Archive for March, 2012

Sports were just as important a hundred years ago, as they are today. The difference is you couldn’t turn on the TV or Internet to watch the game or find a score. If you wanted to know how a team did you either went to the game or waited for the newspaper to report the scores. Remember this was even before radio was available to listen to a game.

It was easier in larger cities that hosted a team, but if you lived in a rural area the only games you may ever see would be the local scrimmages the young people might put together.

1912 Red Sox Team

So let’s look at some newsworthy sports news from 1912:

–the 1st world record in men’s 100 metres recognized by International Association of Athletics Federation {IAAF} Donald Lippincott {USA} ran 10.6 at Stockholm during the Summer Olympics
–the 1st world record of men’s 1500 meters ran by Abel Kiviat in Cambridge, MA in a time of 3:55.8
–Quebec Bulldogs win the National Hockey Association and the Stanley Cup
–Odile Defraye of Belgium wins the 10th Tour de France
–Feb 22–Johnny Kilbane wins World Featherweight Championship; a record he holds until 1923
— April 20– Boston Red Sox opens Fenway Park w/ a win over New York Yankees
–April 20–Detroit Tigers open Navin Park after a remodel {later Tiger Stadium} with a win over Cleveland Indians.
–May 30–2nd running of Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; won by Joe Dawon and Don Herr driving a National Car
–October 5–David Bruce-Brown, American Grand Prize winner, killed during practice for the 4th race
–October 8-16– Boston Red Sox defeat New York Giants in 1912 World Series 4-3 games with one tie
–November 28–Willie Ritchie wins World Lightweight Championship; title he holds until 1914

1912 Football Team

The Summer Olympics were held in Stockholm, Sweden from May 5-July 27 {only full Olympics held in Sweden} with 102 events in 14 sports with 2,407 competitors.

–Sweden won the most medals with 65 total
–USA won most Gold medals with 25 total
–1st use of electronic timing and public address system
–women’s events in swimming and diving introduced {48 women competed in the Olympics}
–first art competition held; which lasted from 1912-1948
–Francisco Lazaro of Portugal, became the first athlete in modern Olympics to die during competition {died while running the marathon}
–Sweden’s Oscar Swahn, 64, oldest Olympic gold medalist for deer-shooting event {at that time}
–George S. Patton {future WWII General} participated in the first modern pentathlon competition
–a Japanese marathon runner went missing {he passed out from heat, was cared for by a farming family and returned to Japan without notifying officials. He finished the race 50 years later, giving him the “unofficial” longest running time}

If you lived in 1912, which of these would be of the most interest to you?

Women's Freestyle Swimming Team 1912 Olympics

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Today we have a variety of jobs and careers, just like they did a hundred years ago. It is difficult to detail all of the jobs back then. I will discuss a few of the more prevalent ones that seem to have disappeared or diminished greatly with the passage of time.

There were still many professionals—such as lawyers and doctors—but not to the extent we have today. Fewer people went on to obtain a college degree.

Inside a Textile Mill

Textile Mills—these were very common in the south. During the industrial revolution in the late 19th Century textiles exploded. This was the ability to make clothes with a machine and not just by hand. Children would leave school at a young age {3rd, 4th, 5th grade} to work in the weaving room. It was also common to find many women working in the mills. My grandparents and great-grandparents did this work and I’ve heard many stories about their experiences through the years.

A normal day farming

Farming—was still very prevalent in the early 20th Century. Large families still existed and each child had their own chores each day. This was in the days before the local supermarket, when you had to rely on your land to supply most of your needs. This would include chickens for eggs and meat, cows for milk, and vegetables and grain planted and harvested throughout the year.

A Mine

Mining—this exploded in the late 19th Century and many prospectors moved out west for the California Gold Rush. Mining wasn’t just for gold, but for other items such as coal, silver, copper, and lead. It also just wasn’t in California, but took place through many areas of the United States. Occasionally we still hear about mine cave ins and have a sense of the danger these men faced on a daily basis. In 1912 they did not have all of the machinery used today.

Laying Railroad Track

Railroad—the first railroad was opened in America in 1830. It exploded from 1850-1890. Even in 1912, they were still laying tracks and the railroad was still a major source of transportation of both passengers and hauling materials. As the rail system increased more track had to be laid and engineers were needed. I had a great-uncle and great-grandfather that made their living working for the railroad.

Vaudeville—this was the earliest start of what we know of as the stage. Vaudeville consisted of animals, dancers, singers, comedians, magicians, acrobats, jugglers, athletes and more. These groups traveled from town to town performing their shows. Vaudeville remained very popular until the 1930s. By the late 1890s, large houses had been established for the acts. It was said that if an act could succeed in Peoria, Illinois, then it could succeed anywhere. You’d hit the big time when you played at New York City’s Palace Theatre {The Palace}.

These are just a few of the occupations that have diminished with the passage of time. I’m sure there are many more, but at least this will give you an idea of how times have changed. What kind of work would you be doing 100 years ago?

A Vaudeville Advertisement

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Today we are required to register all life events we experience with a government agency. The birth of a baby means a birth certificate, a loved one’s death requires a death certificate {insurance agencies and social security demand one before they will pay out}, if you want to get married then you have to obtain a marriage license, and a divorce means going before a judge to obtain a divorce decree.

Certificate of Birth
Time has changed considerably in the last century. A hundred years ago many of these documents either didn’t exist or in the infancy stages of existence.

So let’s take a closer look at these documents:
A birth certificate registers the birth of a child. A hundred years ago women seldom went to the hospital. Usually they would give birth at home with a midwife or town doctor. {These were the days when the doctor would come to you.} Before birth certificates a birth was recorded in the family bible. In doing genealogy research you may also find a record of the infant’s baptism in church records or if they were born in a census year you can sometime narrow it down to the month of the birth.

Today we have a social security number assigned to us shortly after birth. In 1912 they did not exist. The first social security numbers were assigned in November 1936.

A death certificate registers the death of an individual. People that were ill usually stayed home, although they may have gone to the hospital, if one was in the area. Nursing facilities did not exist in the abundance they do today. A death was recorded in the family Bible, church cemetery records, or in the mortality census for the years 1850, 1860 and 1870.

So when did birth and death certificates originate? It varies per state, although most states had them by the 1920s. You can find out for your state by searching vital records. However, here are the dates for five states to show you how broad the range is: North Carolina-1909; Virginia-1913; Tennessee—1914; South Carolina-1915; and Georgia-1919.

A Marriage Record in An Old Bible

A century ago to get married you did not have to obtain a marriage license. All you needed was a minister to marry you. Some states did have marriage bonds during the Nineteenth Century, which was a monetary guarantee that there was no impediment to the marriage. Again the dates of these records vary. North Carolina began in 1868 on a county level, but did not begin on a statewide level until the Twentieth Century. Let’s look at when some other states began: South Carolina-1911; Virginia-1936; Tennessee-1945; and Georgia-1952.

Although she had been married for fourteen years and had three children, my great-grandmother was unhappy in her marriage. I searched everywhere for divorce records and discovered that they did not exist in the early Twentieth century. My great-grandmother left her husband and returned to her family. When I obtained a copy of the marriage license to my great-grandfather, I was surprised to realize she listed herself as a widow {her first husband did not die for another 20 years and lived nearby}. This was often the way women handled a “divorce” and “remarriage” a century ago. Divorce was taboo then compared to today. Many women stayed in unhappy or abusive marriages because they had nowhere to go and no money to leave. Divorce was one in one thousand in 1912. I’ve not been able to find exact dates when a divorce decree was issued, but I have seen many references to it being in the 1950s, just to give you an idea.

In what ways would the lack of vital records affect your life today?

Vital Record Books

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Hats were not just an accessory but an adornment in 1912. They were still a year away from Mary Crosby’s invention of the bra and three years from a tube of lip stick being sold for the first time.

If you’ve seen the movie Titanic, you’ve seen the beautiful hats of the time. They had the wide brim and were large and covered the face.

Irene Castle and her short bob

The short bob was introduced in Paris in 1909 and quickly spread. Actress Irene Castle was a trendsetter for short hair in America. Hair was frequently supplemented with pastiches. These were false curls, buns or small wigs that were easily able to be incorporated into the hairstyle for extra volume.

Women curled their hair with heated curlers. The permanent wave was just being invented and took twelve hours to complete and hair coloring was only five years old. Mainly actresses and models wore makeup, but if a woman did wear makeup in 1912 she would place dark eye liner around the outside of her eye, powder her face lighter than her natural skin color and emphasis her lips.

Another hairstyle you might see would be curtain hair. This was when short hair was parted down the middle and worn with an elaborate headband underneath. Often these headbands were extensively beaded, had feathers or jewels incorporated, especially for an evening outing. This technique allowed the hair to hang naturally.

1912 colored chip straw hat

1912 Wide Brimmed Hat

1912 Hat1912 ostrich hat

1912 Ad showing hat and dress1912 Dress, how would you accessorize?1912 Layered Dress

For my last two post on women’s fashion and men’s fashion

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Have you wondered how our holidays began? We’re going to step away from 1912 for the day in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and go even further back in time.

St. Patrick

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day, a religious feast day, is celebrated in honor of the work he did in Ireland to bring Christianity to the pagan people. March 17 was the date Patrick died in 461 AD.

So who was St. Patrick? He was born in Roman occupied Britain to a wealthy family around 387 AD. At the age of sixteen he was kidnapped and taken as a slave to the coast of Ireland where he was in servitude for seven years. During this time he worked as a shepherd, although there is debate about where he served. It is believed these years were spent in either the countryside of Slemish or Fochill. He later said that his faith grew strongly during these years and God appeared to him in a dream and told him to flee. After he fled he found a ship to take him back to England, where he studied to become a priest, after returning home to his family. In 432 AD he was called back to Ireland, by the Catholic Church as a Bishop. He was now there to bring the Irish pagans to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the trinity

Irish folklore tells us that he used the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the people of Ireland. Another legend says, “Saint Patrick had put the curse of God on venomous snakes in Ireland. And he drove all the snakes into the sea where they drowned.” Another legend tells us St. Patrick converted the King of Munster {a part of modern day Ireland} at the Rock of Cashel during the 5th Century. Whether these are true or not, they are great stories.

The Irish began to observe this religious holiday over 1,000 years ago. The spirit of the holiday is to celebrate the universal baptism of Ireland. Traditionally the Irish family would attend church in the mornings and celebrate in the afternoon. Since St. Patrick’s Day traditionally falls during the season of Lent, the prohibition against consumption of meat and alcohol are lifted for the day. A traditional Irish meal for the day is Irish bacon and cabbage.

St. Patrick’s Day became an official feast day in the early 17th Century and he is the most celebrated saint in the world, today.
The color of blue was originally associated with St. Patrick, but by the 17th Century green was worn in celebration of his life. The wearing of the green comes from the song with that same title and means the shamrock on one’s clothing.

Today St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated world wide as the Irish took it with them over the years as they immigrated. It’s a time of parade’s, drinking, turning the river green for the day, and singing songs such as Danny Boy and When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. How will you spend the day?

Rock of Cashel, where St. Patrick converted the King of Munster

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Men have always had a smaller attire than women, which we talked about last time. Still in 1912, there was a lot to a man’s wardrobe.

Men wore three piece suits with a matching waistcoat. Their trousers were ankle length once their cuffs were turned up. They were short gaiters or spats for shoes.

Boy in Norfolk Jacket

Their formal shirts were pressed into wings at the collars and they wore ascot ties for formal occasions.

Their waistcoats or sack coat was fastened lower on the chest and a cutaway morning coat was their normal day wear in Europe . For informal and semi-formal occasions a man would wear a lounge coat and a Norfolk jacket for outdoor pursuits. Men were not seen outdoor without their top hat.

It was very common for a man to have a moustache, they were usually wide and curled.

Boys were dressed in suits with trousers that extended to the knee and girls’ apparel began to become less “adult” as skirt lengths were shortened and features became more child-focused.

1912 Man in informal and formal dress
1912 Man in Top Hat and Dress Coat1912 Day or Casual men's wearMen's Fashion  1912

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If you’ve seen the Titanic movie you’ll recognize that they dressed with a lot of elegance, glamour and opulence in this pre-war era. This was before the hardships of the Great War when clothing became a lot more practical.

The corset was fitted to a small waist, while the buttocks, hips, shoulders and bosom were accented and padded to give this effect. The layered look was very popular with the use of a long underskirt and high waistlines.

A hundred years ago a layer of undergarments was still very common. A woman would have on pantaloons and a corset underneath their dresses. Women rarely wore pants at this time. In the winter women also wore gaiters, which is a garment that is worn over the shoe and lower pant leg, as protection from the cold.

Victorian Gaiters

Women in rural areas usually wore homemade dresses that were practical to work in, while women in the city or traveling bought clothing that often had a matching jacket and skirt and a hat to accent their ensemble. Fur stoles such as cocoon or kimono, scarves and large matching muffs were very popular during this time.

If were a member of the elite and followed fashions, you may visit Jacques Doucet in France or Mariano Fortuny in Venice, Italy. Just two years earlier Fortuny patented a special process of pleating and dyeing that he called delphons.

Women’s shoes were high and slightly curved at the heels. They often had criss cross straps at the ankles and were called “tango shoes.”

Short bobs were introduced in Paris in 1909 and quickly spread throughout the rest of Europe.

What do you think of fashions 100 years ago? Would you be able to adapt to their dress code?

1912 Evening Dress1912 Plain Dress---what you might find in a rural community1912 Mourning Dress1912 Wedding Couple1912 Ascot Fashion1912 Family

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We’ve been looking at life 100 years ago. Let’s look at what the prices were for groceries then. I was amazed at how cheap everything was at the time. Then again the average yearly income was $750. People usually ate at home. The did not have the influx of restaurants we have today and eating out would have been both a rarity and a treat. Groceries would have been bought at the local mercantile with everything else. They did not have grocery stores as we know them today.

General Store in 1912

How much did it cost to stock Thanksgiving tables in 1911?
These prices were advertised in The Daily Record [Morris County New Jersey], November 18-22, 1911
Meat, fowl & fish
Bacon, breakfast, .15/lb
Beef, chopped, .25/3 lbs
Beef, Porterhouse roast, .18/lb
Chicken, fresh killed, Morris County, .20/lb
Flounder, .06/lb
Halibut, .15/lb
Ham, smoked, .16/lb
Ham, fresh, .16/lb
Lamb, hind quarter, .16/lb
Mince meat, Armour’s Veribest, .20/pail
Pork, loin, .15.lb
Sausage, .20/lb
Turkey, fresh killed, Morris County, .28/lb
Asparagus, white, California, .50/qt jar
Beans, lima, .16/can
Beans, string, .10/can
Carrots or Turnips, .25/6 qt basket
Corn, J.S. brand, .12/can
Corn, cream, .09/can
Macaroni or spaghetti, .10/pkg
Olives, fancy Queen, .35/jar
Olives, plain or stuffed, .25/3 bottles
Peas, early June, .05/can
Potatoes, Maine, 3.25/sack
Pumpkins, .10/can
Rice, fancy, .10/pkg
Sauerkraut, Heinz, .25/4 qts
Squash, .10/can
Succotash, .12/no. 2 can
Sweet potatoes, .29/6 qt basket
Tomatoes, Jersey, .12/can Fruits
Cranberries, .13/qt
Dates, stuffed, .20/box
Figs, New Smyrna, .18/lb
Grape fruit, .25/4
Grapes, Malaga, .25/2 lbs
Grapes, Tokay, .25/2 lbs
Lemons, Messina, .20/doz
Oranges, sweet, .25/doz
Raisins, Sultana, .15/pkg

Early picture of Family at Dinner Table

Dairy, eggs & cheese
Butter, Elgin, .37/lb
Cheese, .17/lb
Condensed milk, Hire’s, .25/3 cans
Eggs, .40/doz
Chocolates, French, .12/lb
Chocolates, Sultana Raisin Clusters, .27/lb
Jelly bon bons, .12/lb
Mixed nuts, .18/lb
Peanut brittle, .12/lb
Pecans, .18/lb
Plum pudding, R&R, .65/3 lb tin
Walnuts, English, .22/lb Baking, cereals, spices & condiments
Baking powder, Daisy, .45/20 oz can
Buckwheat, .45/12 lb sack
Celery salt, .15/box
Chocolate, baking, .29/lb
Cinnamon, .10/box
Curry powder, .10/box
Flour, Graham, .18/5 lb sack
Flour, wheat, Ralstons, .23/6 lbs
Ginger, crystalized, .30/pkg
Honey, in comb, .18
Lard compound, .10/lb
Mustard, Colburn’s, .25/half lb tin
Oats, Mother’s .25/3 pkgs
Paprika, .15/box
Pepper, .10/box
Poultry seasoning, .10/box
Puffed rice, Quaker, .25/2 pkgs
Sage, .25/lb
Savory, .25/lb
Thyme, .25/lb
Vanilla flavoring, .10/bottle
Cider, sweet, .20/gal
Cocoa, Huyler’s, .17/half lb tin
Coffee, 8 O’clock, .25/lb

Early picture of preparing dinner
Grape juice, .23/pt bottle
Tea, .50/lb

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We are inundated and overwhelmed with information today. It is literally at the touch of a finger.

In 1912 communication was a lot harder to come by. So how did people communicate:

Early 1900 telephone

1. Telephone—it was still in its infancy. In 1912 very few households had a phone of their own. If you needed to make a call you’d need to find a store or neighbor that had one. At this time they were still three years away from the first coast to coast, international phone call.

2. Mail—letters was still the most common form of long distant communication. It was a great way to stay in touch with your family that moved away. Stamps cost two cents at that time. The invention of the zip code was more than fifty years away.

Early Post Office

3. Telegram—this was still the most common way to send a message if it was urgent and/or needed to be sent long distance.

Old Telegram

4. Face to face—visits were still the best way to spend times with friends. These were in the days when children were the largest interruption. There was no television, radio, computer, internet and all of the other interruptions we have today. My grandmother has often told me that when people visited with one another they actually faced one another, listened to one another, answered questions and shared a conversation.

Wow! Maybe we need to take lessons from the past.

Women Sharing Together in Person

5. Send a messenger—if you had an emergency and needed a doctor, minister or to send an urgent message to someone in the area, you would send a messenger to deliver it.

6. Newspaper—I’m not sure if this is really a form of communication as previously mentioned, however it was full with a lot of local news and facts. Pouring through old newspapers as a genealogist I’ve found mention of visiting relatives, church socials, births and marriages, trials, crop reports and other events that take place in the town. It was a great way to share more detailed information with everyone.
Below is information found in the Duncan, SC paper in 1903 by a fellow researcher:
We are living well with blackberries, frying chickens and garden vegetables in abundance.
Both C.P. REYNOLDS and Belton EDWARDS had cotton blooms open on the 8th.
John and Riley REYNOLDS from Wingo’s Mill, visited friends and relatives in this community last week.
Miss Isa HUGHES of Greers, visited T.B. EDWARDS on the 4th of July.

It is hard for us to fathom a time when information was not at the tips of our fingers, but it was not that long ago that people actually lived this way. What lessons can we learn from the past and how they communicated?

Newspaper from 1912

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Today we are inundated with celebrity news at every turn. Let’s take a lot at births {of future stars}, deaths and marriages in 1912.

1912 Famous Births

Gene Kelly was born in 1912

May 11–Phil Silvers comedian
June 19–Jerry Jerome lyricist
August 23–Gene Kelly actor
Nov 14–Barbara Hutton Woolworth heiress
Nov 21–Eleanor Powell actress
Nov 22–Doris Duke multi-millionaire

1912 Famous Deaths that would have been in the headlines

Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, died in 1912

Mar 30–Karl May German writer of Westerns
April 12–Clara Barton organized Red Cross
April 15–John Jacob Astor IV billionaire {Titanic}
April 15–Isidor Strauss owner of Macy’s {Titanic}
April 20–Bram Stoker writer {Dracula}
May 14–Frederic VIII King of Denmark
July 17—Dorothy Goetz Berlin bride of Irving Berlin {composer}
Aug 22–Pope Gregory IX
Sept 5–Arthur MacArthur, Jr US Army General
Dec 7–George Darwin theorist, astronomer and mathematician

1912 Marriages in the headlines

Feb–Irving Berlin and Dorothy Goetz {she died 6 months later of typhoid fever}
Aug 10–Leonard and Virginia {Stephen} Woolf

Composer Irving Berlin married Dorothy Goetz in 1912, she died 6 months later of Typhoid Fever

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