Genealogy by Twitter

There’s a photographer on Twitter, Jim Havard, who often posts photographs of Congressional Cemetery. He lives in the neighborhood near the cemetery, and he gets some fantastically beautiful imagery of the old graves. I often look at his photos and wonder, “Do I know this spot? Do I see my family?” I did, after all,Continue reading “Genealogy by Twitter”

A Genealogical Find

A few days ago I bought In the Shadow of the United States Capitol: Congressional Cemetery and the Memory of the Nation, a history of the historic cemetery in Washington, DC, by Abby Arthur Johnson and Ronald Maberry Johnson. I didn’t know of this book before Sunday; then I received a email about a saleContinue reading “A Genealogical Find”

The Christmas Truce of 1914

It has taken me the better part of six years to find the audio for this program, and last night I finally did. On Christmas Eve 2014, BBC Radio 2 broadcast All Is Calm, a program on the Christmas Truce of 1914, narrated by Sir John Hurt. Hurt, while in treatment for pancreatic cancer, participatedContinue reading “The Christmas Truce of 1914”

A Mid-19th-Century View of Harrisburg

While poking around on the Internet this afternoon, I found something that would excite me — a bird’s eye view painting of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, done by an artist for Edward Sachse’s company in 1855. Sasche is an artist I’ve mentioned before in conjunction with my family genealogy — he did bird’s eye view maps ofContinue reading “A Mid-19th-Century View of Harrisburg”

The Grave of a 19th-Century Astronomer

Before the world went into its COVID-imposed lockdown, I discovered, quite by chance, while reading about Mary Ann Hall, that a photograph of my great-great-grandfather’s gravesite in Washington, DC’s Congressional Cemetery is on Wikipedia. No one but me would care that, in the background of the photo, is the gravesite of William Gardner, but it’sContinue reading “The Grave of a 19th-Century Astronomer”

Exploring Georgetown, 1890

I saw this on Twitter Wednesday morning. It’s a photograph from the Georgetown University archives of Georgetown in 1890, looking out at the Washington Monument, taken from Georgetown’s Healy Hall. In the fall, I wrote about digging into a street map of Washington, circa 1883 and using it to find where my ancestors lived inContinue reading “Exploring Georgetown, 1890”

Teddy Roosevelt in Baltimore

This is something I found a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to share. On September 28, 1918, former president Theodore Roosevelt visited Baltimore and delivered a speech at Oriole Park on Greenmount Avenue to extol the Fourth Liberty Loan (ie., war bonds), and this video shows TR and dignitaries delivering a speechContinue reading “Teddy Roosevelt in Baltimore”

The Most Notorious Brothel Owner in Civil War Washington

This week, I explained to several colleagues at Diamond what the desktop wallpaper on my monitor at work is, which you can see above — a painting of Washington, DC done by Edward Sachse in the early 1850s. (Be sure to check out this Maryland Historical Society article on his Bird’s Eye View of Baltimore.)Continue reading “The Most Notorious Brothel Owner in Civil War Washington”

Revisiting the Washington That Never Was

You haven’t lived until you’ve digitally clipped mid-19th-century cursive from a scan of a faded and dirty print. This is B.F. Smith’s landscape of Washington, showing projected improvements in the capital city — the Washington Monument, a stone bridge across the Washington City Canal — from 1852. I found this on the Library of CongressContinue reading “Revisiting the Washington That Never Was”

Exploring an 1883 Map of Washington, DC

A few months ago, the novelist Howard Weinstein posted to Facebook a link to Adolph Sachse’s “Bird’s Eye View” map of Baltimore in 1869, and I poured over it, finding the location where my great-great-grandmother and her father lived at the time and the church where my great-grandparents might have married in 1900, as itContinue reading “Exploring an 1883 Map of Washington, DC”