The Washington That Never Was

While looking through the Library of Congress’ website yesterday, I found this vintage 1852 image of Washington, DC, done by the same company that did the map of Baltimore of 1868. “Oh, wow,” I said. “This is cool. There’s the Smithsonian Castle, designed by James Renwick. There’s Trinity Episcopal, also designed by Renwick. There’s the … Continue reading The Washington That Never Was

Exploring an Old Baltimore Map

Yesterday afternoon, Howard Weinstein shared an interesting find on Facebook, E. Sachse, & Co.’s 1868 map of Baltimore City. Weinstein is writing an historical novel set in Baltimore about a decade later, and he said it would be helpful in his research, and perhaps to others as well. I had ancestors in Baltimore in 1868 … Continue reading Exploring an Old Baltimore Map

A Potential Genealogical Discovery

I found something interesting yesterday, a reference to my great-grandfather in one of Baltimore’s German language newspapers, Der Deutsche Correspondent, on December 1, 1899. Der Deutsche Correspondent was Baltimore’s daily German newspaper, and it was published for nearly eighty years, from the early 1840s to 1918. It reads (translated thanks to Google): Marriage LicensesMarriage licenses … Continue reading A Potential Genealogical Discovery

An American Flag, Sewn in Scotland, Returns Home

In 1918, a troop ship carrying American soldiers to Europe was torpedoed off the coast of Scotland. Though many were saved from the waters by other ships in the troop convoy, the bodies of nearly 200 soldiers washed ashore on the island of Islay. What ensued was a recovery of the bodies by the island’s … Continue reading An American Flag, Sewn in Scotland, Returns Home

The Dragons of Christmas

Perhaps I’d still be a Christian had there been more dragons. Many elements of the traditional Nativity scene — in particular, any animals whatsoever — aren’t Biblically canonical. They all derive from apocryphal scriptures, essentially early Church fanfic, such as this passage from Pseudo Matthew about the infant Jesus and the dragons during the flight … Continue reading The Dragons of Christmas

A New Viking Discovery in Canada

The potential discovery of another Viking settlement in Newfoundland is thrilling, especially because the site was found from space. It also doesn’t surprise me. The Vinland Sagas end around the year 1000. However, from other sources, such as the writings of Adam of Bremen, we know the Vikings’ activities in Vinland continued into the 13th-century … Continue reading A New Viking Discovery in Canada

Remembering Grover’s Mill

Today’s episode of Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac begins thusly: “It was on this day in 1938 that a cylindrical Martian spaceship landed in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, and began incinerating onlookers with an alien heat ray, an event that was covered by the Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations, and that caused widespread … Continue reading Remembering Grover’s Mill