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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ancestral food for the holidays

The holiday season is upon us here in the states.  Thanksgiving is this week and then there are all the holidays that fall between now and January for the countless religions found here.  One thing that always strikes me during this time, and makes me especially proud and thankful, are the service members who give up their time with their families.

After I left for college my mom would volunteer for holiday duty.  It was just her and dad, no kids at home, and even if I did show up for a visit my experience was not ruined because she pulled call at the hospital.  I got it.  She did what she did so those other doctors could have time at home with their children and make memories.

Last Thursday I gave a lecture to the Fairfax Genealogical Society on using naval records for genealogical use, particularly those from the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC).  In the course of my research for the lecture I found a little gem tucked away in their digital archives.  Menus from the 20th century of holiday and special occasion meals that were served on ships or bases.  I was in heaven for a few hours as I read through what there sailors and other personnel ate on those days so many years ago.

I love looking at the social history and this, the food, can be one of the biggest social history finds!  What our ancestors ate was nothing like what we eat today.  Something they considered staples we avoid like the plague.  Below are a few of the "Menus From Ship to Shore" I found that I thought were particularly interesting.  I hope you do too!

U.S.S. Kentucky, 1907
Thanksgiving Dinner

Oyester Soup, Crackers
Roast Turkey, Giblet Gravy
Oyster Dressing, Cranberry Sauce
Sliced Smithfield Ham
Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Corn
Green Peas, Mince Pies
Ice Cream, Fruit Cake
Apples, Bananas, Grapes
Mixed Nuts, Raisins
Cigars, Cigarettes

U.S.S. Arizona  29 November 1917
Thanksgiving Dinner

Oyster Cocktail
Soups:  Cream of Chicken, Tomato
Relishes: Celery, Sweet Pickles
Entrees: Spiced Virginia Ham, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Caper Sauce
Roasts: Princess Anne Turkey, Giblet Gravy, Oyster Dressing, Baked New Potatoes, Asparagus Tips, Cranberry Sauce
Salads: Combination Fruit, Mayonnaise
Desserts: Mince Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Oranges, Apples, Bananas, Assorted Nuts

U.S.S. Case, Navy Yard, Philadephia, PA, 1929
Thanksgiving Dinner

Roast Vermont Turkey
Sweet Pickles, Fancy Celery
Cream of Celery Soup
Giblet Gravy, Oyster Dressing
Cranberry Sauce, Creamed Pes
Candied Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes
Mince Pie
Erick Ice Cream, Cake
Mixed Nuts
Oranges, Apples
Cigars, Cigarettes
Demi Tasse

U.S.S. Craven, 24 November 1938

Thanksgiving Day

Stuffed Olives, Sweet Pickles, Sweet Relish
Cream of Tomato Soup
Roast Tom Turkey, Sage Dressing
Giblet Gravy, Cranberry Sauce
Candied Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes
Creamed Peas, Buttered Asparagus
Lettuce Tomato Salad
Ice Cream, Fruit Cake
Cigarettes, Mixed Nuts, Cigars

U.S.S Iowa, 25 November 1943
Thanksgiving Dinner

Citrus Fruit Coctail [sic] Maraschino
Hearts of Kalamazoo Celery, Pimento Stuffed Olives
California Ripe Olives
Essence of Tomato Bouillon, Lemon
Jellied Fruit Mold
French Dressing
Roast Young Vermont Turkey
Cranberry Jelly, Piquant Dressing
Giblet Gravy
Snowflake Potatoes, Mashed Sweet Potatoes
New Peas in Butter
Hot Cheese Biscuits
Old Fashioned Mince Pies

Naval Air Station Norfolk, 27 November 1958
Thanksgiving Dinner

Chilled Tomato Coup
Turkey Gumbo Soup, Backed Spiced Ham
Whole Cranberry Sauce, Hawaiian Pineapple Sauce
Apple and Rasin Bread Dressing
Country Syle Giblet Gravy
Snow White Potatoes, Candied Sweet Potatoes
Buttered Golden Grain Corn, Tender Asparagus Tips
Individual Salad Selections
Assorted Olives, Sweet Mixed Pickles
Raw Salad Bar
Hot Parker House Rolls, Butter Chips
Pumpkin Pie, Fruit Cake, Glazed Mincemeat Pie
Chilled Fresh Fruits
Assorted Mixed Nuts
Hard Candy
Cigarettes, Cigars
Hot Coffee, Fresh Milk, Chocolate Milk

Sunday, November 22, 2015

2016 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference

I will be speaking at the 2016 OGS Conference on April 28-30 in Mason, Ohio.  It looks like it will be a lot of fun and the conference program is jammed packed with many great speakers.

Book early for a great weekend at Great Wolf Lodge and I hope that I see you there!

Friday, November 20, 2015

New record releases at Find My Past

One of the perks to being a FindMyPast Ambassador is that I get to see some of the records early.  This week was an exciting week for me.  While I am still trying to figure out where many of my UK ancestors came from, the record sets this time are actually helping me with my husband's family.  

Make sure you check out what they are releasing for FindMyPast Friday (shown below).  If you have ancestors from England, Ireland, Scotland, or Wales you are sure to see something that gets your attention!

From FMP:

This week, we're releasing a variety of fascinating UK collections including almost 10,000 volumes of England & Wales electoral registers, now browsable online for the first time. We're also bringing you military records, social history, and a large update to our newspapers. With so much to explore, you're bound to find something on your British family.

We've added over 3.8 million new records and newspaper articles including:

England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1832-1932, Image Browse
Browse over 5.4 million images containing approximately 220 million names to find your family between the censuses. Discover where they lived, the property they owned or lean about the history of your local area.
Find your ancestors before they came to America »

British Newspapers
We're debuting 11 brand new publications and have bolstered another 43 titles with additional articles and years.
Paint a picture of the life your ancestor lived »

British In Argentina, 1914-1919
This book contains information and photographs of British volunteers from Argentina who went back home to serve their country in World War I.
See who answered the call of duty »

Additional Social & Institutional Records from Devon, England
Explore two centuries of Devon's social history to paint a vivid picture of everyday life there. We've added over 49,000 more records to the collection.
Delve into these rich records »

NGS 2016 Press Release

National Genealogical Society Announces Program for the 2016 Family History Conference

ARLINGTON, VA, 20 NOVEMBER 2015—The National Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the release of its 2016 Family History Conference program. The program, which includes more than 170 lectures, is now available online at and as a sixteen-page registration brochure, which can be downloaded at

Nationally known speakers and subject matter experts will address a broad array of topics, including records for Florida and its neighboring states; migration into and out of the region; military records; state and federal records. Other topics will discuss genealogical research on African Americans and women; methodology; analysis and problem solving; and the use of technology, including genetics, mobile devices, and apps useful in genealogical research.

The conference will take place at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 4–7 May 2016. Registration opens on 1 December 2015 at A number of special events have limited seating, so register on 1 December, or as soon as possible thereafter, if you plan to attend these events.

Up-to-date information about the availability, amenities, and rates for conference hotels can be found at

Sign up for the NGS Conference Blog at so you do not miss conference news or announcements.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogical education, exemplary standards of research, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia- based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, and guidance in research. It also offers many opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sale at the IDG

The In-Depth Genealogist is having a sale on all PDF products through the end of the month. It’s a great time to think about what to buy for a genealogist in your life (or yourself) for any number of reasons.  Just becasue they like books is always a good reason! 

Both of my guides are out there as well if you are planning a research trip to the Richmond, VA or D.C. areas.

IDG has books, research guides and even back issues of their magazine included in this deal. Stock up now!

Guest post: A Glimpse In Time

Recently I was asked to write a blog post for America's Footprints.  If you have not heard of them before they are a website that specializes in helping people write their own memoirs.  Essentially they give members a chance to make their "footprint" on history.

My first blog post for them went live on the 19th, and I hope you like it.  It was one of my favorite memories and I was so happy I could share it.  Below is the intro to the blog, if you would like to read the rest go check it out on America's Footprints Blog.

A Glimpse In Time - If Your Pictures Could Talk, What Would They Say? 
Recently I was unpacking boxes filled with photo albums with my youngest child.  I didn’t realize he had stopped helping me unpack until I heard him ask me what something was.
 “Mom, where are you in this picture?”
 Bending down for a better look I saw he had my travel journal from my trip to Europe in 1997.  I sat down next to him on the floor as the memories and experiences from that time flooded back into my memory.
 “That sweetie is me and my parents’ dog Sam.  We are in a field of rapeseed on a hill above the village they lived in while in Germany.”  It is one of my favorite pictures from that trip.  Sam was a Brittany spaniel who had just started to grey around the muzzle. I was in my junior year of college with the world in front of me.  The hillsides for as far as you could see were yellow from the flowers and I thought it would be a perfect picture.  I asked my boyfriend to snap the shot and I crouched down behind the dog. 
 I loved that dog, and I loved the walks we took when I would visit my parents while in college.  That was the first picture in my 6 week journal for that summer...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pulitzer Prize winning biographer, historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, to keynote RootsTech 2016

(SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—November 4, 2015)—RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, announced Doris Kearns Goodwin has joined its lineup of keynote speakers. Goodwin, a world-renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning author, will speak at the RootsTech general session on Saturday, February 6, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Goodwin will share her insights into the personal and family lives of past presidential leaders and the influence their ancestors had on their personalities, behavior, decisions, and careers. She will also share anecdotes about her own family and experiences which have shaped and influenced her life.

Goodwin has been hailed by New York magazine as “America’s historian-in-chief” for her in-depth scrutiny into the lives, actions, and family influences of America’s presidents, and the history of the country.  She provided extensive subject matter expertise for PBS and the History Channel’s documentaries on the Kennedy family, LBJ, Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham and Mary Lincoln, and Ken Burns’ The History of Baseball and The History of The Civil War. She also worked with Steven Spielberg on the movie Lincoln, based in part on Goodwin’s award-winning Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

Goodwin received the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.  In addition, she has authored biographies of several other U.S. Presidents, including Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream; The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga;  Team of rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (which was awarded the Lincoln Prize),and her most recent book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.

Goodwin‘s biographies are not limited to presidents and politicians. Wait Till Next Year, her touching, best-selling memoir, draws her readers into life as she knew it in the 1950s in the suburbs of New York. She portrays the post-World War II era New York when the corner store was the gathering place for people to share stories and discuss their baseball differences with neighbors who were equally divided between Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans.

Goodwin is expected to share memories of the lifelong influence of her parents: her mother, who taught her the joy of books, and her father, who taught her the joy of baseball and the Dodgers. She describes how two events deeply affected her: the Dodgers left Brooklyn in 1957 and the death of her mother.  Both events marked the end of an era and, for her, the end of childhood. 

Goodwin wrote Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream using first-hand insight into President Lyndon B. Johnson’s life. She served as an assistant in LBJ’s last year in the White House, and later assisted him in the preparation of his memoirs. On his 107th birthday, August 27, 2015, Goodwin said in retrospect, “LBJ was surely the most colorful politician I have ever met…. How I wish the LBJ that I knew in private—the colorful, ever fascinating, larger-than-life figure—had been able to project more of that effervescent personality into his public life.”

Goodwin is a frequent guest commentator on most of the major networks. Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios has also purchased film rights to her book, The Bully Pulpit, which chronicles the first 10 years of the Progressive era through the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft.
Other keynote speakers for RootsTech 2016 announced previously are New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler, award-winning journalist Paula Williams Madison, and the president and CEO of FamilySearch International, Stephen Rockwood. See the Keynote Page at for more information about each of these speakers.  

For more information or to register for RootTech 2016, go to  To take advantage of the limited time pricing offers go to the attend RootsTech page.