Thursday, June 21, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday ~ Brush and Mirror

This brush and mirror set belonged to my grandmother, Blanche Theora Barker Piggott Dunn. It now sits on my mother's dresser.  It used to sit on grandma's dresser.

As a child, each new visit to grandma's would start with an exploration of the house. You know how snoopy kids are.  I'm sure there were new discoveries to be made whether it was something new, or something I hadn't noticed yet.

This brush and mirror set was always in it's place sitting on the dresser.  I remember thinking that they looked like something that a movie star would use in an old black and white movie. So you know I had to play the part. With mirror and brush in hand I would sit on grandma's bed.  There was no fancy chair to sit on like the movie star had.  I would look into the mirror and brush my hair.

I didn't feel like a movie star.  Probably because my hair was so short - grr!  It did feel awkward however.  The handle was so long.  I decided that it was not meant to really brush your hair, but to sit there and look pretty.

This is but one of many family treasures that teleport me back in time as if I was actually there.

Leslie Ann

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge ~ F

F is for the funny names that I/you/we encounter in doing genealogy and family history research.

Normally I would use one of the following synonyms to describe these names:

  • absurd
  • amusing
  • ludicrous
  • humdinger
But since we are using the letter f, I am calling them funny. Actually, some of these names I would refer to as just plain awful.  Hey, I know, let's just have fun with names.

There are some first names that can actually be clues to your ancestors ethnic origins, religions, educational and social backgrounds. An excellent resource on names in history is Given Names in Early America: Shaped by history, religion and traditions, by Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG.

If you have done or seen any research for LDS families you should recognize the obvious first names of Moroni, Brigham, Nephi or Lehi.  But I had no idea there were other first names that were dead giveaways for being from Utah until I found this site: The Utah Baby Namer.  You should read some of these names.  You will be dumbfounded, I'm not kidding! 

Just to name a few, here are some oddball Utah (or LDS) names from my database:

Girls -  Rinda, Givette, Deola, Printha, Capitola, Orbie, Nithell.

Boys - Taggert, Rondo, Mardee, Levoir, Rulon, Purtell, Clytie, Welcome.  

And let's not forget husband and wife Worthen and Werdna.

There are also folks who like to name their children using some kind of a theme, like the parents of Ian, Ida, and Ira. I am all for giving your maiden name to your son for a middle name, but if your maiden name is Bridges why name your son Golden?  And just what was Daisy Fern's mother thinking?

If you have Puritans in your ancestry, you will recognize some of these names: Peleg, Mehitable, Patience, Experience, Gershom, or even Reliance.  And then there was poor Preserved Fish.  Really?  What were his parents thinking? I don't care what century you are living in the kids are going to pick on him for that.  So what else does Preserved do but turn around and subject his son to the same fate.  Who are we kidding?  It was probably Mrs. Fish's doing.

There are also names that seem to be distinct for the Appalachian areas Missouri, Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina such as Pleasant, Larkin, Ransom, Greenberry, Littleberry, Fielding, Micajah, Benajah, and Hezekiah for boys. For girls there is Orpha, Oney, Mourning, Pairlee, Orlena, and Urbanna.  I even found a Leafy.

Some folks named their children after famous people or politicians.  I bet every American has a George Washington something in their ancestry.  There are also several James Madisons, Andrew Jacksons, and Benjamin Franklins. Even a couple of James K Polk somethings.  But how many Buster Browns are there? I know of one.

I don't think I have run across funny or unusual names in researching England or Wales. Do you know of any?  What are some of your unusual names?

Thanks for playing fun with names.

Leslie Ann

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - George Cannon Piggott

This obituary clipping was among the ephemera that I scanned while I was back home in Idaho last November.  I don't know which newspaper it came from, but it was a Utah paper.

George was my great-uncle.

Cannon Piggott

Providence, Utah - George Cannon Piggott , 94 died May 20, 1982, at his son's home in Providence, Utah.

He was born June 7,  1887, in Bloomington, Idaho, a son of William Henry and Elizabeth Cannon Piggott. He married Theo Enid Hayward Oct. 31, 1912, in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple. She died June 18, 1969.

He was a retired carpenter, and had lived in Bloomington and Providence.  He was an active member of the LDS Church, having served as a ward clerk and Sunday School teacher in the Bloomington ward. At the time of his death, he was high priest in the Bloomington Ward.  He also served the ward Sunday School Presidency.

Survivors include one son and two daughters, Ray H. Piggott, Providence; Mrs. Emron ( Norma) Robinson, Kanab;  Mrs. Arthur (Noreen) Brownell, Ogden; 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Wednesday at 1 p.m. in the Bloominngton Ward Chapel with Bishop Richard Stoker officiating. Burial was in the Bloomington Cemetery.

 Leslie Ann

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sepia Saturday ~ The Goodbye Kiss

I know I have posted this photo before, but when I saw the photo for this week's Sepia Saturday I couldn't resist using it again.

The woman in this photo is my great-grandmother Hazel Madsen Piggott. She is kissing her husband, my great grandfather William Cannon Piggott.

It looks to me like he is just leaving for work and she is giving him a kiss for the road.  And I am sure she wished him a good day.

The icing on the cake here is the word  "caught" written on the bottom.  I wish I knew who wrote it and if it was written at the time the photo was taken, or did someone add it years later?

Come to think of it, it looks like something one of her sisters would inscribe.  I have had the privilege of reading some of the postcards she sent to grandma Hazel.

The little boy holding what looks to be a hat is my grandfather William Madsen Piggott.  They called him "Matt". The older gentleman looking away is Charles Edwards Taylor. He is grandpa Will's uncle.

My uncle emailed this to me a while back so I have never seen or got to hold the original, but it's still very precious to me.

Leslie Ann

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Elusive Thomas Smedley

Since my recent discovery that my great-grandfather Thomas Joynes Smedley helped to invent an improved drain-tile machine I have turned my attention to his father, Thomas Smedley.  He has been a very hard fellow to track down.  If you read the Madness Monday post I did on him quite a while ago, you will get a taste of why I did a happy dance when I uncovered some information about him last week.

I found his name among a list of insolvent debtors published in The London Gazette. He was scheduled to appear at the "Court-House, at Nottingham, in the County of Nottingham, on the 25th day of October 1834 at Ten o'Clock in the Forenoon precisely."

The London Gazette, 3 October 1834, page 20
This little morsel is important because it puts him in Lincoln and in Harby connecting him with a wife and two children that no one knew he had.

Then I ran a search for him in the Gazette just in case there was more info to be had.....and there was!  November 15, 1842 he gave notice that he intended to petition for bankruptcy.

The London Gazette, 22 Nov 1842, page 14

Not only was he a brick and tile maker, but according to this ad he was also a Beer Housekeeper.

I found his name once more in  the Gazette.  A Richard Nash mentioned Thomas in his petition for bankruptcy advertisement.

London Gazette 17 Nov 1846, page 42

From this I learned that Thomas Smedley was in co-partnership with Richard Nash as a Brick Maker at Openshaw, Lancaster County.

I wanted to know if my great-great grandfather was actually in jail for being in debt.  I found my answer when Google lead me to Parliamentary Papers, Volume 44:

I never really thought that I would find something about an ancestor who lived in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, and newly discovered Lancaster in a London newspaper. So let that be a lesson.  If your ancestors are news worthy, they could be published anywhere.

Leslie Ann

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge ~ E

E is for ephemera.


    noun (plural) /əˈfem(ə)rə/ 

    1. Things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time

      • Items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity

    Ephemera can be a very important part of family history.  I am lucky enough to have had a great-grandmother that saved all kinds of ephemera.  She saved postcards, letters, genealogy notes, greeting cards, even an old embroidery catalog, and of course photos.

    If she hadn't saved these things, I would never have known about the mystery man in her life before she married my great-grandfather. I also learned quite a bit from this 1918 letter she received about the death of her brother.

    I was also lucky enough to find a shoe box full of ephemera that my grandma Smedley had saved.  This ephemera included tax papers, letters, court documents, mortgage receipts, etc.

    So you've got to know by now that I save everything. See, I have this little treasure box full of old movie tickets, wristbands, and even airline tickets.  They are little pieces of my life and I know that someday at least one of my descendants will jump up and down to have them.

    You can also make awesome scrapbooks with your ephemera.

    The following is a list (but not limited to) of ephemera you should look to for clues in discovering your family history as well as saving for your future descendants:

    • Postcards
    • Letters
    • Documents
    • News clippings
    • Wedding, birth, and graduation announcements
    • Funeral cards
    • Greeting Cards
    • Event tickets or programs
    • Airline tickets
    • Pay Stubs
    • Receipts
    • Recipe cards
    • Business cards
    • Newsletters
    • Etc.
    And don't forget the napkins!

    So now it's your turn to join  Gould's 'Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge' and tell me what you think stands for.

    Leslie Ann

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Amanuensis Monday - Thomas Joynes Smedley in the News

    Many years ago my grandmother wrote a history about my great-grandfather Thomas Joynes Smedley entitled, HISTORY OF THOMAS JOYNES SMEDLEY (The Pioneer Brick Maker of Bear Lake County) by Grace Ellen Poulsen Smedley (Wife of Calvin B. Smedley, Thomas' Eldest Son, of Thomas Joynes' Second Family).

    I am not going to share the whole history at this time because it includes some erroneous information; and I have discovered so much more about him since then.  Eventually I will write a new history about him, but right now I would like to share the news article extractions that she included.

         A few years ago, his daughter Lillian Beck while working in the Geneology Library in Montpelier found some old Paris Posts, that used to be published in Paris. At one time it was called the "Southern Idaho Independent." She found several articles in them telling more about him and she copied them off.  So I will put them in as they appeared in the paper, as they tell things about his life better than I can.

    Jan. 18, 1889 Southern Idaho Independent
         T. J. Smedley Justice of the Peace, filed bonds and took Oath of office Jan 14th at Comissioner's meeting.

         Legal summons dated 17 Oct. 1883 to J.C. Rich v.s. Chris Nelson by T.J. Smedley, Justice of the Peace, Southern Idaho Independent, Robert Spence Publisher.

         T.J. Smedley was also mentioned in Commissioner's Proceedings: 1877, 1879, 1886, 1889, 1890, 1902, 1905, 1906 as J. P.
         In the voluntary retirement of Judge Smedley to private life , the Parisians lose an upright and honorable Judge. In the delicate position he has occupied as a judge between his fellow citizens, he has judged righteously or as nearly so as the evidence would justify, and has won the respect and esteem of all who know him. From Nov. 28, 1890 Southern Idaho Independent

          T.J. Smedley also served as register 1890, 1905. He was President of Pioneer Irrigation Co. 1905, 1906.  He also served on jury duty at times 1903, 1904. He advertized fresh lime from 1887-1909.

    Dec. 30, 1910 Paris Post
         T.J. Smedley furnished brick for Sydney Stevens Brick Block in Montpelier.

    Aug. 5, 1910 Paris Post
         Mrs. McDermott of Clinton is visiting Mr. & Mrs. T.J. Smedley and other relatives.

    July 10, 1908 Paris Post
         T.J. Smedley , the hale and hearty old timer happened into the Post Sanctum Tuesday long enough to announce that he had just completed burning a kiln of 100,000 bricks. Mr Smedley is the type of old resident who has worked hard to develop the resources of the valley. He has enough brick on hand to supply the valley and will produce more as demand warrants.

    Oct. 9, 1908
         T.J. Smedley, the well known brick dealer has produced 300,000 fine brick this year and has furnished brick for a number of fine buildings including about 130,000 for the Academy, 15,000 for Abel S. Rich, 180, 000 for St. Charles Meeting House and about 45,000 for the Bern School House. Mr. Smedley has found it necessary on account of increasing expenses of other commodities to advance the price to $9.00 per thousand. Mr. Smedley makes an excellent quality of brick.

    In Nov. 1908 Election T.J. Smedley received 1 vote for County Superintendant of public Instruction.

         T.J. Smedley has sold to Vincent Furniture Company of Montpelier 110, 000 brick for their fine new building to be erected during the spring ( Mar. 4, 1909) Twenty four teams are hauling brick from T.J. Smedley's brick yard . For our new meeting house and the work work of building this beautiful structure is progressing rapidly.

    May 21, 1909 Paris Post   Gruesome Find at Paris Brick Yard
          While scraping dirt at the Smedley Brick Yard , Percy Buck uncovered bones of a woman and a child . There was no flesh , no clothing and nothing to indicate the length of time the remains had been buried. The bones were turned over to Dr. Ashley, who stated that they were probably buried before the advent of white men. The teeth are in good condition. The bones were discovered at a depth of about two feet.

    Nov. 11, 1910 Paris Post
          Two haystacks containing thirty five tons of hay were burned down on the ranch of T.J. Smedley last Sunday. It was probably of incendiary origins.  

    Nov.18, 1910 T.J. Smedley awarded damages. T.J. Smedley vs W.H.Smith. Wed. Nov. 15 1910 valued at $3,000. He received judgment for the amount. A.B. Gough represented T .J. Smedley. Willis represented Smith. A plowman set fire to burn grass. It spread to the hay. 

    Amanuensis Monday is an ongoing series created by John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch.

    Leslie Ann

    Friday, June 1, 2012

    Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge ~ D

    I just made new Discoveries about my great-grandfather Thomas Joynes Smedley that I think will work nicely for the letter D.

    D is for drain-tile machine invented in Delaware!

    While running a search for Thomas Smedley on Ancestry Library Edition his name popped up in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patents, 1790-1909 database.  I thought, no that couldn't be him, but when I opened up the link and saw that the patent was for an IMPROVED MACHINE FOR MAKING DRAIN-TILES I knew it was him!  Great-gramps was an inventor! 

    I then discovered that the patent information is also available on Google Books:

    And, I also discovered an article in the Scientific American.

    The patent was dated September 25, 1865 and according to the Delaware tax assessment list for September 1865 his amount of valuation was 1287 compared to a valuation of 449 for July.  Something tells me this machine put a few more dollars in his pocket.

    So now it's your turn to join  Gould's 'Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge' and tell me what you think D stands for.

    Leslie Ann


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