Friday, March 30, 2012

Family Recipe Friday: Home Ec Taught Me Something

When I was a preteen, I bought this cookbook for Home Ec class (remember that?). The copyright date is 1960.

The cookbook is still on my kitchen bookshelf for nostalgia reasons. After all, I wrote my name and address in it (below). But most of the recipes were too complicated or time-consuming for me, and my mother used mixes anyway, which was fine with her daughters.

The book falls open to a page showing "Penny-Wise Cake" which I remember using as the basis of a pineapple upside down cake we baked in Home Ec class.

Here's the recipe for pineapple upside down cake:

2 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Also have ready for "topping"--1/4 cup melted butter, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1 can of sliced pineapple rings (drain but reserve juice).

Preheat oven to 350.

1. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream shortening thoroughly. Add sugar gradually, and cream together well. Add egg, beat very thoroughly. Add flour alternately with milk, beating after each addition until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Set aside.

2. Combine melted butter and brown sugar. Mix well, spread in 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Drain 1 can (8.5 oz) pineapple rings and sprinkle 2 TB of the juice over sugar mixture. Cut drained pineapple rings into quarters, arrange over mixture in pan. Pour cake batter over pineapple and bake at 350 for 45-50 min until done.

3. Cool in pan for 5 min, then invert on plate and let stand for a minute or two before gently removing the baking pan. Serve warm! A little vanilla ice cream wouldn't hurt either. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Mystery Burk-Mahler-Markell Celebration

These photos (scanned from negatives) were taken in the mid-1950s. My mother, baby sister, and we twins (shown above) are at a party where my father's Burk, Mahler, and Markell relatives are present.

I don't know who's who (except for Uncle Dave, at center of center photo below). Where are they celebrating, and why? Cousin Lois noticed birthday party things...whose birthday?
Update: Cousin Lois identified the couple above as Joan and Bob, with their son Andy.
Update: Above, the lady on the left is Lois's grandma, Ida. Below, lady on right is Ida's sister, Mary. Thank you for your sharp eyes, Lois!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Washington, D.C., 1966

Summer, 1966
My cousin Lois and I have been talking about the first time we met, when my father (her great-uncle) took my sister and me to Washington, D.C., where Lois lives. But I couldn't remember the exact year. Then these photos came to light in a forgotten album--and instantly I thought: 1966! I'm nearly positive that the shorts outfit I'm wearing (note the hip-hugger belt) and my Sassoon-inspired haircut were from that year. No more words needed...


Friday, March 16, 2012

Sympathy Saturday: Dora Lillie Mahler

My great-aunt Dora Lillie Mahler died on June 9, 1950, and her life and death remain a mystery. She was living in a nice area of the Bronx with her mother, Tillie, at this time...and possibly with her widowed sister Henrietta Mahler Burk, whose husband Isaac Burk had died unexpectedly in 1943. (Henrietta and Isaac were my paternal grandparents.)

Dora was a millinery saleslady, as this cert shows and as I also found in the 1930 Census. But apparently by 1950 she had been retired 10 years. (This is a good reason to check the 1940 Census when it comes out next month!) And this cert shows she had been under the doctor's care from April 1939 until her death. Did she have a chronic illness? If so, what was it? Why did she never marry?

Her June 10, 1950 obit in the New York Times was short and to the point: Dora Lillie Mahler was the "devoted daughter of Tillie and the late Meyer Mahler, dear sister of Henrietta Burk; David Mahler; Sarah Smith; Morris Mahler; Ida Volk; and Mary Markell." I wish I knew more about great-aunt Dora.

PS: Morris, Dora's brother, gave her birth date on the cert as July 11, 1905. Impossible: The New York Census shows her as 11 years old in 1905; the US Census shows her as 6 in 1900, 15 in 1910, and 24 in 1920. Her real birth year was obviously between 1893-1896, so she was in her 50s when she died.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Married Him for His Ancestors, St. Patty's Day Edition

This is the first year since the start of my genealogical adventure that I know for certain that there are Irish ancestors in my hubby's family tree. This year, we can wear green and celebrate with specific ancestors in mind! (No Irish ancestors in my family tree . . . I had to marry into the shamrocks.)

Here's a summary of himself's Irish roots:
  • John & Mary Shehen (or Shehan or Sheehan). According to the 1841 UK Census, John & Mary Shehan were both born in Ireland around 1801 (she might have been born as late as 1806, if later census records are correct). No trail yet to indicate when and how they came to London, but in 1841 they lived in Gray's Buildings, Marylebone, Middlesex county. They were married with three children, all born in London: Thomas (7), Mary (3), and Michael (8 mos). Mary grew up to marry John Slatter Sr., and become hubby's g-gma.
  • Robert Larimer & Mary O'Gallagher Larimer. According to a Larimer family history, the young Robert Larimer sailed from Ireland in 1740 with a chest of Irish linen, bound for the new world. He was shipwrecked, then rescued by a man who made him an indentured servant to pay for his rescue. After many years, Robert decided he'd repaid his benefactor with enough years of his life and walked away from the man's land near Philadelphia, going west to Kishocoquillis Valley, PA. He married Mary O'Gallagher (or Gallagher), who was born in Northern Ireland about 1721, and together they settled in Fairfield county, Ohio. Robert & Mary were hubby's  5th g-grandpa.
  • John McClure. Hubby's 3d g-grandpa was born from a line of McClures who probably came from County Donegal. John McClure married Ann McFall in 1801 and their son was Benjamin McClure, hubby's 2d g-gfather.
May the road rise up to meet you ...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Wm Madison McClure & Margaret Larimer McClure of Wabash, IN

The Wabash Carnegie Public Library is a good source of genealogical info for folks like me, who are tracing ancestors in Indiana via long-distance. They're so busy that sometimes it takes a few months to process a request, but yesterday I was delighted to receive the obits for William Madison McClure (1849-1887) and Margaret Jane Larimer McClure (1854-1913), my husband's maternal g-grandparents. There was a bit of a surprise in William's obit when we learned he was a victim of typhoid fever.

Here's where Margaret Jane Larimer McClure is buried, in Wabash's Falls Memorial Gardens cemetery (Indiana).

Her obit, in a nutshell, says she died at the home of her son, H. B. (Hugh Benjamin) McClure on West Main Street, on Thursday, 15 May 1913 and burial was 17 May 1913.

William Madison McClure's obit, dated 7 October 1887, says he died of typhoid fever "after an illness of six weeks." He was a member of the Presbyterian church (his father was an Elder) and he was of the "Masonic fraternity."

A search on Google for "typhoid fever wabash indiana 1887" turns up 16,000 hits, most not actually in that year. Still, it was quite a deadly problem.

I've added both newspaper obits to these ancestors' Find-A-Grave pages, hoping to help other McClure researchers.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Who Uncle Fred Thanked in His Book

My mother's older brother, Frederick Shaw (1912-1991), was super-smart and one of a number of authors in the family. His book, History of the New York City Legislature, was a popular civics text in high schools and colleges during the 1950s and 1960s. His acknowledgements mention his wife and...

This volume would not have been possible without the indulgence and active cooperation of my wife, Daisy K. Shaw. For the preparation of the index and other invaluable assistance in the manuscript itself I am deeply obliged to Miss Dorothy H. Schwartz. For all matters of fact and opinion in the pages which follow I am personally responsible.
Only insiders reading these acknowledgements would recognize Dorothy H. Schwartz as one of his younger sisters (and my auntie, the twin of my Mom, Daisy Schwartz Burk). Dorothy wrote books of her own, a story for another day.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fearless Females: Heirlooms--Grandma's Lavalier

Minnie (Hermina) Farkas may have brought this lavalier from Hungary when she took her long journey to America...but more likely, she received it as a gift from Teddy (Theodore) Schwartz, sometime after they were married in New York City on October 22, 1911.

Grandma and Grandpa both worked to help pay for relatives to come to New York. Minnie and her parents brought her siblings here; Teddy teamed up with his older brother, Samuel (Simon) Schwartz, to bring their youngest sister Mary Schwartz here.

Grandma was far from wealthy, but she left each of her grandchildren a bit of jewelry in her will. I received this gold lavalier and a cocktail ring, both of which remind me of her courage and perseverance. Thank you, Grandma!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday: Edgar J. Wood's College Scrapbook

It's easy to get the impression that my late father-in-law, Edgar James Wood, majored in Broadway and music while at Tufts College (class of 1926). In fact, his major was economics, and although he attended for 4 years, he didn't graduate.

At least two full pages of Ed's college scrapbook are filled with ticket stubs like those above, with the name of the play and his companion(s), handwritten below. Ed was an avid theater-goer throughout life and passed that love to his children.

He also played in bands, sang with the glee club, and was a member of several music clubs at Tufts. Above is a letter advising him that he'd been selected to travel with the Tufts Musical Clubs from April 15-22, 1925. The clubs performed in Bristol, CT; Hartford, CT; Meriden, CT; New York City; Mt. Vernon, NY; and again in New York City, culminating in an appearance at the luxe Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

I'm certain that Ed took this trip--which would have returned him to Tufts just before his mother, Mary Slatter Wood, died on April 24, 1925, in Cleveland, OH. When my husband asked Ed about whether he returned home for Mary's funeral, Ed replied:


I think I was out playing a job, and came back to the dormitory, and a brother Zate [Zeta Psi, the fraternity] came to the dormitory and told me they'd gotten word that she had died. I think her health had been like [my wife] Mar­ian's, it had not been the best, so it wasn't a big surprise. I had no money, so I went to a guy by the name of _____, one of the professors of music, and a Zate also, and borrowed 50 bucks...Before the summer was over I paid it back. So I had to borrow money and take a train back to Cleveland for the funeral.