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Woe.

What is a genealogy geek to do when she has nothing left to do? Until I have the money for travel to Philadelphia (NOT any time soon, I can tell you) and/or some new records come online, there’s nothing more I can do. It’s so depressing. I have the itch to research and scavenge for missing pieces, but nothing to scratch with.

I believe I’ll make one of my occasional “Please give me something to research” posts on Facebook…

Pointless post, over and out!

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Have you ever done searches for character names just to see if anyone by that name actually existed? As you can tell by this post, I have. If the following post doesn’t earn me some kind of Super Nerd cred, I give up.

Let’s start with the world of Charlaine Harris and True Blood. The 1920 census records an Adele Stackhouse living in Brooklyn and a Jason Stackhouse in Pennsylvania. If you lived in Manhattan in 1900, Eric Nordman from Sweden might have been your neighbor.

As a teenager, I was devastated when I looked at an atlas and learned that Avonlea isn’t even a real place. But there were lots of Anne Shirleys (with Es and without), and a Gilbert Blythe lived in Philadelphia in 1900.

I wonder if the Matthew Cuthbert living in Buffalo in 1930 was as sweet as the one who lived in Avonlea?

Maybe Serenity’s captain is a descendant of Mal C. Reynolds, born October 1864 in Pennsylvania on Earth That Was.

There are many, many Elizabeth Bennets on the census rolls, but not a single Fitzwilliam Darcy. But then again, he was always too good to be true, wasn’t he?

Hundreds of Harry Potters lived in the U.S. over the decades, but I don’t think any of them were wizards.

This post only covers the U.S. census because I don’t have a “World Deluxe” subscription on Ancestry.com. So maybe Eric Northman and Mr. Darcy were hiding elsewhere in the world… As with all fictional characters, we can only wish.

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I’ve been scanning the rest of the family documents that I have. I really like those funeral cards, they’re like trading cards with dead people on them. And I found a letter from the 1860s which someone in my family thought the best way to preserve it would be to cover it in tape. *facepalms* And I found some land records, and legal papers from the 1800s. And I found this. There’s no date on it.

prof_massey

It says:
LAUGH AND GROW FAT, Two Hours of Fun, Music, and Mirth
By PROF. J. M. MASSEY
Blind Pianist, Cornetist, and Violinist

Prof. Massey comes with a program rich, rare and racy. His presentations of old time reminiscences on the violin are marvelous, and his renditions on the piano are thrilling in the extreme. All who enjoy a whole soul laugh should not fail to hear him.

Then it lists the songs one of which says:

The rendering of three distinct pieces of music at once, “Fisher’s Hornpipe” with right hand, “Yankee Doodle” with left hand and “Dixie” with voice.

And then it ends with the completely inappropriate and racist:

The whole to conclude with a mimic of the negro in his camp meeting glory – Song, Sermon and Jubilee- which never fails to create both laughter and admiration.

Admission 25c and 15c. Doors open at 6:30. Trouble at 7:00

At the bottom is some advice:

Persons who become sleepy on occasions of this kind may “sleep on, sweet angel” but don’t snore. Anyone suffering with headache during the exercises may procure a handkerchief from – a woman 50 years of age who never wanted to marry, cleanse it in the mill pond of an honest miller and hang it on the door knob of the office of a lawyer who never told falsehood, when the handkerchief is dry rub affected part and an instant cure will result.

And because no advertisement is complete without a puzzle?:

WORK YOUR BRAINS. Add six of these figures to make a total of 21. A FREE TICKET will be given to the first person bringing the correct solution of this problem to the door.

I have no idea who this Prof. J. M. Massey was, but, wow, he packed a lot of crazy onto one flyer.

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I’ve been reading my great grandmother’s/great grandfather’s dairy from the 1913-15 years. She talked about being in school. And then a few years later he’s talking about how it needs to rain, oh look it rained, I sure wish it would stop raining. Typical farming type concerns, but really the most interesting thing in this whole diary are the printed pages that came with it. There’s some pages about holidays, and a yearly calendar, a list of the populations of all the states, measurement conversion charts, NORMAL things. And then come the two best pages ever: HELP! In Case of Accidents. And ANTIDOTES FOR POISONS.

Here are my favorites.

When struck by lightning:

lightning

For those times when you accidentally get into the strychnine:

plugears

I had no idea there was a test for death.

deathtest

And I really hope I never overdose on chloroform!

rectum

No wait, I also hope I’m never around someone else who’s had too much chloroform either!

Not all of the instructions were weird and/or horrible advice. They had CPR in there, and good instructions on to what to do for things like sunstroke.

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In whatever genealogy work you’ve done, from your own research to helping others to transcribing records from cemeteries or archive projects, what’s your favorite name? If you have Pilgrim or Puritan ancestors, you’ve probably come across “fun” names like these. Can you imagine being named Dust or Helpless or Lamentation? I hope for those kids’ sakes that they had nice nicknames. One of my ancestors, Mayflower passenger William Brewster, had sons named Love, Wrestling, and Fear. Fortunately, I’m descended from his daughter, Patience. Not quite so bad.

But of all the names I’ve run into, none have struck my funny bone quite like Spicey Johnson. Yes, you read that correctly. Spicey Johnson. I found her while researching a friend’s ancestors, and I became immediately jealous that I couldn’t be descended from her. Here she is on the 1850 census with her husband and children.

Gandy Family; Jones County, Mississippi; 1850

I was happy to see that she passed along her name to one of her daughters, though Spicey Gandy isn’t nearly as OMG AWESOME as Spicey Johnson.

So, Amanda, I’m jealous. I will always be jealous.

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