up and insulted my grandfather after trying to tell him that the manual said to fix the plane a certain way that my grandfather knew from experience didn’t work. He also told us about getting shot at by the Japanese while delivering ammunition to the other side of the island when he took a wrong turn in the sugar cane. Fortunately, some Marines nearby heard the shooting and pulled him out. My grandfather was put in the hospital when a storm caused the loss of most of their food supplies and they were put on different rations. He couldn’t keep any of it down at all and was no longer able to do as much as the Navy needed him to do. Eventually, he was shipped back to Hawaii and then back home.
(He’s second from the left in the fourth row from the top.)
To relate this a bit back to guns, my maternal grandfather could also shoot a squirrel out of a tree from damn near anywhere, even when other people couldn’t even spot the damn thing. His favorite squirrel gun is still kept loaded by his chair, and it was ordered from the Sears catalog.
Nov 11, 2014
A recently discovered picture of my Grandfather, who served in World War II at the end of the Battle of the Bulge. He was deployed for about a month before he was wounded near St. Vith, Belgium. This picture was taken before he deployed, in Spartanburg, South Carolina on August 6, 1944.
This was also recently discovered:
It looks like they chose not to inform my grandmother of the extent of his injuries. His wound was bad enough that he was partially disabled in the use of his left hand for the rest of his life, though he would never admit it. They shipped him home to convalesce. My grandfather died in 1996 at age 76.
Oct 31, 2014
I really liked the week in Oklahoma, but I do have to say, not as much singing as I expected.
How many states can say their official state song was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein? Sadly, I hear Mr. Chips has been waiting by the swinging chair for me to return:
The barn cats all seemed to take a liking to me, especially Mr. Chips.