Wednesday Nostalgia

What’s better than German Chocolate Cake? Nothing much, eh? Did you know it did not originate in Germany?? Nope, not a “German food.”

“German chocolate” was developed by an English/American baker, Samuel German, in 1852. The Baker’s Chocolate Company used Samuel German’s creation of a dark baking chocolate to ultimately develop a recipe for a chocolate-coconut cake. On 3 Jun 1957, a recipe for “German’s Chocolate Cake appeared as the “Recipe of the Day” in The Dallas Morning News. It was created by Mrs. George Clay, a homemaker from Dallas.”

General Foods, which owned the Baker’s brand at the time, took notice and distributed the cake recipe to other newspapers and sales of Baker’s Chocolate are said to have skyrocketed. The possessive form (German’s) was dropped in subsequent publications forming the “German Chocolate Cake” identity and giving the false impression of a German origin.”

(Thanks to both Wikipedia and Der Ahnenforscher, newsletter of the German Genealogy Group ( ……. to which you might want to subscribe iffen you have German roots and not just a love of German Chocolate Cake.0



Wednesday Nostalgia

Do you YouTube? If you don’t, and you consider yourself a genealogist, you should. It’s a free resource, so why not?

Yes, there are plenty of funny cat or dog videos, “Wal-Martians,” how-to-cook-anything videos, travel logs, beginning crochet, wood carving and darling baby videos.

Of course there are “black” things to view; just do not go there. They won’t pop up unless you ask for them.

Did you know there are channels on YouTube? You can click to view a list of whatever topic you want………. and that includes genealogy! Ancestry! How tos! History of any topic you can think of!! FamilySearch!

You’ve heard the phrase, Try it you’ll like it! This applies to YouTube too. Do give it a try.

Wednesday Nostalgia

In this month of thinking turkey, here’s a question for you: How many kinds or species of turkey are there? The answer surprised me.

This image (from Wikipedia) is of a Mexican turkey. Other sorts are Eastern Wild Turkey (what we’re familiar with), Osceola Wild Turkey or Florida Wild Turkey, Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Merriam’s Wild Turkey and Gould’s Wild Turkey.

Wild turkeys are found in 49 of the 50 states (all except Alaska). They can be seen from southern Canada to southern Mexico. Many species have also been introduced into Europe and New Zealand. Turkeys are able to live in many different areas, including in the forests on the edge of suburban areas.

Here’s some bits that will win you the $10,000 prize: A bunch of turkeys is called a rafter. A baby turkey is called a poult. And when writing to refer to a rafter of turkeys it is turkeys not turkies.

Think your ancestors ate turkey???? 

Wednesday Nostalgia

As you probably know by now, I’m fascinated by names. Especially names from long ago. They cause me pause (why did the parents chose that particular name?) and cause me to laugh. (Sorry, ancestors.)

Here are some I’ve gleaned recently:

Zymetta Phillips 1875, m. Joan Abston

Onesephorus Masch, had dau, Hannah, b, 1757, Boston

Aylett Waller, m. Miss Armstead

Lorcufo Phillips

Maphibosheth Marsh, original settler of NJ

Truman Derastus Phillips, b. 1731, PA

Zalmuna Phillips, 1804-1883, m. Eunice Cobb

Lerias Phillips, m. 1816 Elizabeth Smith

Please use the comment box below to share some of the more unusual names from your pedigree. 

Wednesday Nostalgia

Know what this is? It’s Solanum tuberosum…… does that help?? Does this?

Washington is known for its apples but did you realize that potatoes in Washington have a much longer history. Back in 1792, Salvador Fidalgo, a Spanish marine explorer, supervised the planting of the first garden in Washington (by white folks) at Neah Bay. He used potato starts brought from San Blas, Mexico. The crop yielded enough to feed his crew.  Then in 1795, Englishmen planted potatoes near present-day Ilwaco. In 1825, Fort Astoria had a “promising crop” of potatoes. Didn’t take long for farmer-settlers to realize that Washington’s fertile soil would yield bounteous potato crops; “many a farmer reported harvesting potatoes that weighed eight to ten pounds and tasted far better than cake or ice cream.”

“Read all about” this subject in the Fall 1996 issue of Columbia a magazine of northwest history. I’m gleaning from an article by Jacqueline Williams.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Know what this is? U.S. census takers, as well as Lewis & Clark in their journals, used one of these.

This is a replica of a quill pen, a writing instrument from long ago. I spotted these in the gift shop of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls, Montana. Maybe they were “true” and maybe just “for tourists,” but they looked very difficult to use ….. and what a broad line they would make.

quill pen is a writing implement made from a moulted flight feather (preferably a primary wing-feather) of a large bird. Quills were used for writing with ink before the invention of the dip pen, the metal-nibbed pen, the fountain pen, and, eventually, the ballpoint pen. The hand-cut goose quill is rarely used as a calligraphy tool, because many papers are now derived from wood pulpand wear down the quill very quickly. However, it is still the tool of choice for a few scribes who noted that quills provide an unmatched sharp stroke as well as greater flexibility than a steel pen.  (Thank you, Wikipedia.)


Wednesday Nostalgia

In rural southeast Spokane County there are three cemeteries with nearly the same name: Mica Cemetery, Mica Peak Cemetery, and Mica Creek Cemetery. They all date back 100 years ago. One is weed-overgrown and two are dry-mowed tidy. This is wheat farming country, big time.  Since they’re all on Elder Road, on the way to Lake Coeur d’Alene, of course I had to stop and roam around.

And of course the stories behind the stones captured my mind. Little baby boy Homer Jay Kidwell  was only three years old when he died that cold winter of 1913.  His baby brother or sister apparently died without even a name at the age of only one month in that hot summer of  1906. Think of the expense and effort to place a tombstone on the grave of those little boys! Sigh.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Remember the awful-terrible-horrendous fires near Manson and Chelan a couple of years ago? My long-time friend Maureen White accomplished something too many of us only think about or maybe talk about. She went about interviewing her Manson-Chelan neighbors, collecting their memories of that memorable day and had them all published in a book.

Titled Burned Out,  Maureen created a tangible memory-artifact for those who lost their homes or just lived through that awful-terrible day. Big Special Kudos, Maureen (proud member of the Chelan Valley Genealogical Society)!!

Wednesday Nostalgia

Ever taken the time to visit the Mukilteo Lighthouse on the waterfront down from Everett? It’s been there since 1906 (Everett was founded in the 1860s). The area has been turned into a lovely little public park and if I lived closer I’d go often! Luck you Everett-and-nearby folks.

Wednesday Nostalgia

All my Wenatchee friends kept talking about “the Pybus” as in “it’s happening at the Pybus” or “let’s go to lunch at the Pybus.” What the heck was the Pybus I wondered??

The Pybus is a thriving, vibrant community center in downtown Wenatchee! There are shops and eateries….a totally fun place. And what a transformation from an old steel-plant-warehouse.

E.T.Pybus was reared in northern England, immigrated early to the U.S., married in the Midwest, and ultimately moved his family west, settling in Wenatchee in 1911 where he founded a steel manufacturing plant. If you want to know more (and there is lots more!) just Google his name. I found two most interesting articles outlining his life and career.

E.T. “Tom” Pybus lies resting in the Wenatchee City Cemetery. I wonder how wide his eyes would pop open to see the transformation of his business into our businesses………..