Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cross-Bred Reader Mutt

The polar vortex that has been keeping my state in the deep freeze, has me reading more voraciously than usual. Meeting my 100 book challenge this year will be a snap, as I've already read 25 books this month. Obvious I am an obsessive reader, but what other kind of reader am I? Laura E Kelly created this great infographic, “Which Book Reader SpeciesAre You?” 
What kind of reader are you? I totally fit the Situational Book Lover. I gleeful admit to being a App Happy, Kindle Convert, Travelling Reader who prefers being an Audiobook Listener, but when necessary will be a Bathroom Reader who ends the day as a Sleepy Bedtime Reader that guilty admits to sometimes crossing over to The Spoiler. This doesn't mean I'm a one category girl. Hi, my name is Kim and I'm a Compulsive Book Lover. As in a Compulsive Book Buyer... of free interesting e-books. I get daily e-mails detailing new freebies from and Barnes & Noble. I am also a Multi-tasker... I have an audiobook for the car & gym, books on my Kindle app & nook reader, and at least one genealogy book open on my computer. Time to hit the gym with the White Queen. Hope to see some comments on what kind of reader you are!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Overdrive is going all MP3 for Audiobooks

I wonder how Amazon via its is going to respond to Overdrive's announcement to do away with DRM audiobooks. Cory Doctrow has written an interesting piece on the latest win for audiobook listeners. I hope in the long run this will result in a decrease in audio production costs so that more books can be recorded.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Infamous Trailblazer Anne Hutchinson

Anne returned to
Boston in 1922
Anne Hutchinson was a trailblazer. As expected of anyone who carves out a new way, her life was never easy. She was the daughter of an English minister, well versed in the Bible and the Church of England. After her father’s death, her spiritual journey led her to the teachings of John Cotton. Anne felt compelled to follow her preacher to the New World. In 1634, Anne and her family arrived in Boston where she quickly drew the ire of John Winthrop and the Puritans that governed the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Anne began holding gatherings in her home to discuss the individual’s intuition as a means of reaching God and salvation, rather than the observance of institutionalized beliefs and the precepts of ministers. Winthrop and the Puritans accused Anne and her followers of antinomianism—the view that God’s grace has freed the Christian from the need to observe established moral precepts. After three years of animosity with claims and counter claims by both groups, Anne was put on trial for her offenses. She and her followers were banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The banished which included, the Hutchinson family, William Coddington, John Briggs and John Clarke fled south to Rhode Island. In Rhode Island Mrs. Hutchinson and her friends founded the towns of Portsmouth and Newport. The group signed the Portsmouth Compact which established a new independent colony with non-sectarian governance. It has been called the first instrument for governing as a true democracy. Alas, true democracy is never easy. Political strife amid the community created a rift with some of the group settling Newport. During this time, William Coddington, the original Governor of Portsmouth, moved to Newport. Will Hutchinson, Anne’s husband became the new Governor of Portsmouth. Eventually, the two groups worked out their differences and reunited.

After her husband's death and amid threats from John Winthrop of Massachusetts taking over Rhode Island, Anne felt compelled to move totally outside the reach of Winthrop moving further south to the lands of the Dutch. In recounting Thomas Cornell’s trek to New York, Henry Crapo explains, "There can be no question that he was loyal to the distinguished exile, since after the death of her husband in 1642 he and his family went with her to Manhattan and there again attempted to start a settlement. It was in the autumn of 1642 that Anne Hutchinson, Thomas Cornell, John Throckmorton, and others with their families, removed to Manhattan 'neare a place called by seamen Hell Gate,' a designation which seemed most appropriate to the Boston divines. Governor Winthrop was evidently interested in following their fortunes since in 1642 he notes, 'Mr. Throckmorton and Mr. Cornell, established with buildings, etc., in neighboring plantations under the Dutch.'
The Dutch government, in fact, granted Thomas Cornell and his associates some thirty-five families in all, permission to settle 'within the limits of the jurisdiction of their High Mightinesses to reside there in peace.' In 1643, Cornell and Throckmorton procured a survey and map of the country they had taken up which was about eleven miles from New Amsterdam.”1

Anne Hutchinson, had a friendly relationship with the Narragansett people in Rhode Island. When settling in New Netherland she assumed she would establish the same type of relationship with the Siwanoy. Anne and her followers had been friendly to Siwanoy but following their mistreatment by the Dutch, the tribe retaliated against New Netherland colony in a series of incidents known as Kieft's War. A tribal elder visited with the Hutchinsons and Cornell families warning them that Chief Wampage was planning to attack them. Thomas Cornell took the warning to heed, removing his family from the area. Anne Hutchinson maintained her belief that she had nothing to fear from the Siwanoy and with her family remained on their farm.“The Siwanoy warriors stampeded into the tiny settlement above Pelham Bay, prepared to burn down every house. The Siwanoy chief, Wampage, who had sent a warning, expected to find no settlers present. But at one house the men in animal skins encountered several children, young men and women, and a woman past middle age. One Siwanoy indicated that the Hutchinsons should restrain the family's dogs. Without apparent fear, one of the family tied up the dogs. As quickly as possible, the Siwanoy seized and scalped Francis Hutchinson, William Collins, several servants, the two Annes (mother and daughter), and the younger children—William, Katherine, Mary, and Zuriel.”2

Anne Hutchinson is a key figure in the development of religious freedom in England's American colonies. Her legacy is one of freedom of religion, the right to free assembly and women's rights.  She has been called the most famous, or infamous, English woman in colonial American history.

[1] Henry Howland Crapo, Certain Comeoverers, 2 Vol. (New Bedford, Mass.: 1912), 1:235, of 235-41

[2] LaPlante, Eve (2004). American Jezebel, the Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman who Defied the Puritans. San Francisco: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-056233-1. Pg 237

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

3rd Grader writes to her inspiration Derrick Coleman

Riley's letter to Derrick Coleman went viral, then mainstream. Riley along with her twin sister Erin and dad Jake appeared on Good Morning America this morning. Unfortunately for those of us in New Jersey, GMA was preempted due to the snowstorm. Happily the segment has now been posted online. 

Derrick Coleman Duracell Ad: Deaf NFL Player Inspires Hearing Impaired Twins Riley and Erin Kovalcik to Write Letter | Video - ABC News

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tax Assessment Genealogy Style

Old Tax Assessment and Census lists are coveted by genealogists. They are a great way to mine information about our ancestors. US Censuses from 1850 to date are pretty easy to follow, all the family is listed with information of interest to the government for that particular decade. Before 1850, the information provided takes a bit more sleuthing to decipher what was collected. This is why I'm SO excited about a website I just stumbled upon Mother Bedford's Tax Assessment Returns

First off, Mother Bedford refers to Bedford County Pennsylvania. Bedford County was once a huge mother of a county, but as time has gone by, several other counties have be formed from towns that originally were a part of Bedford. Pretty much all of my ancestral lines spent at least some time in Mother Bedford so it is particularly helpful that this site shares such useful information. 

While I have been doing my genealogy for a few years, I am in no way an expert. I knew enough to collect early american tax records when I found them, but I haven't quite figured out what all the information means. Tax Assessments include names and value of property. Individuals were listed on the early tax assessment returns in one of four categories: Resident, Freeman, Inmate, and Non-Resident. (Women rarely own property. Upon their husband's death, his property transferred to his oldest son. Occasionally you may find a Resident listing a Widow Smith., indicating there was no male to leave the property too.)

  • Resident: Married man who owns property and resides on property
  • Freeman: Single man who owns property and resides on property 
  • Inmate: Any man who rents property he resides on   
  • Non-Resident: Any property owner who does not reside on said property

Thank You Mother Bedford! The definition of Freeman helped me narrow down the marriage window of my 2nd great-grandparents Mary Shoenfelt & John Ritts. Taylor Twp was formed in 1856. At that time a list was published of all land owners. John Ritts is listed as a Freeman, while his father Thomas was a Resident. John therefore was married sometime after June 1856 and before September 1857. 

And Mother explained the inmate code! It's nice to know my ancestor wasn't a criminal. Now if I could remember which ancestor had this notation on their tax record I'd be totally psyched. Since I don't and I don't want to forget the definition when I finally find him, I've written this blog.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Blitz Month

According to the B.U. Bridge, January is...
National Book Month and National Book Blitz Month. National Book Month, which is sponsored by the National Book Foundation, invites everyone to take time to read a book. National Book Blitz Month, which was created by a public relations executive to encourage authors to promote their own books, focuses attention on improving the relationships between authors and the media in order to create a best-selling book.

I have been inundated with free for a few days’ e-book offers, now I know why. And before you ask, no these are not from book stealers. These are offers from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Ihave taken advantage of the opportunity to tryout new to me authors. One thing I have noticed is most of these books are shorter than most of my reads. This works well for me. As mentioned in a previous post, my goal this year is to read 100 books. Books read in 2014 to date = 20. Thanks to Book Blitz month, I am well on my way to meeting my goal. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year Goal - Let's Read!

Happy New Year! The ball has dropped, the party is over. The time has come to set goals for the coming year. One goal for me is easy: a commitment to read 100 books this year. I set and achieved this goal for the past few years. It is so easy to do. To double the fun, I create a post on group 50 Book Challenge. Once I reach 50, I move on to the 100 Book Challenge group. Then I start to read. Cozy mystery and family history are my current favorite topics. 

Audio is my top choice for cozy mysteries and best sellers. My wish list is long and growing. I'm happy to see that their list of cozy authors is growing as well. The Roxbury Library is helping feed my appetite as well. Besides their audio selections available via Overdrive, they have added another option: One Click Digital. Both of these sites will also allow e-book borrowing with your library card. 

When I have run out of audio choices, my next format choice is e-book. I've got a nook for the pool, a nook for reading by the fire and a tablet for reading on the go. The last one can also read Kindle books. I finally broke down and downloaded the app after 
I found a great new site Book Bub for free e-books. No this is not a site that cheats authors out of royalties. This site will send you an email alerting you to free book deals being offered by Amazon, B&N and others.

Keeping with my fiscal conservation in regard to reading, Google Books offers up a wide array of family histories that I tap into as I do my family tree. It is amazing how many genealogy books have been digitized by Google and others. It is exciting to find documentation of my connection to generations 6, 7, 8 back. It's even neater to find my grandpa in a book on a revolutionary patriots Alexander Alexander and Bancroft Woodcock.

The number 100 seems daunting at the beginning of the year. I look forward to the challenge of reading that many different books. Besides if it really gets tough, I can always read some kiddie books to my nephew to catch up.