Laundry Soap

Week 24: #52 Ancestors – Dear Diary By Eilene Lyon So far I’ve only come across one true diary in the family, which I wrote about last year in Reatha Gusso, 1932. For an entire year, my grandmother kept a daily journal without missing a day. To our knowledge, it’s the only one she ever... Continue Reading →

Gold Country Tour

By Eilene Lyon After completing my archive research in California (Huntington Library, Bancroft Library, and the California Historical Society), it was time to do some gold rush sight-seeing. My first stop was the Wells Fargo branch on Montgomery in downtown San Francisco. This city owes its explosive growth directly to the gold rush. Wells Fargo... Continue Reading →

St. Anthony’s Fire

Week 22: #52 Ancestors – At the Cemetery By Eilene Lyon There is a cemetery in New Orleans that I have not seen, and probably never will. Why? Because there are no grave markers, and the buried remains are merely a bony tangle in the delta silt. Still, it is hallowed ground. This is the... Continue Reading →

The Huntington: Galleries

By Eilene Lyon During my day-long visit to the Huntington, I alternated between strolling through the gardens and visiting the galleries to get out of the sun for a bit. I wrote previously about the gardens. Henry and Arabella were both collectors and particularly enamored with Louis XVI French style. Their former residence is dedicated... Continue Reading →

Drake Family Chronicles: Part 2

Week 14: #52 Ancestors – Brick Wall By Eilene Lyon The Drakes in Ireland Samuel Drake, Sr. and Eliza J. were born in Northern Ireland around 1790. Though I have not found a record giving Eliza’s maiden name, Sorby turns up as a middle name repeatedly with her children and grandchildren, making this the prime... Continue Reading →

Women’s Suffrage: My Wiki Life

By Eilene Lyon A Major Milestone This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. It was ratified in 1920, so we can celebrate another centennial next year. In recognition of women winning the vote, the National Archives (NARA) has a special exhibit opening in... Continue Reading →

A Slow Death

By Eilene Lyon A 19th Century Scourge In my gold rush research, I’ve come across a couple cases of milk sickness – a deadly disease that was common in the 19th century throughout the Ohio River Valley states. I made the erroneous assumption that this was some bacterial illness that was neutralized by pasteurization. Rather,... Continue Reading →

A Postal Crime

Week 9: #52 Ancestors – At the Courthouse By Eilene Lyon Benjamin Franklin was the first postmaster general, appointed by the Second Continental Congress in 1775. Delivering mail has been a vital function of this quasi-governmental agency ever since. Thanks to the Postal Service, Americans could communicate inexpensively over long distances, facilitating population mobility before the age... Continue Reading →

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