Serendipity Tuesday Bits & Pieces

We can be proud once again of being a Washingtonian!  According to Doug Clark’s column in our Spokesman paper a week or so ago, the genius who invented and successfully marketed the Pet Rock was from Washington! Clark wrote:  “Gary Dahl was living in the Northern California town of Los Gatos and having a drink when…… “the bar talk turned to pets, and to the onus of feeding, walking and cleaning up after them,” it was reported in his obituary in The New York Times. “His pet, “Mr Dahl announced in a flash of inspiration, caused him no such trouble. “I have a pet rock,” he explained. And the rest, as they say, is history.


My son, Benjamin, recently chided me:  “You’re NOT watching the ISS?”  (International Space Station) So while he was here over Easter weekend, he showed me and WOW is this way cool. When it’s in daylight, there are THREE cameras beaming back photos of the earth. Now how cool is this??  And of course it’s free.  Google “HDEV”  or type the entire website:


Did I include this before?

The Genealogist and Her Son–a Little Genealogy Humor

A widow had “discovered” genealogy and found it a great way to occupy some of her spare time in her retirement. She spent some money, but was judicious in what she spent and was not in any danger of frittering away her retirement. In fact, she stayed well within her genealogy budget.

Her son, thinking that his mother was spending too much time “looking for dead people,” constantly berated her for it and criticized her for spending too much money.

She finally told him that since her genealogy work bothered him so much, she had decided to develop a new past time that might cost less. The local tavern had a weekly “ladies’ night” and she was hopeful that she’d meet a man there would could be her son’s stepfather.

He never complained about genealogy again.


Interesting tidbit from THE WEEK (a new news magazine) 27 Feb 2015:  “An Indian optometrist has given his elite clients a new way to flaunt their wealth: contact lenses that turn eyes a glimmering gold. Mumbai-based Dr. C.C. said he came up with the idea for the 24-karat eyewear, which sells for up to $18,000 a pair, after his wife had diamonds implanted in her teeth, making him realize that people were prepared to put bling on almost every part of their body. Dr. C. says that anyone who looks into a wearer’s gold eyes will be “mesmerized.”  Will you be ordering a pair??


Would a picture of the ship that carried your ancestors to America be something you would like to have?  ShipIndex offers just that service.  Do check it out………. this was their 18 March newsletter.

Current Site Statistics’s premium database currently contains:

  • 3,389,829 citations
  • approx 400 resources

These stats are current as of 3/18/2015, and are guaranteed to keep increasing.

Contact Information
You can contact us, and stay in touch, via several paths: March 2015 UpdateWe’ve got trailers! Every movie has a trailer. Video games have trailers. Even books have trailers these days, which I find incredibly weird. has some neat new videos, which I will call trailers, just because. Check ’em out below, and let me know what you think.Calling All Academics… is headed to the Association of College & Research Libraries conference next week, in Portland, Oregon. If you are at a college or university and think ShipIndex would be useful to your colleagues and students, please take a moment to ask your librarians to come by booth 168 and learn about We can show them how it will help you and them, and how can be incorporated into library discovery tools, so maritime history is an important part of what students discover.

And Genealogists…

Next month, we’re heading to the New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, April 15-19. Peter will give a talk about searching for ships, and we’ll have lots of great information at our booth, as well. And, you’ll have a chance to win a full year of access to the premium database, so keep an eye out for that!
ShipIndex TrailerClick on the link below to see our new video; more will follow.

New Content

Over two dozen resources were added since the last newsletter. We’ve been focusing on a lot of great monographic content, and have tons more still to add.

Rather than list them all here, you can see a list of them on the blog site:

All our content is always listed on the Resources page, and content added in the last 45 days has a “NEW!” logo next to it.
Research Webinars

We plan to start offering webinars on how to research specific ships. These will go well beyond the resources available in ShipIndex, and will highlight all kinds of resources, from logbooks to ship registries, and much, much more. Each live webinar will have a limited number of seats, and will have question and answer opportunities, as well. All webinars will be run by Peter McCracken, ShipIndex’s publisher. Peter has a Masters in Library Science from the University of North Carolina, and a Masters in Maritime History from East Carolina University, so is uniquely able to combine these two fields into efficient and effective research on ships. The webinars will not be free, but when you sign up, you’ll also receive access to the complete ShipIndex database for a set amount of time – and you’ll get a ton of hints about how best to use the database. If you’d like to learn more about the webinars, and be notified when they begin, please send a note to

Institutional Subscribers

I believe strongly that ShipIndex is a valuable tools for libraries and museums. Academic libraries can be sure that their students, faculty, and staff have access to great resources in maritime history. Public librariescan help genealogists find valuable new information about their ancestors.

If you think ShipIndex would be helpful in your library, please tell your librarian! And if we get a trial set up for them you’ll have access to the full database, at no charge! We always welcome a chance to set up a trial for appropriate institutions. Setting up trials is very easy. Just ask the librarian to get in touch with us and we’ll do the rest.Thanks for reading! Until next time…


This was in a recent newsletter (Vita Brevis) from NEHGS (New England Historic Genealogical Society).  I think the talk will morph into a book. I think it would be fabulous reading!

Many hands, many cradles

by Alicia Crane Williams

Detail of The Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Mass. Dec. 22nd 1620, lithograph by Currier & Ives. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

I’m in the middle of doing some research for a lecture that I’ll be giving in April at NEHGS entitled “The Hand that Rocked the Cradle.” It will use an informal statistical sampling of the women who have been included in the Early New England Families Study Project so far to see if we can form any general pictures about these ladies and their families. Preliminary statistics are interesting.

The gross totals: 88 women who had 116 husbands, 608 children (an average of about 7 each) and 174 step-children. I think that is what they call “populating a wilderness!”

On average these women were born about 1620, came to New England about 1636 (about age 16), were married for the first time about 1640 (age 20), and lived to about 1682 (age 62). Those who had multiple marriages averaged age 41 for the second marriage (22 women), 46 for the third (4 women), and 42 for the fourth (1 woman).

The youngest at first marriage was 15, oldest at first marriage, 32. The woman who lived to the greatest age was 97, and the one who died the youngest was 21.

These women were wives, mostly, of the second generation Great Migration sons who came to New England with their parents, and, themselves, came to New England during the Great Migration with their own families, or as servants to extended family or to families who were often neighbors in their society or church at home.

An example of an “average” woman in this group is Elizabeth (Baker) (Watkins) Hudson. She was younger than average when she came to New England, only 3 when her parents Alexander and Elizabeth Baker came to Boston, but she married first to Thomas Watkins at about age 20 and had seven children before being widowed at age 57. She was 63 when she married her second husband, Francis Hudson (who was 77), as his second wife (his first having died the year before), and became step-mother to his four grown children. Elizabeth died two years later at age 65.

For me the most interesting statistic is the average birth year of these women, 1620. They were born, almost literally, as the Pilgrims were stepping on Plymouth Rock, and their entire childhoods would have been spent among families talking about, planning, and executing their removal from the old world to the new. They would have had no choice about coming to New England, but did they see it as a great adventure or were they sulking teenagers? I know that I would have been one of the sulking teenagers. I get seasick and I hate sleeping on any mattress but my own.


Stevens County is just north of Spokane County. A local little Stevens County newspaper is “Huckleberry Press” because those delicious berries do grow in the mountains in Stevens County. Always included in this rag are “Fresh Chuckleberries….. warning! Not to be taken internally, literally, or seriously!”  Here are some “chuckleberries” for you:

When we are not happy with others we are not happy with ourselves.

We have all heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away but an onion a day will keep everyone away.

As humans we need some food, some sun, some work and someone.

The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.

The good ole’ days are memories with the pain or embarrassment forgotten.

If the going starts to feel like it’s too easy, you might be going down hill.

Money can buy a dob, but only love will make his tail wag.

Forbidden fruit makes for a very bad jam.