Friday, November 25, 2011

Lambert Eckerson-Harriet Graves marriage, 1848

     It's easy to collect masses of data about a family when doing genealogical research, and I'm among the guilty.  Too often, we are seduced by finding a pedigree chart online, and are tempted to accept it as fact.  Or, information gets copied over and over into various books and articles, many of which cite no sources.  The trick is to determine how much of what we stumble across can be backed up with primary evidence.  A case in point is the marriage of my ancestors, Lambert Eckerson and Harriet Graves.  A large file found online under the title "John Graves, 1635 Settler of Concord, MA and His Descendants, has some excellent clues.  Among them is the statement: "Harriet Graves, b. 20 July 1825, m. Lambert Eckerson (of Pike, NY), 1854, d. 5 Oct. 1880."  I can imagine that this information has found its way into dozens of family group sheets and publications, some of which I've collected.  However, a closer look can reveal a better result.
    During an era when marriage records were kept in many states at the county level, New York has few examples.  There are, however, a few pleasant exceptions.  A quote from the New Horizons Genealogy website states the following:   "New York State enacted a law in 1847 to require school districts to record Vital Records including birth, marriage and death records within their districts. However, some areas completely ignored the law and others adhered to it, but generally did not keep complete records, even for the years that were recorded. Unfortunately this law was terminated in 1849."
   A trip to Wyoming County in the year 2000 revealed how valuable making an on-site visit can be.  Among the holdings I was l was a slim volume of marriage records kept during the late 1840s.  Sometimes miracles DO happen:  the last entry for the year 1848,  was the marriage of Lambert Eckerson to Harriet Graves, on December 24.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mystery classroom, Wenatchee, Chelan Co., WA, 1911

This post card emerged from a collection of materials in my mother's possession, who was born in Lewis County, Washington.  I assume this post card must have been enclosed in a letter to one of her relatives in 1911.  No idea who the people are, but it is interesting to see.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

At last...Lord Baltimore cake

     A feature of my growing-up years was the ancient copy of the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook in our house.  Now, I don't remember my mother actually cooking out of this book, but I certainly remember spending quite a bit of time browsing through it.  I thought it must have been a wedding present to my parents in 1945, but I see now that the publishing date for this copy is 1947.  The one thing that captured my attention at the time, and stayed with me for decades, was the recipe for Lord Baltimore cake...don't ask me why.  I must have been 8 or 9 years old, to have been able to comprehend the list of ingredients and instructions.  At that age, they seemed pretty complicated.  While my mother was an excellent cook, our normal method of cake-baking involved a boxed mix, which we prepared and ate happily.
     I later embarked on serious genealogical research, beginning in 1980.  Along the way, I discovered that one branch of my father's family descends from a huge number of Catholic ancestors, who settled in Maryland during the 1600s.  Among their surnames are Boarman, Boone, Edelen, Simpson, Mathews, Logsdon, Pile, Riney and so on.  The colony was created  by the Catholic Sir George Calvert, and passed to his son Cecil Calvert, both of whom carried the title Lord Baltimore.
     Flash forward to the present:  for some years now, I've been in possession of that old red cookbook.  I decided I'd waited long enough, and finally created a Lord Baltimore cake.  While not as monumental a task as I'd imagined all those years ago, it was no mix out of a box!  Three layers, chopped filling ingredients, and a sink full of dishes later, it was finished!  With seven egg yolks in the batter, it had a pretty firm texture, but was delicious.  Since I'm not a fan of the thick frosting called for, I made a thin glaze instead.
     A quick check of possible origins of the Lord Baltimore cake suggests that it might have come from a Charleston, SC tea room at the turn of the 20th century.  But don't burst my bubble:  I'd much rather believe that my kid self knew that it was somehow much more significant!

Charles A. Ives Property

View of the Charles Abrastus Ives property, Ford's Prairie, Lewis County, Washington.  July, 2011.