Saturday, May 31, 2014

Large mudslide reported at Baltimore cemetery

In what could have been a very upsetting event, video captured Thursday a huge mudslide at Western Cemetery in Baltimore. The video shows several headstones that were dislodged. Some ended up at the bottom of the mudslide. Officials at the cemetery stated that no graves were damaged.  They said while some tombstones were dislodged, the area where the mudslide occurred was where those tombstones are stored.

To read more about the mud slide at Western Cemetery in Baltimore go Here

Friday, May 23, 2014

Were Ancient Romans poisoned by lead?

Roman Lead Pipe
A Roman Lead Pipe

Some historians argue that lead poisoning plagued the Roman elite with diseases such as gout, and may even have hastened the Empire’s fall. How far the gigantic network of lead pipes used in ancient Rome compromised public health in the city is unknown. However, lead isotopes in sediments from Portus – the harbour of Imperial Rome  – register the presence of a strong anthropogenic component during the beginning of the Common Era and the Early Middle Ages.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Coffin Plate Of Emanuel C Beam

Coffin Plate Of Emanuel Beam
Emanuel C Beam
This coffin plate for Emanuel C Beam is without a date but we can tell from the style of plate and the frame it is displayed in that it dates from around 1880~1890. The photo was taken in Washington NJ so I went and had a look in the 1880 USA Census and found Emanuel living in Mansfield, Warren, New Jersey.

1880 United States Federal Census

Emanuel Beam born 1868. Son of Joseph and Mary living in Mansfield, Warren, New Jersey.

 For more Coffin Plates try Ancestors at Rest

Saturday, May 17, 2014

GGGGGGREAT Gramps was a Neanderthal

DNA for genealogy
Is he in your family tree?

Neanderthals and modern humans, tens of thousands of years ago, had sex with each other in Europe and Asia. For this reason, we as modern humans still carry Neanderthal DNA in us. Researchers from Edinburgh University and Wageningen University come to this conclusion based on a comparative statistical analysis of DNA from Neanderthals and humans.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Saxon bones are significant archaeological discovery

Bones unearthed by landscape gardeners laying a driveway at a house in Purley have been hailed as a significant archaeological discovery after it was confirmed they are at least 1,200 years old.
The skull and thigh bone discovered in Riddlesdown Road on April 14 have been analysed by experts who say they are Saxon and date back to between 670 and 775AD.

Read More On The Saxon Bones

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 12: Gardening

Sharing Memories Week 12: Gardening
Olive Tree Genealogy blog has a Genealogy Writing Challenge. It's 52 weeks of writing your own memoirs.  Lorine will be posting a weekly prompt each Sunday on Olive Tree Genealogy blog under the topic Sharing Memories

The first week's prompt was about Kindergarten. You can read Lorine's blog post for the first week at Challenge: 52 Weeks of Writing Our Memories - Kindergarten Days

This week's prompt is Gardening

For some reason I didn't inherit the Gardening gene that runs in my family. My paternal grandparents loved to garden, as did my great grandfather Massey. My grandparents always had a huge vegetable garden chock full of tomatoes, potatoes, even asparagus.

My parents always had a vegetable garden and grew their own tomatoes, beans, onions, cucumbers and more. My sister is the same. But not me. I hate weeding and all the work involved. The sun is too hot, the bugs are thick, all in all it's not fun.

Flower gardens are the same thing. Many of the females in my family have beautiful gardens. In fact my mother's garden was on a Gardening Tour in town. I appreciate how great their gardens look but it seems like an awful lot of work!

The only kind of gardening my wife and I do is a small herb garden. That's my wife's thing but I help out with watering. Other than that, I keep away from it!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

52 Ancestors: Crabby Uncle Bill Massey

I'm writing about my Uncle Bill Massey as part of Amy Crow's Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks .


WW2 Ross Rifles
Bill Massey in WW2
Every family has its characters and one of the characters in my family was my Uncle Bill. Everyone called him Groundy but I don't have a clue how he got the nickname or what it meant. A life-long bachelor, he was one of the crabbiest people I ever met! 

He was my grandfather's brother and was the second oldest of 9 children. I remember Uncle Bill vividly because my grandfather took me to visit him frequently. But I didn't know him well at all because I was very young and he never spoke to me, nor did I speak to him. I just sat and listened. He probably didn't care for children much. And I was only 13 when he died.

What I remember most is the image in my head of him at the kitchen table drinking with my grandfather. Uncle Bill was a heavy drinker and always had a whiskey nearby. His house was almost empty of furniture but he kept it very tidy and clean. I remember sliding in my sock feet on his hardwood living room floor. You could get a good run at it and slide a long way as nothing got in your way. Everything had its place and nothing was ever moved.

His early life is a mystery to me but someone once told me he worked at the St. Mary's Cemetery at some point in his life. I have a vague memory of being told that he once lived in a trailer by a gas station. It seems sad to not know anything more. 

He volunteered in WW2 and I was told that he drove a jeep in Europe as the driver for a film crew. But the one and only time I asked Uncle Bill if he ever got any medals, he scowled and told me it was all a bunch of "BS". So I never asked again. My grandmother told me that the only time Bill talked about his time in WW2 was when he was very drunk. 

While Bill was a life-long bachelor I know that during the war he had a girlfriend. It didn't work out but he must have cared for her very much because he kept her photograph until he died. I now own this photo but I don't know her name.

Uncle Bill was an amateur woodworker and a blanket box that he made is in my house. 

When I was 13 years old, Uncle Bill died of a heart attack while shovelling snow. His death came as a shock to me because he was a family character and as such you figure they will always be around. In some ways he is still with us because he's one of the members of our family whose name comes up most frequently when I'm talking with anyone else in the family. Everyone remembers Uncle Bill.

Friday, May 09, 2014

More ancient skeletons uncovered

Black Death

Yet another clutch of ancient skeletons has been uncovered during excavations for the Crossrail transport project in central London. It's thought that the group of skeletons dates from the time of the 'Black Death' - the plague which wiped out about a third of the British population in the middle of the 14th century.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Coffin Plate Of Elizabeth Scafe 1878

Coffin Plate
Elizabeth Scafe Coffin Plate
Elizabeth Scafe
June 2 1878
Aged 23 Years

For more Coffin Plates go to Ancestors At Rest

Sharing Memories Week 17: One Ringy Dingy Two Ringy Dingy

Sharing Memories Week 17:  One Ringy Dingy Two Ringy Dingy
Olive Tree Genealogy blog has a Genealogy Writing Challenge. It's 52 weeks of writing your own memoirs.  Lorine will be posting a weekly prompt each Sunday on Olive Tree Genealogy blog under the topic Sharing Memories

The first week's prompt was about Kindergarten. You can read Lorine's blog post for the first week at Challenge: 52 Weeks of Writing Our Memories - Kindergarten Days

This week's prompt is One Ringy Dingy Two Ringy Dingy  All about telephones.

When I was little all the phones were rotary dial. I don't know if pushbutton phones had been invented but no one I knew had one. I imagine there are lots of young people who have never seen or used a rotary dial telephone.

My mother told me that when she was a little girl they had an old-fashioned crank phone and were on a party line. She said everyone on that line listened in on everyone else's conversations. You had to memorize your ring (2 short or 1 short 2 long for example) as everyone on the party line had their own ring.

My grandparents had a party line and I could never figure out whether or not we were supposed to answer it. I couldn't remember our pattern of short and long rings. But that didn't matter because my grandparents didn't believe that children should be answering the phone anyway.

My grandmother, who lived in a very small town, was an operator for Bell Telephone for many years. I remember her telling me how the operators liked to listen in on other people's phone calls even though that was strictly against company policy. She said that way they knew all the gossip. So if you are worried about Google and big tech companies looking at our stuff online, guess what? It's been going on forever, just in a different format!

Credits: "Vintage Telephone" by Daniel St.Pierre on

Thursday, May 01, 2014

52 Ancestors: Oscar Massey Accused of Stealing Rifles in 1919

March 1919. Pueblo Chieftan
My cousin 3 times removed was Oscar Massey. He was born in Colorado in 1893. While researching him (because I research all siblings of my direct ancestors) I found some interesting news articles about him being arrested in 1919.

It seems that in March 1919 Oscar and a buddy Grover Roberts were arrested and charged with stealing rifles and pistols from the Sante Fe Railway. Oscar got off eventually but I've never been sure he didn't do it. I think it might have been a case of having friends on the jury and being well-known and liked in the town.

In any case here's his story in newspaper clippings:

 Accused Burglars Attend Courts of Numerous Degrees Prisoners, Charged with Robbing Box Cars Arraigned before Justices (News Article)
Date: 1919-04-05; Paper: Pueblo Chieftain, published as: The Pueblo Chieftain
Jury is Picked to Try Oscar Massey (News Article)
Date: 1919-05-24; Paper: Pueblo Chieftain, published as: The Pueblo Chieftain
Massey Freed of Burglary Charge (News Article)
Date: 1919-05-25; Paper: Pueblo Chieftain, published as: The Pueblo Chieftain