Showing posts with label family history humor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family history humor. Show all posts

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Character and the Cornstalk - Friday Funny

There is no doubt in my mind that Henry Meinzen was a character.  The kind of character who does unusual, even slightly odd, things.  The guy you love because he's sweetly, funnily, or endearingly different.  He earns the status of character for several reasons. 

Henry is the guy who immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 29 in 1866, then four years later, at the age of 32, had the audacity to claim a 17-year-old immigrant from England as his bride.  (The marriage lasted until her death 50 years later.)

Henry tickled the funny bones of his young grandchildren causing laughter and giggles at bedtime.  The noise brought their mother to silence them but just moments later they erupted again in joyful glee at Henry's humor. 

Henry grew plants, a common enough activity for men of his generation.  What's uncommon is the size of some of the plants and what he did with them.  Perhaps Henry was a show-off and wanted to broadcast the success of his gardening skills.  Maybe he was just full of himself.  Or his intent could have been to share the surprise, wonder, and joy of his out-sized plants.  Here are two examples.  You decide.

In October, 1898, Henry harvested a 6-pound white radish.  Did he take it home to eat it or did he sell it?  No.  He took it to the the office of the local newspaper where they put it on display in their window then published a notice about it the newspaper to call attention to it.  Henry must have been tickled pink.  Or was he just pleased that others could enjoy this extravagance of nature, too?

A year later, in September, 1899, the prize of Henry's garden was a cornstalk.  Not just
any cornstalk, mind you.  This cornstalk, at twelve feet, 4 inches, was nearly two and half times taller than Henry.  He had to look nearly to the sky see its tassle.  Think him transporting it from the farm to town then toting it into the Herald-Star office.  I imagine Henry felt surprise and wonder at the size of his corn plants.

That "Another." at the top of the note about the cornstalk causes me to wonder how often Henry took bounty from his garden to show off at the Herald-Star office.  Will I find "One More" or "A Third" brief note about a heart-shaped beet, a 3-legged carrot, or some other wonder from Henry's garden?  If he grew it and took it to the newspaper office and a note about it was published, I hope I find it.

These two notes from the newspaper were tiny paragraphs in fine print in the midst of long columns of other tiny notes.  I doubt I would ever have found them without the aid of OCR.  But here they are, found and shared.  I hope they either give you a chuckle of amusement or cause you to shake your head in wonder at a man who showed off his unusual produce.

As for me, I'm still chuckling at the character who is my great-grandfather, Henry Meinzen.


Copyright © 2014 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 25, 2014

BOOK:  New Technology - Friday Funny

Announcing the new Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge device (BOOK).  The BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology:  no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on.  It's so easy to use even a child can operate it.  Just lift its cover!

Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere -- even sitting in an armchair by the fire -- yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.   Here's how it works....

Each BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information.  These pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binding which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence.

Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs in half.  Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now BOOKs with more information simply use more pages.  This makes them thicker and harder to carry, and has drawn some criticism from the mobile computing crowd.

Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly to your brain.  A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet.  The BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it.  The BOOK never crashes and never needs rebooting, though like other display devices it can become unusable if dropped overboard.  The "browse" features allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish.  Many come with an "index" feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.

An optional "BOOKmark" accessory allows you to open the BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session -- even if the BOOK has been closed.  BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers.   Conversely, numerous bookmarks can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once.  The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK.

You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with an optional programming tool, the Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus (PENCILS).

Portable, durable, and affordable, the BOOK is being hailed as the entertainment wave of the future.  The BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform.

Look for a flood of new titles soon.

I have been unable to discover who wrote this announcement but it came to me via email at least 15 years ago.  BOOKs have become my favorite reading device since my early discovery of them.  I use them for leisure reading and for research and study, especially for family history.  I'm especially fond of PENCILS for making notes in less permanent BOOKs such as noteBOOKs and journals.

How about you?  Are you a BOOKs fan or do you favor some other form of reading device?

Image courtesy of kshelton at Pixabay.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rules for Our Ancestors - or - How to Confuse Your Descendants

  1. Thou shalt name your male children: James, John, Joseph, Josiah, Abel, Richard, Thomas, William.  
  2. Thou shalt name your female children: Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, Maria, Sarah, Ida, Virginia, May. 
  3. Thou shalt leave NO trace of your female children. 
  4. Thou shalt, after naming your children from the above lists, call them by strange nicknames such as: Ike, Eli, Polly, Dolly, Sukey, making them difficult to trace. 
  5. Thou shalt NOT use any middle names on any legal documents or census reports, and only where necessary, you may use only initials on legal documents. 
  6. Thou shalt learn to sign all documents illegibly so that your surname can be spelled, or misspelled, in various ways: Hicks, Hickes, Hix, Hixe, Hucks, Kicks. 
  7. Thou shalt, after no more then 3 generations, make sure that all family records are lost, misplaced, burned in a court house fire, or buried so that NO future trace of them can be found.
  8. Thou shalt propagate misleading legends, rumors, & vague innuendo regarding your place origination. 
    a. You may have come from: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales....or Iran.
    b. You may have American Indian ancestry of the______tribe......
    c. You may have descended from one of 3 brothers that came over from______.
  9. Thou shalt leave NO cemetery records or headstones with legible names. 
  10. Thou shalt leave NO family Bible with records of birth, marriages, or deaths. 
  11. Thou shalt ALWAYS flip thy name around. If born James Albert, thou must make all the rest of thy records in the names of Albert, AJ, JA, AL, Bert, Bart, or Alfred. 
  12. Thou must also flip thy parents' names when making reference to them, although "Unknown" or a blank line is an acceptable alternative. 
  13. Thou shalt name at least 5 generations of males, and dozens of their cousins, with identical names in order to totally confuse researchers.
Note: Several of my ancestors may possibly have collaborated on these rules and enforced them among many others of my ancestors. Gotta love those ancestors! .

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Little Genealogy Silliness

I first heard "I Am My Own Grampa" at an outdoor evening performance several summers ago in Nauvoo, Illinois. It sounds preposterous, and perhaps it really is, but I thought this little video demonstrates its possibility quite simply. If true, it certainly would be a genealogist's nightmare filling out family groups sheets and pedigree charts! Enjoy.

And here are the lyrics should you want to figure out the relationships or sing along.

I Am My Own Grampa
by Dwight Latham and Moe Jaffe

Many, many years ago
When I was twenty-three
I got married to a widow
Who was pretty as could be.

This widow had a grown up daughter
With flowing hair of red.
My father fell in love with her
And soon the two were wed.

This made my dad my son-in-law
And changed my very life.
Now my daughter was my mother,
For she was my father's wife.

To complicate the matter
Although it brought me joy,
I soon became the father
Of a bouncing baby boy.

My little baby then became
A brother-in-law to dad,
And so became my uncle,
Though it made me very sad.

For if he was my uncle,
then that also made him brother
To the widow's grown up daughter,
Who of course was my step-mother.

Father's wife then had a son
Who kept them on the run,
And he became my grandson
For he was my daughter's son.

My wife is now my mother's mother
And it makes me blue
Because although she is my wife,
She's now my grandma too.

If my wife is my grandmother,
Then I am her grandchild
And every time I think of it
It simply drives me wild.

For now I have become
The strangest case you ever saw,
As the husband of my grandmother,
I am my own grandpa!
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