Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: The Rest is Gravy

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
And the Rest is Gravy....
Family History in the Kitchen

(See the Milano Slices in this photo? Well, the rest about the gravy. You may substitute a glass of wine in your photo as the results would be the same. It's something to make cooking more enjoyable. Cooking, ugh.)

For several years, I cooked the full turkey dinner following the lead of my maternal ancestors. Now I like to call it "mtDNA" cooking. In my mother's composition book of family recipes, there is nothing about cooking large meals. My maternal grandmother, who lived to be 98, was a good cook and made the meals until she was too old to do so. Starting in 1989, I cooked turkeys. I did this, for Thanksgiving until 2006, when we bought a turkey breast or purchased the full dinner offered by the local grocery store. That turned out to be a good choice because it gave me exposure to what other people thought a Thanksgiving dinner SHOULD include.

Notes on Turkey cooking, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015.
But, since this is about gravy, I should stick to the topic. This is my mother's directions for making chicken gravy. Mom was an artist not a cook and many recipes are just this confusing. I think my grandmother told her what to do over the phone. My mom was the queen of the double boiler NOT the roasting pan.

Dot's Recipe Book, 1950 to 2002
The photo of Roche's Bros. Turkey gravy and the bottle of Kitchen Bouquet just keeps telling family stories forever. The gravy used to be labelled, "Holiday Gravy" I thought that was pretty funny, don't you? Well, they are back to turkey gravy now because there is no meat called Holiday. Seriously, people are just that clueless.

The first year here in Stow in 2010, I went to my local Roche Bros in Acton, MA to buy a new bottle of Kitchen Bouquet when I noticed a young woman, in distress looking at the cans and jars of gravy. Her mother, knowing she did not eat anything with fat, assigned her the gravy to bring, hoping she would realize it was a by product of cooking poultry. She told me that her mother was going to judge her cooking harshly because it was her DUTY to start being the holiday cook and stop slacking off. 

So, I showed her the "Holiday/Turkey" gravy and Kitchen Bouquet seasoning in my cart. She picked up her own bottle and followed me to the refrigerated case of prepared foods. She picked up the container of gravy and put it in her cart. I told her how to add a tiny bit of pepper, the right amount of Kitchen Bouquet to the gravy and mix well. Then, she should cook it in the microwave, put it in her own container and take it to her mom. 

I wonder if her mother asked, "How was your turkey?"

So, remember those genealogists of the future, while eating your Thanksgiving meal because leaving behind a piece of your own history may help others who follow you for as the saying goes, "the rest is gravy".  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Yrs Affect

Yours Affectionately, Uncle Walter, Photo collection, 1971
Yrs Affect
(Yours affectionately)

As a Find My Past Ambassador, I spent some time reading about the 1939 Register recently released. With most of my family from the British Isles were already in America prior to 1939, I browsed thorough my tree and found, of course, a relative living there during my research period of the early 1970s when I still had living family to write letters to in England about my Scottish family from Dalbeattie, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. 

On 22 June 1971, I received a answer from my letter to Walter and Ruby Broadfoot. Walter was the first born son (1902-1989) of my great grandfather, John Broadfoot (1853-1926) and his second wife Helen Tait (1862-1943). If you read the letter, you will get the feeling that Walter was delighted that a young person has asked him for family information. Although he was too young to remember my grandfather, it was so exciting to hear from him and to fill in the blanks for my monumental mason great grandfather who is the inspiration for my Granite in My Blood blog. My grandfather lived with Helen's family before he came to America.

Find My Past's direct link to the 1939 Register found 3,259 Broadfoot surnames included. I was very surprised! I narrowed the search directly to Walter P. Broadfoot and discovered the right family despite the surname listed as Braodfoot. From Walter's letter, I knew his wife was Ruby Cutler and that her sisters lived with them in 1971. Walter and Ruby had no children. Intrigued by three people in the household, I had to unlock the record. The next family in the unlocked document turn out to be Ruby's mother and father (Cutler) and sister Florence (Named as Florrie in the letter). I still don't know who John D. Wells was but he may have simply been a boarder. There's always more to research...

1939 Register from Find My Past, 2015
I am thankful for seeing Ruby's family in the Register as she sent me a kiss for luck in Walter's letter from so long ago. I hope someday to find out where they are buried.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Take Note

OfficeMax, Garden City, Cranston, RI, August, 2015
Take Note
and rethink your original work...

Sometimes you have to be pushy about your genealogy research and get your point across in a BIG way. Since I have been sick for over a month, no amount of caffeine can make me a high energy genealogist for the upcoming holiday season. But, I have been able to do some research, make some project plans and do a little scanning. I have done a LOT of thinking about what I want to accomplish starting in January. 

I think I am better off planning instead of trying to write blog posts in November and December because I know you have not got time to read them. Am I right?

Sometimes a display like this one can catch your attention and get your brain moving in the right direction. I didn't buy any of these big note pads but they would be great for charting out a project or working out complex family relationships. As I was shopping, I took this quick photo to remind me. Do you do that?

Slowing down and taking a look at research you have not added to in years can give you new insight. Let me give you an example. My mother told me where she went to high school and then she told me that her only 17 months younger brother went to Dean Academy in Franklin, MA. 

I ASSUMED she meant for his post high school education since today this school that still exists as a two year post high school institution. 

I was WRONG. What she was telling me is that he boarded at an academy for his high school years instead of going to a local public school as she did. I only realized this when I found his yearbook in the Ancestry collection of yearbooks and then returned to the Web page for the school and read the history. 

I didn't need coffee to wake me up and tell me how wrong I was when I made an assumption. Don't let this happen to you! I will kick off  2016 with a report of what I found and how it fits in the total picture of my uncle's life.