Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wyatt Earp's Pawnshop

I recently read and loved the novels Doc and Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell, about Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers.  When I was in San Diego on the Old Town Trolley Tour last week, pulling into the Gaslamp District, the guide pointed out a pawnshop that was started by Wyatt Earp when he moved to San Diego after the OK Corral.  I had to see it closer, so I got off the trolley and walked back a few blocks.  I had never been in a real pawn shop, but I had to go into this one. 

I asked the man working there, and he said, yes, it was started by Wyatt Earp, and that he used to live across the street.  That is now a shopping mall, but the inside of the pawn shop still looks, I imagine, like it did when it was built.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Mormon Battalion Historic Site

Last week I was in San Diego.  We went to the zoo and saw the seals and even a whale in La Jolla, and I spent a day on the Old Town Trolley Tour.  I almost did not go, as I thought it might be too touristy, but it was well worth the price, convenient, and I saw so much.  I could have spent another day or two seeing the sites.

At the end of the tour in Old Town, I visited the Mormon Battalion Historic Site.  I grew up and still live a half-hour from Palmyra, New York, where the Mormon church was founded.  I am not a member, but as a genealogist, I spend time in the church's family search centers and I have been to Salt Lake City and to the big library there as well as seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and other sites.  However, I did not know that a group of Mormons traveled to San Diego in 1847 from Iowa, before they settled in Salt Lake City.  The museum is a replica adobe building, and it is a really fantastic interactive display, including rumbling from a stampede, the night sky, thunderstorms, cedar wood scents, and photos that talk just like in Harry Potter!  I also got to pan for "gold", and having watched a documentary about the Klondike a few days earlier, I was anxious to try and found it a lot more difficult than I expected.  My "gold" nugget is on the upper right hand corner of the photo.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The 70th Anniversary of Anna's Passing

70 years ago this morning my great-great-grandmother, Anna Ritschard Glossner, died.  She is the most intriguing of all my ancestors, so much so that I am writing a book about her.  Born in Switzerland, she appears to have been well educated there.  She immigrated to New York in 1884 as a young woman, and quickly married another immigrant and occasional mill worker, had 11 children and was predeceased by all but the oldest 5.  She certainly does not fit into the stereotypical American Dream, but she was a survivor and did what she could to keep her family fed.  I have been immersed in research about her lately, so stay tuned for the biography!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread

I love Irish soda bread, or at least the kind I have made in the past and that is readily available in our local grocery stores this time of year.  It is so easy to make that I never buy it.  I was looking for a recipe for this year and ran across this site: The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread!  Even though I love caraway seeds and currants, I decided to experiment this time by following the guidelines for real soda bread and just using flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk.  I have a really hard time following recipes, but the only change I made to this one was to use 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour.  I did not knead it on a floured board but just pulled it all together with my hands.  I did put a cake pan cover over the bread while it was baking, and I did not put any butter in it.  The temptation was great to add the beloved caraway and currants, but I resisted, and thankfully so.  The bread is wonderful.  I have been cutting pieces off all afternoon, and at this rate there will not be much left for St. Patrick's day tomorrow.  But I still have enough pastry flour and buttermilk for a second loaf... maybe I will put some currants and caraway in that one, for variety! 

My new publication: The Ancestry of Anne Bretherick and David Greer

My new book, The Ancestry of Anne Bretherick and David Greer, is available for purchase on CreateSpace:  It is the genealogy of Anne Bretherick and David Greer, including their Stott, McKnight, Mainwaring, and Steinmetz ancestors of Pennsylvania, Lancashire, England, and County Donegal, Ireland.  If any of these names ring a bell, this book might be for you, too.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Happy Birthday!

For my nephew's 21st birthday, I researched his paternal grandparents' family history and published it.  The book is available for purchase on CreateSpace:

The Ancestry of Anne Bretherick and David Greer

Friday, February 19, 2016

My heritage without DNA testing

I recently watched an episode of "Finding Your Roots", and I was very impressed that Henry Louis Gates Jr. called his one guest, rather than surprising him on camera, to tell him that they discovered something very surprising when they did a DNA test.  As a professional genealogist, I recognize that DNA testing for genealogical purposes is a science unto itself, and I prefer to leave it to its own experts.  I enjoy the sleuthing through old records and articles to piece together histories. 

That said, the engineer in me has to break things down into numbers.  Based on the research I have done and my family before me has done on my ancestors, this is my genetic breakdown without DNA testing:
     56.25% German
     25% Sicilian
     6.25% Swiss
     6.25% Irish
     6.25% English

Maybe some day I will have DNA testing done to see if the research matches the test results, but for now I am more than happy to concentrate on telling these ancestors' stories.