29 Oct 2015 – Restoration of Historic Barnes House at Montclair Community Library

On 29 Oct 2015, the Montclair Community Library in Prince William County held a ribbon cutting ceremony.  The community has waited for this library to be completed since the early 1990s!  Following is a picture of the new library.

 

Montclair Public Library Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - 29 Oct 2015

Montclair Public Library Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – 29 Oct 2015

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28 Oct 2015 – Uncle Nick’s Cookies (Pizzelle)

There is a story that goes along with this recipe.  When my husband was a child at Grandma Flagella’s house, she would make NICKs.  It was only years later we learned the ordinary name, Pizzelle.  Grandpa’s brother Nick made two Pizzelle irons, one for his wife and one for our Grandma which had the name NICK built into the iron. The iron was black and heavy with two long arms, you made one NICK at a time, putting the iron on an open gas burner on the stove, then flipping it over to cook the other side.  Grandma would do a few then order her grandchildren into a line, and we would take turns like at a playground slide doing one or two cookies then running to the back of the line.  No one could eat a NICK until a large bowl was full, and Grandma bought the bowl to my Grandpa bowing down as she offered the cookies to him.  He always refused with a loud “NO!” turning his torso away with his arms folded.  Grandma flashed a mischievous smile, then we could dive in.  I asked my mother the story about grandma’s grin.  But that’s enough for now.  Eat your NICKs!
Ingredients
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup butter melted and cooled
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp vanilla or anise, also can use almond flavoring
Instructions
  • Mix all ingredients together and let rest.
  • Heat Pizzelle iron until hot.
  • Place a tsp. of batter into the center of the iron, count 30 seconds to see if they are the color you want (depends on your iron) remove and place on wax paper to cool.
  • Store in metal tins – 3 lb coffee cans work well.
  • Do not make when raining they will not be crisp.

26 Oct 2015 – Alexandria, VA – Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial

As you know, I live near Washington D.C. which is full of history!  I recently discovered a historic site in my local area that I think is worth a post, the Contrabands and Freedman Cemetery Memorial in Alexandria, VA.

During the Civil War, there were many slaves that fled to Alexandria for freedom and a better way of life.  There were so many freedmen (called contrabands) moving to this area because of the Union occupation, that it created a refugee crisis.  Many arrived destitute, in ill-health, and hungry.  Initially, the government placed the contraband in barracks, but disease ran rampant and many died.

In 1864, after hundreds had perished, the Superintendent of Contrabands ordered that a property on the southern edge of town, across from the Catholic cemetery, be confiscated for use as a cemetery.  

In the first year, burials included those of black soldiers, but African-American troops recuperating in Alexandria’s hospitals demanded that blacks be given the honor of burial in the Soldiers’ Cemetery, now Alexandria National Cemetery. The soldiers’ graves were disinterred and moved to the military cemetery in January 1865.  The last burial in Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery took place in January 1869.  (Source:  Contrabands and Freedmen Memorial)

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24 Oct 2015 – Italian Black Pepper Cookies

Solo-on-a-plate
Ingredients:
  • 2 to 2/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
 Directions:
  • Put flour in a bowl, make a well & add the oil, eggs, salt, fennel seeds, black pepper, and baking powder.
  • Mix well with a wooden spoon to form a large ball, then just take a pinch at a time & twist or braid also can roll into balls. Can make them large or small.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  • You may frost with powdered sugar icing if you wish.
Directions for Powdered sugar Icing (makes a lot so you may want to cut in half):
  • 1  box of powdered sugar
  • A few tablespoons of milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or anise flavoring
  • Combine sugar, milk and flavoring in a medium bowl, stirring well until you dissolve all the sugar – (I use a whisk)

24 Oct 2015 – Wakes In The Home

Rose-flowers-21391136-600-600

When my mother Alice was growing up, wakes were actually held in the homes. When a family member died, the funeral home prepared the body, placed it in the casket, and delivered it to the home.  During the wake, friends and family would come to pay their respects.  The wake was a celebration of life with food and drink.

My mother remembers her great-grandmother (Laura Washington) and grandfather (Joseph Brown) having a wake held in their home.  Based on the time of the funeral, the body would be delivered to the home the day before, and be available until an hour or two prior to the funeral which was held in the church.

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19 Oct 2015 – Ella Brown Thomas and Emaline Brown

Ella Brown Thomas

Ella Brown Thomas is my 3rd great-aunt (Mother’s side).  It is rare for me to have a picture going back six generations!  She was born in 1844 and died in 1944.  She is the daughter of Emaline Brown who was born in 1832.    I don’t know much about Ella Brown, but I do know that her mother was Emaline Brown.

When you are researching african american ancestors in the 1800s, it’s a challenge because the records are extremely scarce.  I was able to find limited information on Emaline Brown, mother of Ella Brown.  She had a savings account on 2 May 1872 at the age of 41.  At the time, her parents were dead, but the records show she had nine children:

  • Peter Brown
  • Margaret Brown
  • Simuel Brown
  • Ella (pictured above)
  • Elixander Brown
  • Thomas
  • Willie Brown
  • Carrie
  • Millie

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09 Oct 2015 – Thomas Coleman

Thomas Coleman

Thomas Coleman

Thomas Coleman was born 2 Jan 1901 in Mobile, AL.  He met Isabel in Chicago, and she became the love of his life.  I’m not sure where they married, but he took the train to Mobile to introduce his new wife to the family.  Isabel was so light-skinned, she passed for white and they made her ride in the front of the train.  Thomas went to the back of the train.

Thomas Coleman worked as a Pullman Porter on the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio (GM&O) Railroad.  He directed guests to their rooms in the Pullman car, served drinks, cleaned, and helped people with their luggage.

 

Library of Congress Pullman porters, known for their white jackets, played an important role in luxury train travel for a century.

Library of Congress Pullman porters, known for their white jackets, played an important role in luxury train travel for a century.

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4 Oct 2015 – Italian Sausage, Potatoes, Peppers and Onions

Ingredients:
  • One pound of Italian Sausage hot or medium
  • Four medium potatoes peeled and quartered ( I like the golden or red potatoes)
  • One medium onion sliced thinly or to your preference
  • Three to four sweet peppers sliced length wise medium (any color you prefer)
  • Olive Oil (enough to coat veggies and brown sausage)
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Coat vegetables with olive oil and set aside
  • Brown sausage in a cast iron skillet coated lightly with olive oil on medium flame.
  • When browned, remove from the heat.
  • Add onions, peppers, and potatoes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add a small amount of water to skillet cover with lid.
  • Place cast iron skillet in a 350 degree oven for 45 min depending on your oven.
  • Check at 30 min and stir the ingredients leave the cover off and continue cooking until the potatoes are brown.

3 Oct 2015 – Thanks Goodness For Social Media!

My parents, grandparents and great grandparents lived during a time when their relatives lived in the same neighborhood.  There were relatives next door, on the same street and around the corner!  The environment was such that not only did their parents reprimand them, but the neighborhood did as well because they were your relatives!

In my generation, everyone literally lives around the world.  My sister lives in Florida, my brother in Illinois, and a nephew in Singapore!  Today, there is no reprimanding someone else’s child, you must keep your hands to your self!  My generation may not have families that live close, but does that really matter when we have social media?

Social Media Images

Social Media Images

 

I love social media!  It’s  part of my life, and I don’t know what I would do without it!  When I talk social media, I am referring to Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter.  These are all sites that are good options for spreading the word about family history and genealogy.  I get the most feedback on Facebook, and hardly any on the other sites. But that’s ok.  I post anyway.  🙂 Continue reading