begins as an interest,
becomes a hobby,
continues as a vocation,
takes over as an obsession,
and in its last stages
is an incurable disease.
Going on a trip?
The following story has two versions - a Maurie Roy version and a Gus Roy version
When they lived at 104 McLeod Street, Cairns, there was a vacant lot next door on the corner of Florence Street. Growing on it was a grass with long reedy stalks up to a metre high that is found in tropical areas. Being on a corner, pedestrians were in the habit of taking a short-cut diagonally across this allotment. It wasn't far from the centre of Cairns - an easy walk. Indeed, nowadays, 104 McLeod Street is shops and part of the shopping heart of Cairns. [see Roys in Cairns]
Their father (Sam Roy) used to come home at about the same time every afternoon - using the short cut. Maurie and Gus decided to tie some of the grass reeds together across the path at about the time "the old man" was due home.
Now this is where you get two versions of the result.
Maurie version: They caught the old man who tripped over the grass flat on his face. Trouble was, he knew who was responsible and came looking.
Gus version: They inadvertently tripped up a couple of nuns who were using the short cut.
Or... maybe they did this more than once?!!
I found a family tree based around the marriage of William Glenn Roy to Alice Madeleine Royer. With my parents' Roy-Royes marriage in mind, I dropped Bill a friendly line, adding that, when referring to our families, hardly anyone uses Royeses as a plural of Royes thus leaving a certain amount of confusion when speaking of the Roys and Royes.
But Bill was able to go one better! When the Roy-Royer marriage took place they thought that any children of their union should be named Royest!
And in case you're wondering, there is no apparent relationship between Bill's Roys and ours.
"It takes time to raise about 25 children. I know, I have two myself. That's plenty. Mine are twins, though. Both of them. They're awfully cute. I can't think of their names. They don't come when I call them anyway."
The children's inheritance
"I want my children to have all the things I couldn't afford.
Then I want to move in with them."
When I'm An Old Lady
©Copyright April 1991 and Author -- Joanne Bailey Baxter, Lorain, OH
When I'm an old lady, I'll live with each kid,
And bring so much happiness, just as they did.
I want to pay back all the joy they've provided,
Returning each deed! Oh, they'll be so excited!
When I'm an old lady and live with my kids.
I'll write on the wall with reds, whites and blues,
And I'll bounce on the furniture wearing my shoes.
I'll drink from the carton and then leave it out,
I'll stuff all the toilets and, oh, how they'll shout!
When I'm an old lady and live with my kids.
When they're on the phone and just out of reach,
I'll get into things like sugar and bleach.
Oh, they'll snap their fingers and then shake their head,
And when that is done, I'll hide under the bed!
When I'm an old lady and live with my kids.
When they cook dinner and call me to eat,
I'll not eat my green beans or salad or meat,
I'll gag on my okra, spill milk on the table,
And when they get angry I'll run.. if I'm able!
When I'm an old lady and live with my kids.
I'll sit close to the TV, through the channels I'll click,
I'll cross both my eyes just to see if they stick.
I'll take off my socks and throw one away,
And play in the mud 'til the end of the day!
When I'm an old lady and live with my kids.
And later in bed, I'll lie back and sigh,
I'll thank God in prayer and then close my eyes.
My kids will look down with a smile slowly creeping,
And say, with a groan, "She's so sweet when she's sleeping!"
Comedian Spike Milligan's grave at St Thomas's Church, Winchelsea, East Sussex
I Told You
I Was Ill
it would come to this
in the end
On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:
In a London, England cemetery:
Here lies Ann Mann,
Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann.
Dec. 8, 1767
In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:
The children of Israel wanted bread
And the Lord sent them manna,
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.
Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:
For not rising.
Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery:
Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.
In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery:
Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.
A widow wrote this epitaph in a Vermont cemetery:
Sacred to the memory of
my husband John Barnes
who died January 3, 1803
His comely young widow, aged 23, has
many qualifications of a good wife, and
yearns to be comforted.
A lawyer's epitaph in England:
Sir John Strange
Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.
I was somebody.
Who, is no business
Lester Moore was a Wells, Fargo Co. station agent for Naco, Arizona in the cowboy days of the 1880's. He's buried in the Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona:
Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a .44
No Les No More.
John Penny's epitaph in the Wimborne, England, cemetery:
Reader if cash thou art
In want of any
Dig 4 feet deep
And thou wilt find a Penny.
On Margaret Daniels grave at Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Virginia:
She always said her feet were killing her
but nobody believed her.
In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England:
On the 22nd of June
- Jonathan Fiddle -
Went out of tune.
Anna Hopewell Enosburg Falls, Vermont:
Here lies the body of our Anna
Done to death by a banana
It wasn't the fruit that laid her low
But the skin of the thing that made her go.
Owen Moore in Battersea, London, England:
Than he could pay.
In Memory of Beza Wood
Departed this life
Nov. 2, 1837
Aged 45 yrs.
Here lies one Wood
Enclosed in wood
The outer wood
Is very good:
We cannot praise
On a grave from the 1880's in Nantucket, Massachusetts:
Under the sod and under the trees
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there's only the pod:
Pease shelled out and went to God.
Ellen Shannon in Girard, Pennsylvania
Who was fatally burned
March 21, 1870
by the explosion of a lamp
filled with "R.E. Danforth's
Non-Explosive Burning Fluid"
Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York:
Born 1903--Died 1942
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if
the car was on the way down. It was.
In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery:
Here lies an Atheist
All dressed up
And no place to go.
in an old German cemetery:
"Here lies an awful liar,
his tales were really trying
Death did not reform him,
here he is still lying"
Seen in the porch of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Bishop's Lydeard, Somerset, England a panel to the memory of John Geal, vicar from 1714-1733. He asked to be buried under the first flagstone of the porch, saying:
"My parishioners have tried unsuccessfully to walk over me while I am alive; they shall not be denied this pleasure when I am dead."
RootsWeb Review 14 Sep 05
Gustava Gumersinda Gutierres Guzman
Rest in Peace
A memory from all your sons (except Ricardo who did not pay any money)
Here is resting my dearest wife,
Lord, please welcome her
with the same joy
I send her to you
Tomas Jimoteo Chinchilla
Rest in peace,
Now you are in the Lord's arms.
Lord, watch your wallet.
He was a good husband,
a wonderful father
but a bad electrician.
Grandma had a chuckle when she picked up grandchildren Caitlin and Ben from Laidley [SE Queensland] and ferried them to nearby Rosewood Golf Club. I didn't realise just how much they were "city kids", she writes.
Between Grandchester and Rosewood there is a lot of country. Caitlin, 4, asked: "What's with all the rainforest?" When I asked her to repeat her query she wanted to know why there were so many trees.
We took in the cows and horses and then we passed a large group of bee-hives which I pointed out to them and explained that that was where honey came from.
Caitlin: "I've got honey at home and it doesn't come from any bees."
I explained that it did - from hive, to bottle and bucket, to shop.... and went on to explain the similar process that gives us milk.
Ben (aged 6) had been very quiet, taking all this in, but then from behind me comes the query, "Grandma, where does water come from?" and I explained that it came from the sky, ably assisted by Caitlin who agreed and said that God sent it down. A relieved Ben then said, "So water doesn't come from any animals, does it, Grandma?"
Mandie (Roy) Bloomfield
Speaking of grandmothers...
You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.
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
Who had 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.
My daughter was my mother,
For she was my father's wife.
To complicate the matters worse,
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 is 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!!
written by Dwight Latham and Moe Jaffe
I was doing family tree research at the Salt Lake Family History Library -- against a "brick wall" and leafing through books to kill time while waiting for a friend. I found the following in a book of wills.
A woman had requested that all the pallbearers at her funeral be female, no men, because:
"They wouldn't take me out when I was alive and they aren't going to take me out now!"
Thanks to Karen Sanders in
Roots Web Review 22 February 2006, Vol. 9, No. 8
YES! YES! YES!
It's all in the genes
While researching to fill in my family tree, I uncovered a notebook from a relative's files that provided some key information, such as when my ancestors immigrated to America. Not least among the bits of information were notes about a first family reunion held in 1924.
One of the pages provided an accounting of the $1 per family household collected to pay for incidentals related to the reunion. Among the list and expenses were a cigar for each of the senior family men, a ball for the young'uns to play with, penny postcards to announce the event, etc. But, most interesting to me was that slightly more than half, or about $18 - quite a sum for the time - was spent on, of all things--ice cream.
Immediately upon reading that I exclaimed, "YES, I am related to these fine people!"
Roots Web Review, 23 Mar 2005
[PS. I am now researching the Roy gene for chocolate. -BER]
Busy doing nothing
In the early decades of the 20th century, it was common for the Lithuanian, Polish, Slovak, and other Eastern European immigrant families in the coal regions of eastern Pennsylvania, USA, to take in boarders. The arrangement gave new immigrants a place to live while they established themselves, and helped the family with its expenses. My Lithuanian great-grandmother had boarders through the Depression years.
Scrolling through Ancestry's 1910 online census pages for Gilberton, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, where my ancestors settled, you can see numerous examples of this practice.
The housewife was the first one up in the morning to stoke the coal stove. In addition to looking after her husband, children, and house, each day she prepared breakfast and dinner for the boarders, packed their lunch pails before they left for the mines, scrubbed their backs in the tin washtub in the kitchen when they came home, and did their laundry.
Most houses had no running hot water at this time -- hot water had to be heated on the coal stove. In addition, the lady of the house often kept a cow, a pig, chickens, and some semblance of a garden. Patchtown houses were small, not well made, and had an outhouse at the back of the lot.
Frank Krolick, age 28, was a typical Slovak immigrant living on Railroad Street in the West Ward of Gilberton, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. His wife, Annie, age 26, had two children, aged 6 and 4, and 10 boarders -- all Slovak immigrants, age 25 to 50. Nine boarders and her husband worked in the coal mines and one worked for the railroad.
Annie's occupation is recorded as "None"!!
Membership Director, Lithuanian Global Genealogical Society
in Roots Web Review Vol 8 No 14 6 Apr 2005
"A good lady who had two children sick with the measles went to a friend for the best remedy, while the friend had just received a note from another lady inquiring the best way to make pickles. In the confusion the lady inquiring about the pickles received the remedy for measles, while the anxious mother of the sick children, read the following:
"Scald them three or four times in hot vinegar, and sprinkle them well with salt, and in a few days they will be cured."
from the "Liverpool Journal" 24 Feb. 1849
The truth isn't always the truth
"The children of a prominent family, chose to give the patriarch a book of their family's history. The biographer they hired was warned of one problem. Uncle Willie, the 'Black Sheep' of the family, had gone to Sing Sing Prison's electric chair for murder. The writer carefully handled the situation in the following way:
"Uncle Willie occupied a chair of applied electronics at one of our nation's leading institutions. He was attached to his position by the strongest of ties. His death came as a sudden shock."
RootsWeb Review 10 Dec 2003
Similarly... Judy Wallman, a professional genealogical researcher, discovered that Hillary Clinton's great-great uncle, Remus Rodham, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows. On the back of the picture is this inscription: 'Remus Rodham; horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.'
Judy e-mailed Hillary Clinton for information about her great-great uncle.
Hillary's staff sent back the following biographical sketch:
'Remus Rodham was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honour when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.'
Name, please, sir
While being processed through immigration at Ellis Island a fellow from the Emerald Isle was asked, "What's your name?"
"You should say 'sir,'" the official told him.
"All right!" said the Irishman. "Sir Sean O'Reilly."
RootsWeb Review 16 Jun 2004
It's all relative
Definitely not an urban myth, promises Lawrence Maher of Waverton, before telling of the 95-year-old retired priest from Newcastle who was due to have his driver's licence renewed. A concerned Roads and Traffic Authority employee insisted that when he came in for his test he would have to bring along a younger person with a current licence "in case there was a problem". So he did, and took great delight in pointing out to counter staff that the "younger one" was his 94-year-old golfing buddy. Yes, he passed.
Sydney Morning Herald Column 8 - 22 March 2004
When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure."
"Just look in your underpants, Grandma!" he advised. "Mine say I'm four."
RootsWeb Review 3 Dec 2003
The van Gogh Family Tree
After much careful research it has been discovered that the artist Vincent Van Gogh had many relatives. Among them were:
|Israeli astronaut uncle
|Cousin who's a priest
||Alter E. Gogh
|Grandfather from Yugoslavia
|Cousin who bleached his clothes
|Cousin from Illinois
|Nephew who drove a stagecoach
|Well connected sister
|Ballroom dancing aunt
|Spanish dancing niece
|Limbo dancer cousin
|Niece who loved disco
|Little bouncy nephew
|Cousin died on honeymoon
|Racing car driver cousin
|Indy Gogh's sister in blue
|Merchant sailor brother
|Australian contortionist uncle
Snail-eating French cousin
S. Car Gogh
Russian half-brother doctor
Dr Shivar Gogh
This list adapts elements of several versions
appearing over the years in RootsWeb Review
How will you be remembered?
A colleague tells me of his brother's experience in writing up the family tree - a family from the early days of white settlement. When their aunt found out about his project, she said, "Well, you will be interested to know that one of our forebears was
- aide-de-camp to Governor Macquarie; and
- he accompanied him when the road up the Blue Mountains was opened; and
- he was speared by "the blacks"; and
- he left his will in the fork of a tree."
As the research progressed, what came out was:
- said forebear was a convict;
- he seems to have been a works foreman on the building of the said road;
- in which capacity he may well have accompanied the Governor up the road;
- he went off with the said "blacks" freely;
And the bit about the will is a mystery - though it tends to add weight to the suggestion that he went off freely with "the blacks"!
Once you would not dare admit to a convict in the family tree and reinterpretation of the story was required. Nowadays a convict is a badge of office!
Uncle Arthur was a great yachstman in his time, but when he died in his late eighties his beloved yacht had been somewhat neglected. The family decided that the most appropriate thing to do was to scatter Uncle Arthur's ashes at sea from his beloved yacht. So they cleaned up the olde ship and slapped a coat of paint on her, and headed out to sea.
Now scattering ashes at sea is a tricky business, as any one who has done it will tell you. There is a better than even chance that the wind will whip the ashes all over the place, including over the mourners. And this indeed happened in Uncle Arthur's case. There was distress for some as they sought to disentangle Uncle Arthur from hair, mouth, eyes, makeup and/or clothing.
But the real quandary arose from the fact that the coat of paint was still a bit tacky and Uncle Arthur had stuck determinedly to his beloved yacht.
What was the respectful thing to do? It hardly seemed right to sand him back once the paint had dried. Should they put another thick coat of paint over the top of him? Should they leave it as is so that Uncle Arthur - who was after all a very practical, down to earth (pardon the pun) person himself - provided a non-slip surface? Should they simply sink the yacht? What was the respectful thing to do??
Adapted from A Kangaroo Loose in the Top Paddock by Lachlan Ness (a pseudonym of Rev Tony Lang, former Australian Army Chaplain)
A busy week
It has been a busy week for the many friends and well-wishers of the late Lawrence Noel Perry, who lived his 86 years to the full, says his son-in-law, Brad Nicholson, of Billinudgel. This matter came to our attention after Brad placed this notice in Saturday's classifieds:
''Sadly missed by his five wives
Died on Monday
Laid out on Tuesday
Cremated on Wednesday
Remembered on Thursday
Celebrated on Friday''.
Sydney Morning Herald Column 8, 11 July 2011
An article on thinking in accents when searching census records reminded me of the time I found my Aunt "Johnnie" in the census in South Georgia in the 1920s. She is listed as Johnnie Analyzer Gay.
This one had me stumped until I asked my 94-year-old great-aunt Esther BLIZZARD about it. She said her name was Johnnie Anna Eliza. But with the south Georgia accent and the habit of replacing the trailing letter "a" with an "er" sound, it was spoken as one word -- "analyzer."
RootsWeb Review 1 Feb 2006
I always enjoy your column and hate to be a nit-picker, but I have to honour the Scottish part of my ancestry. Sean Connery doesn't speak with a brogue -- that's what the Irish speak with. The Scots speak with a burr.
Well, if he's got that burr under his kilt that would explain the accent.
Clean Laffs, 18 Jul 2003
One would be in less danger
From the wiles of the stranger
If one's own kin and kith
Were more fun to be with.
Ogden Nash, "Family Court"
A brothel madam in your tree?
"Gus" came to the 2004 School reunion for Blackheath and Thornburgh College in Charters Towers, North Queensland, with family stories about his great grandmother. She had reportedly been murdered, beaten to death, and the body stuffed into a barrel. Two men had been accused but were acquitted. And... he added with that false sense of embarrassment that reveals an exciting, sordid element in the family story... she was the madam of a brothel.
A relative had failed to find the grave at the Charters Towers cemetery on The Lynd Road, but Gus had a contact who claimed to have succeeded! And sure enough, there it was. Merely a grave number embedded into a block of concrete (once the dirt had been removed), but tangible evidence of her existence.
Now off to the Court House to see if there were any records of the trial. No, not in Charters Towers. Try The Northern Miner. Being such a sensational event, it would surely have been reported in its pages. No, their records did not go back that far but James Cook University had them, and so did the local family history society.
Gus contacted the latter and soon had the newspaper articles. But having told half of Charters Towers of his family's sordid past, it was a little deflating to find that she was just an old lady who fell down a step - one that consisted of a trunk to help get from one floor level to another. She was alive when found and could verify that she had not been pushed or beaten. Gus even found the house and the offending step.
Family research can be so disappointing sometimes!
Pruning the Family Tree
Reading an online family tree that contained information on one of my lines, I made a shocking discovery. Martha, a Quaker girl, had the misfortune to become pregnant by her second cousin James, who, upon hearing the news, eloped with someone else. Martha reported the sad circumstance to the Quakers and both Martha and James were DISMEMBERED!
I do hope they were actually only EXCOMMUNICATED.
RootsWeb Review 28 May 2003 Vol 6 No 22
[RootsWeb Review's Note: One could be formally DISOWNED for marrying someone who was not a Quaker, having a child too soon after marriage, or various other offences. See: "Quaker Marriages"]
Cause of death
Found the following on an old Tennessee death certificate:
Cause of death: CARRANOVER.
I thought it must be a really strange disease, until I realized that three words had been run together and that the person worked for the railroad.
RootsWeb Review 13 August 2003 Vol. 6 No. 33
An addition to the unusual occupations found in the censuses is one for my great-great-grandmother, Peggy Riley GRESHAM.
The 1880 census of Polk County, Georgia shows William Collins Gresham, (son of Josiah Gresham), and includes William's 86-year-old mother. The enumeration looks like this:
- Wm C. Gresham, age 62, farmer, born Georgia, father born Georgia, mother born Georgia
- Nancy Gresham, age 51, wife, born Georgia, father born Georgia, mother born Georgia
Followed by their children and then his mother:
- Peggy Gresham, age 86, mother, worn out, born Georgia, father born Maryland, mother born Maryland
I always laugh at her occupation "worn out." She had given birth to 18 children, although she had only raised five of them, but I can empathize with her and I only had three.
RootsWeb Review 16 Jul 2003 Vol 6 No 29
While researching my family in Moorland Township, Michigan in the 1870 census I came across an interesting occupation:
- Olive A's occupation is listed as "drinks whiskey."
RootsWeb Review 9 July 2003 Vol. 6 No. 28
I have been searching the 1880 U.S. census for possible parents for the wife of my great-grandparent's sibling, when I came across this entry that caused me to laugh out loud, much to the startlement of my pet poodle.
Listed in the household of Lewis PIERSOL, 59 of Pennsylvania, a farmer, was his mother -- Sarah PIERSOL. Her occupation was listed as: "Ever Lasting Talker."
RootsWeb Review 2 July 2003 Vol 6 No 27
Perhaps some resentment towards a ne'er-do-well brother-in-law is reflected in the 1880 Jefferson County, Indiana census where David HUNTLEY is shown boarding with his sister and her broom-maker husband, but David's occupation is listed as "does nothing."
RootsWeb Review 27 Aug 2003 Vol 6 No 35
A few years back I was working as staff at our local Family History Centre and assisted a lady in searching a census for her family. She came to me with a question about the occupation for one of her family members in West Virginia. He was listed as a "tippler."
I looked through three dictionaries, including Black's Law Dictionary, before I gave up and reluctantly told her what I knew before I started -- that a "tippler" is "one who drinks to excess." She was less than overjoyed that her ancestor was officially listed as a drunk.
Fast-forward to a few weeks ago as I was watching a show on the educational TV channel. It was comparing the modern mining equipment to that used last century. It showed the current machinery used in West Virginia to bring the mined coal out of the mine, then showed how the coal used to be pushed out manually in carts on rails and dumped out large piles of to be loaded onto trains.
The narrator said that the men who pushed the coal carts out and tipped (emptied) them were called TIPPLERS. I hope that lady was watching the same show!
[Editor's note: Harry Tootles Mining Dictionary shows:
"Tipper or Tipplers -- An apparatus for emptying tubs onto the 'screens' or down a shute [chute] into a wagon or boat."]
RootsWeb Review 28 December 2005, Vol. 8, No. 52
Old fashioned energy
While driving in Pennsylvania, a family caught up to an Amish horse-drawn carriage. Attached to the back of the carriage was a hand-printed sign that read:
"Energy efficient vehicle:
Runs on oats and grass.
Caution: Do not step in the exhaust."
RootsWeb Review 15 Oct 2003