Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy Birthday Rudyard Kipling!

Rudyard Kipling wrote What Say the Reeds at Runnymede? in 1911.  For more on the life of Rudyard Kipling, his ancestors and descendants, see Rudyard Kipling at WikiTree.

    At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
    What say the reeds at Runnymede?
    The lissom reeds that give and take,
    That bend so far, but never break.
    They keep the sleepy Thames awake
    With tales of John at Runnymede.

    At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
    Oh, hear the reeds at Runnymede: -
    “You mustn’t sell, delay, deny,
    A freeman’s right or liberty.
    It wakes the stubborn Englishry,
    We saw ‘em roused at Runnymede!

   When through our ranks the Barons came,
    With little thought of praise or blame,
    But resolute to play the game,
    They lumbered up to Runnymede,
    And there they launched in solid line
    The first attack on Right Divine -
    The curt, uncompromising ‘Sign’
    That settled John at Runnymede.

    At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
    Your rights were won at Runnymede!
    No freeman shall be fined or bound,
    Or dispossessed of freehold ground,
    Except by lawful judgment found
    And passed upon him by his peers
    Forget not, after all these years,
    The Charter signed at Runnymede.”

    And still when Mob or Monarch lays
    Too rude a hand on English ways,
    The whisper wakes, the shudder plays,
    Across the reeds at Runnymede.
    And Thames, that knows the moods of kings,
    And the crowds and priests and suchlike things,
    Rolls deep and dreadful as he brings
    Their warning down from Runnymede!

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1923.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Happy Birthday Benjamin Franklin

Born 309 years ago today, Benjamin Franklin is famous for his inventions and achievements, and also for his witty sayings.  One of his aphorisms which is still popular today is:

"Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see."

For more about Ben, visit his profile on WikiTree.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Happy New Year!

WikiTree added a new badge for the New Year: Generous Genealogist. Three different people awarded me the badge! Wow. I'm surprised, humbled, grateful and happy.

The Magna Carta project has a new co-Leader, Peter Eyestone, who is focusing, organizing and extending the project, and recruiting new members.

With renewed energy we are working towards completing our goals by the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta in June 2015. Come see what's new and join us in creating access to Magna Carta Ancestors for millions of people.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why Join WikiTree?

I recently posted a short piece on my profile at WikiTree, which came out of thoughts I've had over the year as a volunteer Greeter. Here is it copied, below:

A guest at WikiTree has many privileges. Use the Search functions, which include alternate surname spellings; upload a GEDMATCH and find out what profiles in WikiTree match your own database tree; ask a question at our G2G Forum; leave a Comment or send a Private email to anyone on WikiTree - and it is all free.
The best reason to join WikiTree is to participate in building a one world tree that is free to all members. In the process, you will be able to connect your own family into WikiTree, extending your ancestor tree. You will have the opportunity to join Projects, collaborating on your special interests. See the Community Membership page for twenty-five advantages of joining WikiTree.
I noticed one thing missing from that page, and that is the wonderful people I've discovered, and the relationships that have developed while working with them. Working together on a project that is mutually important is a great way to meet interesting people. The satisfaction of building a family tree for future generations is a lasting reward for our work.

My production at WikiTree dropped in November and I fell just short of the 1,000 contributions for the 1K Club, so my badge for November is the 100 Club.

The drop is due to my usual Seasonal Affective Disorder - otherwise known as SAD, which is caused by the loss of sunlight in autumn and winter. The worst part is "carb-loading" (the opposite of the improved Atkins diet) because carbs give a temporary mood lift (which is why so many 'comfort foods' are high in carbohydrates).

Meanwhile, Christmas cometh, ready or not! Here is a pic of Goldiebear's Christmas decorating scheme. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This Gives me Goosebumps

It is nearly Halloween, so you are pardoned if you think I'm referring to something very scary!

Just the opposite - I got goosebumps this morning from reading the

Community Star Badge page at WikiTree - 

and that is just the past two months of badges awarded. The comments with the awards humble me and stir gratitude that I am able to be part of such a warm, diverse, enthusiastic community!

Would you like to have some goosebumps?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On our Amazing, Ordinary Ancestors

This morning I am again caught up in the wonder of our amazing Colonial ancestors.

They were ordinary, in the sense that their lives paralleled lives of people in England in most ways. They raised crops and ate what was in season. (There were no other choices.) They spun wool and wove cloth, or traded with weavers for cloth, but few could afford tailor made clothing. For transportation, they walked. Men usually had a horse, or a horse-powered farm cart, but few could afford a carriage and carriage horses. Boats were popular for transportation on bays and rivers, but again they were powered by oars and human muscle, and larger boats by sails and human muscle.

In these things and countless more, American Colonials and their European counterparts lived congruently, according to the customs and technology of their times. In their thoughts and beliefs, and how they acted on them, the Colonials were amazing.

They were hauled into court, fined, imprisoned, for disagreeing with the state church of England. Their preachers became wanted men, who escaped from England by hiding their identities. Undeterred, they established towns in the New England wilderness where they could practice their religion unhindered by the government. Of course, being only human, they quickly repeated the faults they had fled. Good Puritans - those who rejected the Roman trappings of the Anglican church, were welcome nearly anywhere. But Quakers were hung in Massachusetts, and at the other end of the religious spectrum, Catholics were persecuted too.

As proven by their all too human failings, our Colonial ancestors were ordinary people leading extraordinary lives. For all their similarities to their English counterparts, early Colonials had no luxuries and often lacked for enough food or shelter. Some few returned to England. The majority remained and built what is today America on a foundation of faith, determination and courage, not to mention raw materials of unequaled abundance, and crucial help from indigenous tribes.

My ancestors were amazing, ordinary people.