April Reads 2016

Debutante-Ruin_JordanAfter finishing Because of Miss Bridgerton last month, I entered a Regency groove. Lord knows I have enough of them on my TBR pile/USB.  First, I did a quick re-read of Quinn’s The Viscount Who Loved Me for no other reason than Pal Mal and the Mallet of Death. Then, with breaks for The Beast and The Obsession, I devoured the following series: Sophie Jordan’s Debutante Files, Lorraine Heath’s Hellions of Havisham and her Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, Eva Leigh’s Wicked Quills of London.  Earl_LeighThey were all great fun.

Then I started on Sabrina Jeffries’ Sinful Suitors series.  The first book and the follow-up novella were pretty good, but I did not finish the second book, The Study of Seduction. Ethan and Clarissa were discussing their fake “secret” engagement after she was accosted by that French guy, and I just could not make myself read any further. Such convoluted idiocy. And, with that, my historical romance spree was broken.

Beast_WardThe Beast was surprisingly good. Assail didn’t bore me, for once. For the last several books, I’ve done a lot of skimming over his scenes. Especially Lover At Last. He got way too much page time in that book, and Quinn and Blay not nearly enough. But Assail’s scenes in this one. OMG! For one shining moment, I had hope that the whole Assail/Sola thing was dead and we could move on to something more interesting.  But, then, came the Cincinnati signing and all my hopes on that score were dashed. Unless the Warden plans on writing a menage HEA. I would be okay with that if it fit the story, but I know many would not. And, with what she revealed about Lassiter at the signing, the next book, The Chosen immediately went on my most anticipated list for 2017.

The Obsession was okay, but not awesome. The identity of the copy-cat killer was rather obvious. I’d pegged him for what he was shortly after he made his appearance earlier in the book.  When he made that lame attempt at blackmail.

Pompeii_Quinn-KaneAfter the romance, I was still in the mood for something historical, so I dug around/scrolled and found A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn, and Vicky Alvear Shecter. It provided a nice visit with Quinn’s Diana Cornelia and Senator Norbanus. I also really enjoyed Shecter’s contribution, “The Son,” from the point-of-view of Pliny the Younger and Knight’s “The Mother” almost made me cry it was so sad.

The end of the month saw the beginning of my Psy-Changeling re-read.  And I started the new Eva Leigh, Temptations of a Wallflower, and Lorraine Heath, The Earl Takes All.

Romance Kindled During Union Occupation of Fayetteville – NC Civil War Center : NC Civil War Center

I just found this.  David and Sarah were my 2nd great-grandparents.  My maternal grandfather was the son of their son John Edward Fields.

Source: Romance Kindled During Union Occupation of Fayetteville – NC Civil War Center : NC Civil War Center

LibraryReads May 2016

library_reads_logo_websiteBritt-Marie_BlackmanWell, I definitely agree with the librarians’ choice of favorite, Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman, which made my most anticipated reads list.  This is a sequel to the much loved My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.  I gave it 5 stars.  If you’ll remember, I said I wanted to give the stuffy, slightly OCD Britt-Marie a boot in the backside.  :)  Can’t wait to see what she gets up to now that she’s no longer chained to that a–hole.  Lamb_MilletVyleta_Smoke

Beyond that, Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet sounds interesting, and I’m especially intrigued by Dan Vyleta Smoke.

You can see the entire May list here.  See anything you like?

Neanderthals may have been infected by diseases carried out of Africa by humans, say researchers | University of Cambridge

A new study suggests that Neanderthals across Europe may well have been infected with diseases carried out of Africa by waves of anatomically modern humans, or Homo sapiens. As both were species of hominin, it would have been easier for pathogens to jump populations, say researchers. This might have contributed to the demise of Neanderthals.

Source: Neanderthals may have been infected by diseases carried out of Africa by humans, say researchers | University of Cambridge

The Vendrick Saga

For many years war ravaged the land along the Rhine. Seemingly endless battles between great powers, mostly over succession but sometimes over the land itself. People were tired. They were hungry. Then came the winter of 1708-09 and it was bad. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. People wanted out. For years, they’d been hearing wondrous tales of the New World. Specifically, Pennsylvania. Queen Anne, for reasons of her own, issued a blanket invitation to these Poor Palatines to come to London, and, thence, to America. Many answered. Thousands. More, in fact, than the English had bargained for. The Vendricks were among them.

By TUBS [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
By TUBS [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
On the fifth of February, 1702, in the region of Frankenthal (the little purple area pointed to by the arrow on the map), Johan Georg Wonnrich, son of Baltzar and Elizabetha, was baptized. His brother, Johann Wendel Wennerich, was baptized in the same place December 5, 1706.

In April 1709, two more babes were baptized in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Benedictus Weinrich was their sponsor. One was Jeremias Scheltzer, the other a “Bisschof baby girl.” The only one I have a specific date for was the Bischoff child who was baptized April 7. (Sources: The Fountain From Whence We All Come! – Balthasar Wenrich for Bisschof, and Lebanon Daily News, January 11, 1977, page 9 or The Palatine Families of New York: A Study of the German Immigrants Who Arrived in Colonial New York in 1710, Volume 1 by Henry Z. Jones, page x, for Scheltzer)

Balzar Weinrich, a forty year old Lutheran husbandman and vinedresser, appears on The Board of Trade List of First Party of Palatines in London, May 6, 1709. With him are his wife and their four children, sons aged 7, 5, and 3, and one daughter aged 15.  Benedict does not appear on any of these lists.

On August 25, 1710, Rev. Joshua Kocherthal baptized Johannes Wenerich, son of Benedict and Christina in New York. (Source: The Book of Names, Especially Relating to the Early Palatines and the First Settlers in the Mohawk Valley by Lou D. MacWethy, page 16, here)

NewYork1710

Both Baltzar Wenerick and Benedictus Wenerich appear, with their families, on the List of the Palatins Remaining at New York, 1710 (Source: The Documentary History of the State of New-York, Volume Three edited by Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan, page 339).

They are also on the New York Subsistence List of 1710-1712 (Source: Early eighteenth century Palatine emigration; a British government redemptioner project to manufacture naval stores by Walter Allen Knittle, page 290, Internet Archive):

Wennerich, Balthasar 3-2, 5-1
Wennerich, Benedict 2-2, 2-2

There are two entries per person. The first entry is at arrival in June 1710, the second in September 1712. The first number in each entry is the number of adults and children over 10, the second for children younger than 10.

From here, I’m going to leave Balthasar, though he shows up later, and follow Benedictus.  But, before I go on, I want to bring up something that has confused me.  In Historic Background and Annals of the Swiss and German Pioneer Settlers of Southeastern Pennsylvania… by Henry Frank Eshleman, I found this under 1711, page 192:

…before the ground was brought forth its first crop, they made preparations to bring the balance of their families over … Mart Kendig … went abroad and brought a company of Swiss and Germans back with him … the party consisted of the balance of families already here … and three others, whose Christian names are not given, Schlagel, Wenrich and Guildin.

From the text, I assume that “abroad” meant going back to Europe.  To clarify that point, I read the pages cited from Rupp’s History of Lancaster County (80-81).   It says:

Without unnecessary delay, Martin, the devoted friend of the colony, made ready — went to Philadelphia, and there embarked for Europe….

Only, instead of Wenrich, he gives the name as Venerick.  If that is the case, then how could this Wenrich/Venerick be Benedict Wennerich who was in New York? Were there two Palatines named Benedictus with such similar last names in America at the same time?  It’s a puzzle.

In 1712, presumably after September if he was in New York, Benedictus Venerich was among the Swiss and German Settlers in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Source: A collection of upwards of thirty thousand names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and other immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776 by I. Daniel Rupp, page 437, Internet Archive).

The year 1715 saw Benedictus Venerick the owner of 200 acres in Chester County, Pennsylvania (Source: Minutes of the Board of Property of the Province of Pennsylvania edited by William Henry Egle, page 597). Somehow he acquired another 50 acres because “…in 1716, 250 acres of land immediately southeast of Lancaster on the Conestoga Creek, was surveyed to Benedict Wenrich….” (Source: The Evening News Harrisburg, PA, June 4, 1941, page 21). On November 30, 1717, Benedictus Venerick was among the neighbors of Melchior Brenneman. He appears on several Conestoga Township assessment lists between 1718 and 1727 (Source: Assessment lists and other manuscript documents of Lancaster County prior to 1729):

Year Name as on List Assessment
1718 Benedictus Venerick 15 pounds
1719 Benedict Venry 30 pounds
1720-21 Benedictus Venrich 25 pounds
1722-23 Benedict Wenrick 10 pounds
1724-25 Benedick Venerick
Balser Wennerick
1725-26 Benedict Venery 6 shillings, 3 pence
Christian Venary 3 shillings
1726-27 Benedict Venery 5 shillings, 10 pence
Balso Venry 3 shillings

In 1727, in the 11th month, Benedictus Venerick sold his 250 acres to Christian Moyer (Source: Minutes of the Board of Property of the Province of Pennsylvania edited by William Henry Egle, page 755). After that, he moved to Craven Precinct, North Carolina (the part that would become Pamlico County in 1872), because that’s where we next find him, May 3, 1728-9, buying 180 acres of land on the North side of the Neuse River, along Green’s Creek, from Robert Pitts. Both Pitts and Benedictus Venery are referred to as being “of Craven Prect in Bath County & provc of No Carolina.” Here’s a transcription of the deed. He sold this same land to John Vendrick September 30, 1730 (see here).

Benadictus and John Wendrick were among the signers of the Petition of Craven Precinct for Altering the Seat of Government presented before the Governor and His Majesty’s Council on April 3, 1733 in Edenton.

The article of June 1941 in the Harrisburg Evening News quoted above, says that Benedict went back to Conestoga township to sell land in 1734, but what else there was to sell after 1727 I don’t know. I also don’t know if he came back to North Carolina, or even went back to Pennsylvania in the first place. His death is usually given as 1744 or 45. I just know I haven’t found anything else about him.

John Vendrick was the sole legatee and executor of the will of one Henry Parlepough in 1735-36:

The original will can be accessed through the NC MARS Archive website.  John was also granted Mr. Perlipah’s stock mark in 1738 (here).

The Colonial Court Records of North Carolina (Volume 4, edited  by William Laurence Saunders) has two entries for John Vendrick.  The first, on page 962:

At a Council held at New Bern 7th October 1749…Read the following Petitions for Warrants for Land Viz…John Vendrick 200 Craven…Granted.

and the second on page 1250:

At a Council held at the Council Chamber in New Bern the 1st Day of October 1751…Read the following Petitions for Warrants of Land Viz…Jno Vendrick 100 Craven…Granted.

All Vendrick land patents I can find on North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data are situated around Beard’s Creek, mostly the east side, except for one for John Vendrick, Sen., in 1771, on the east side of Goose Creek and one for Jesse Vendrick, 1808-9, between Gatlin’s Creek and Dawson’s Creek.  All of these are in what is now Pamlico County.

John, Peter, and Daniel Vendrick were all listed on the Roster of John Shine’s Company of the Craven County Militia, December 5, 1754.  Also, sometime in the 1760s, this List of a Company of Foot upon the North Shore commanded by Capt. James Shore included the following entries:

  • John Vondrick
  • +Peter Sendick X
  • Daniel Vandrick

Just what the plus sign and the “X” mean is not explained.

I don’t know if the original John Vendrick would have been considered young enough to serve in the militia in 1754.  He’d have been 44 years old then, so he almost certainly wouldn’t have been serving in the 1760s.  So, this could have been him and two sons, or all three could have been his sons.  I think the youngest you could be to serve was about 16, so all of these men would have been born during or before 1738.  If this is the Daniel Vendrick who wrote his will November 6, 1779, then there’s also a brother Abraham who he mentions in the will along with his wife, children, and brother John.  A Peter Vendrick was one of the witnesses.

On October 14, 1758, John Wendrick sold 205 (or 250) acres on Beard’s Creek he’d acquired from John Hoover to John Galloway (here).  Galloway would go on to sell this land to Isaac Reed January 21, 1761.

In 1769, there are three John Vendricks on that year’s List of Taxables and Carriage Wheels in Craven County.  The original John, maybe, a son, and a grandson, maybe.  There is no Peter Vendrick on this list.  I wonder if he died.  That could be what the “X” on the militia roster meant.  The second white male in the household of John Vendrick could be Abraham.

Vendrick, John Junr. 0 1 0 0 1
Vendrick, Daniel 0 1 0 0 1
Vendrick, John 0 2 1 0 3
Vendrick, John Younger 0 1 0 0 1

The first column is number of carriage wheels, the second the number of white males, the third the number of black males, fourth black females, and the last column is the total.  Remember all white males taxed are sixteen or over.  This changed in 1777 when the minimum taxable age was upped to 21.  Also, there was now a minimum amount of land that could be taxed.  If a man met the age requirement, but didn’t have the land, then he was just assessed a poll tax.  There’s a good explanation of this at Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness.  So, for this next tax list, 1779 (District 3, District 4), everyone is at least 21:

District Name Acres Other Property Poll Tax
3 Daniel Vendrick 570 1018
John Vendrick 400 2965
Abraham Vendrick Married man
poll tax
4 Jesse Vendrick 75 valued
at 250
170

I don’t know, for sure, when John, son of Benedict, died. There are Craven County wills for John Vendricks dated 1785, 1789, and 1804. Whether any of these was the son of Benedict is unknown.  The similarity of names between those of the 1785 will and those I’ve gleaned for Benedict’s John may be a coincidence.  Vendricks love to recycle names, remember?  But 1785 John may very well have been the son of Benedict.  As I speculated in my post about Chosewell Dixon’s possible second wife, I think that John of 1804 was the son of 1785 John. John of 1789’s wife was named Alles.

These are the Vendricks listed in Craven County in the 1790 census:

Heads of
Household
White Males White
Females
Other
Free
Slaves
16+ -16
Jesse Vendrick 1 2 5
Wm. Vendrick 1 1
Alice Vendrick
(widow of 1789 John)
1 4 5
Ann Vendrick
(possibly Joanna, widow of Daniel)
1 1 5
Abram Vendrick 1 2 2
Peter Vendrick 1 1 3
John Vendrick 2 1 5
James Vendrick 2 3
Rebecca Vendric
(widow of 1785 John)
3
Francis Vendrick 1 5

Into the labyrinth: My Vendricks, an overview

Since my mind is stuck on the Vendricks after my post Chosewell Dixon’s second wife? and the mother of Vendrick Dixon, let’s stay with them for a bit. Of the many speculations and conjectures in that post, I hypothesized that Penelope, daughter of the John whose will is dated November 30, 1804 and his wife, Mary, was the first wife of Churchill Vendrick. Church, along with Vendrick Dixon and James Martin, paid the administrator bond on Chosewell Dixon’s estate December 9, 1816.

To review:

Children of John Vendrick (-1804) and Mary (listed in order of mention):

  • Peter Vendrick
  • James Vendrick
  • Penny Vendrick – I speculate that she was the Penelope Vendrick who married Church Vendrick March 16, 1808.
  • Lany Vendrick – Married a Dickson. I speculate that she was the second wife of Chosewell Dixon but don’t entirely discount the possibility that she was, instead, the wife of his (hypothetical) son, John.  Either way, she was quite likely the mother of Vendrick Dixon.
  • Mary “Polly” Vendrick – She married George Carpenter February 22, 1785. They had a daughter named Sarah, who was mentioned in John’s will. Polly, herself, isn’t mentioned which leads me to conclude that she had died by November 30, 1804.  I think that Sarah may be the Sally Carpenter who married Elias Lawson June 28, 1808 with a James Vendrick as bondsman (see this post).
  • Eliza Vendrick – She married Hardy Hukins July 28, 1792. Note: Liza is not specifically called daughter in the will.
  • Rebeckah Vendrick – She married Ezekial Read September 26, 1797.

I theorized that this John Vendrick was the son of another John Vendrick, wife Rebeckah, who wrote his will February 4, 1785. I have no actual proof of this beyond a) they, as per the will, had a son named John, and b) John of the 1804 will had a daughter named Rebeckah.

Children of John Vendrick (-1785) and Rebeckah:

  • Peter Vendrick
  • John Vendrick – Perhaps the John Vendrick who died in late 1804.
  • Anne Vendrick – Her first husband was a Green. They had a son named Solomon who was mentioned in the will. Second, she married Thomas Harper, Jr. April 10, 1783.
  • Daniel Vendrick
  • Abraham Vendrick (-1812) – An Abram Vendrick married Mary Boyd January 8, 1805. Before this, he may have been married to a Mary E. Green according to this Green genealogy (#40). Or there could have been more than one Abraham Vendrick.
  • Francis Vendrick (-1815) – There are several Francis Vendricks, but I think this was the one who married Sidney Vendrick September 9, 1783. Thomas Harper was their bondsman.

The 1785 will also makes bequests to the heirs of John Boyd. This and the marriage between “Abram” and Mary Boyd makes me wonder if Rebeckah was a Boyd either by blood or previous marriage.

Why all this focus on Church Vendrick? His sister, Ruth, was my fourth great-grandmother on my mother’s side. Their father was named Jesse. He left a will dated September 10, 1819 which was probated in June of 1820. In the will are mentioned wife Sarah, sons Church and Jesse, daughters Easter and Ruthy Trewett and granddaughter Louisa Vendrick. Executors were “friend” William Trewitt and Church Vendrick. The will was witnessed by Thomas King, my fourth great-grandfather. His grandson, Thomas J. King, would marry Ruthy’s granddaughter, Nancy Ann Martin, November 6, 1870.

Sarah was not Jesse’s first wife or mother of his children. Jesse Vendrick, Sr., married Sarah Whitty March 13, 1817 with William Trewhitt as bondsman.  I don’t know who the mother of Jesse’s children was.

The children of Jesse Vendrick (-1820) were:

  • Ruth Vendrick – married William Trewhitt June 26, 1801
  • Churchill Vendrick (-1822) – married 1) Penelope Vendrick, probably daughter of John Vendrick (-1804) and Mary March 16, 1808 and 2) Elizabeth “Liza” Vendrick, daughter of James Vendrick (-1803) and Asenath “Seney” Ives November 4, 1816.  After his death, she married Thomas Smith January 28, 1823.
  • Jesse P. Vendrick, Jr. – married Elizabeth Vendrick November 4, 1816.  I don’t know who the parents of this Elizabeth were.  There were so many Elizabeth Vendricks it’s not even funny.
  • Easter Vendrick – married John Broughton March 13, 1821

Interestingly, John Broughton’s first wife, Sally, was Thomas King’s sister. They married August 4, 1810. Church Vendrick was their bondsman. John would repay the favor by standing as Thomas’s bondman March 24, 1814 so he could marry Sidney Lawson. For some unknown reason the marriage didn’t take place.  There is another marriage bond for Thomas and Sidney dated April 19, 1817 with no bondsman.  Also, Thomas named one of his daughters Asenath.  We’ll talk more about the Kings in a later post.

I don’t know who Jesse’s parents were.  There were, at least, four, maybe five, Jesse Vendricks alive at, roughly, the same time.

  • Our Jesse Vendrick who died in 1820
  • His son, Jesse.
  • Jesse B. Vendrick, the son of Francis Vendrick (-1815) and Sidney.  He is mentioned in his father’s will.  He’s the one who married Hannah Hukins September 1, 1815 with Francis Vendrick as bondsman.  He died before 1837 when his widow remarried.
  • Jesse, brother of the Peter Vendrick who fought in the Revolutionary War.  According to the record linked to above, Peter was born in 1760.  Something around this date would work for my Jesse, however, when asked if he had a record of his age, Peter replied:  “Yes it is contained in my fathers family Bible, which said Bible now belongs to my Brother Jesse Vendrick who resides in Craven County, and who now has it in possession.”  This inquiry took place October 17, 1832.  The use of the present tense implies that this Jesse was still alive at this time.  My Jesse was not.  There is a marriage bond dated May 28, 1819 between Jesse Vendrick and Sarah Jackson with Peter Vendrick as bondsman.  I don’t know if that would be this Jesse or his son.

Ruthy’s daughter, Aretta, married David Martin July 10, 1839. Vendrick Dixon was their bondsman. Just wondering: could David be the son of James Martin and Mary Dixon? The way my family tree twines around itself, it would not surprise me. It isn’t a tree, I don’t think, but a patch of kudzu!  The birth date I have for David, estimated from census data, is 1814.  James and Mary married in 1815, so, it’s possible.

Ritty, as she was called, and David were the parents of Nancy Ann Martin who married Thomas J. King, as I told you.

Another Vendrick connection, though more nebulous, involves Thomas J. King’s mother, Tabitha Everington King. Thomas’s father, Edward J. King, died in late 1850, leaving her a widow with a one year old son. A couple of years later, on December 1, 1852, she married John F. Vendrick. Michael Vendrick was their bondsman. John and Michael were the sons of James H. Vendrick (-1845), son of Peter Vendrick of the Rev. War (1760-1833) and Margaret “Pegga” Hyman, and Fanny Hukins. Fanny was the daughter of Eliza Vendrick, daughter of 1804 John, and Hardy Hukins. After Fanny’s death, James married her widowed sister, Hannah Hukins Vendrick. Hannah’s first husband, as stated above, was Jesse B. Vendrick, son of Francis (-1815) and Sidney Vendrick.

See what I mean about Vendricks marrying other Vendricks?

John would, later, stand as Michael’s bondsman when he married Jane Vendrick June 30, 1853. John and Tabitha disappear. They show up on no census I can find.  They had a daughter together, Julia, between 1855 and 1860. I only know this because of her marriage record.  A Julia Vendick shows up in the household of John Hall in 1870, and a July Vendrick in Bradford Gatlin’s in 1880.  She would marry John Micajah Sawyer January 10, 1882. Since he remarried in about 1887, Julia must have died before that.   Thomas was a farm laborer in the household of Levi Martin (David, I think.  Lot of the same names as David’s household in 1860) in 1870.  He and Nancy had their own household in 1880.  Interestingly, Nancy’s second husband would be a John B. Hall.  And Mr. Hall’s first wife had been Julia Everington Lewis, Tabitha’s widowed sister.  Nancy and Thomas’s son, John Hilliard King, would marry a Gatlin.

I have a question for any Lawson family researchers out there…

What connection did Elias Lawson, will dated December 24, 1827, have to the Sidney Lawson who married Thomas King April 19, 1817? He mentions “Thomas King’s children” in the will, but he doesn’t say what relation they were. Looking at the dates involved, I’m thinking Elias and Sidney were siblings, but I’m not sure. Maybe add Jesse Lawson to the mix. He stood bondsman for one of Elias’ marriages. Also, were they, any of them, the children of Samuel and Hester Lawson or of William Lawson and Elizabeth Jump who married June 5, 1782. If William, was he the son of Samuel? I also think that Elizabeth was the widow of Nathan Jump whose will is dated April 6, 1781, and was probated in December. Here are a few rough abstracts of the wills in question:

Testator Date of Will Persons Mentioned Proven
Elias Lawson Dec. 24, 1827 Wife: Sally
Children: James and Mary
“Thomas King’s children”
November 1728
Samuel Lawson Mar. 19, 1798 Wife: Hester
Children: 3 sons, 3 daughters
Grandchildren: Elesebeth Hutson,
Thomas Hutson
Executor: John Bigs, Sr.
June 1799
Nathan Jump Apr. 6, 1781 Wife: Elizabeth
Daughter: Julia
Brother: William
December 1781

And here’s the marriage bond information:

Date Groom Bride Bondsman View
June 5, 1782 William Lawson Elizabeth Jump Henry Purss View
July 22, 1791 James Hudson Mary Lawson Abraham Harper View
December 20, 1791
(or 1771 it’s hard to tell)
James Miller Nancy Lawson Samuel Lawson View
June 13, 1805 Jesse Lawson Hannah Hoover Jesse Watson View
June 28, 1808 Elias Lawson Sally Carpenter James Vendrick View
December 22, 1813 Elias Lawson Sally Pittman Jesse Lawson View
December 23, 1812 Asa Hoover Esther Lawson Abraham Reed View
March 24, 1814 Thomas King Sidney Lawson John Broughton View
April 19, 1817 Thomas King Sidney Lawson View
August 17, 1832 William W. Broughton Anna Lawson John Neale View

March Reads 2016

Written_BishopMarch was an excellent reading month, for me. I devoured two new-to-me series, one with extra relish. I loved Anne Bishop’s series The Others. There were a few people I was hoping would meet Tess, but, no such luck. Their deaths were appropriate, mostly, for their crimes, but I was saddened they didn’t get the Asia Crane experience. Vindictive? Oh, yeah.

Magical_BlakeI also blew through Deborah Blake’s Baba Yaga novels. Although, frankly, I didn’t like them as much as I thought I would. I loved the first novella, Wickedly Magical. It was laugh out loud funny, at times. The rest of the series, not so much.

OtherworldMen_ArmstrongI dipped my toes, so to speak, into Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. After reading a few of the novellas, I’m still not sure what I think. I’ll probably read the first full length novel, Bitten, before giving a final verdict. Right now, I’m on the shelf. (I couldn’t resist!)

FireTouched_BriggsAnd, speaking of Baba Yagas, there’s a strange and creepy one in Patricia Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson books, the latest of which Fire Touched, was awesome. Mercy ends up going into Underhill where she battles, among others, The Widow Queen who inspired the villainess in such tales as Snow White and Cinderella. But we start things off with a visit from an Avon lady type saleswoman and an epic battle with a huge green troll. While I prefer Charles and Anna, Mercy and Adam are a trip.

Phoenix_TylerAlso in the paranormal fiction category was the much anticipated (by me, anyway) Phoenix Reborn by J. D. Tyler, the latest of her Alpha Pack series. But I’m still a little pissed that it was a novella instead an actual novel. Nix and, especially, Noah deserved better than that. And the whole resolution of conflict was a bit of a cop out. As you can probably tell, I was more than a little disappointed in this one.

Guide_MacomberAnother disappointing read was A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber. In fact, I think I’m about ready to drop Macomber from my reading list. For the last couple of years her books, with the exception of the Blossom Street series, haven’t done anything for me. They haven’t been horrible, just not good.

Bridgerton_QuinnJulia Quinn’s latest, Because of Miss Bridgerton, was as far from a disappointment as you could get. It was hilarious, and wrenching, and heart-warming. All the things you’d expect from a Bridgerton, indeed, a Julia Quinn, novel. The ending, however, grated a bit. It was evil. That last sentence. How long do we have to wait for the next book?

Housewife_EllisAmerican Housewife, a collection of short stories by Helen Ellis was another amusing read. I especially got a kick out of “Wainscotting Wars.” The Tampax one, though, was kind of disturbing. It may take a while before I can walk passed a Tampax display without getting the heebies.

Words_LahiriI also read Jhumpa Lahiri’s new nonfiction work, In Other Words. This is the story of her journey into Italian and was, in fact, originally written in that language. It also reveals her frustration, alienation, and isolation with always being considered a foreigner in her native land, her native language. Even in that of her parents.  Very thought provoking.

1536_LipscombFinally, I read Suzannah Lipscomb’s 1536: The Year That Changed Henry VIII. This was a fascinating exploration of how the events of 1536 affected Henry’s physical and psychological health. Especially interesting was Dr. Lipscomb’s theories concerning the Framing of Anne Boleyn and her portrayal of Mark Smeaton as a stalker. I’m surprised the movie makers haven’t jumped all over that.

What about y’all. Read anything good lately?

Nerdly News

Lots of nerdly morsels to feed the brain this morning.

Archaeologists in Italy have discovered what may be a rare Etruscan sacred text likely to yield rich details about Etruscan worship and early beliefs of a lost culture fundamental to western traditions. The lengthy text is on a large 6th century sandstone slab uncovered from an Etruscan temple, said Gregory Warden, principal investigator of Mugello Valley Archaeological Project, which made the discovery, and professor emeritus, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, main sponsor of the project.

Source: Text in lost language may reveal god or goddess worshiped by Etruscans at ancient temple – EurekAlert! (Southern Methodist University)
March 29, 2016

An ancient species of pint-sized humans discovered in the tropics of Indonesia may have met their demise earlier than once believed, according to an international team of scientists who reinvestigated the original finding. Published in the journal Nature this week, the group challenges reports that these inhabitants of remote Flores island co-existed with modern humans for tens of thousands of years.

Source: Indonesian ‘Hobbits’ may have died out sooner than thought – EurekAlert! (Griffith University)
March 30, 2016

The heavily studied yet largely unexplained disappearance of ancestral Pueblo people from southwest Colorado is not all that unique, say Washington State University scientists. Writing in the journal Science Advances, they say the region saw three other cultural transitions over the preceding five centuries. The researchers also document recurring narratives in which the Pueblo people agreed on canons of ritual, behavior and belief that quickly dissolved as climate change hurt crops and precipitated social turmoil and violence.

Source: Ancient Southwest marked by repeated periods of boom and bust – EurekAlert! (Washington State University)
April 1, 2016

The first large-scale study of ancient DNA from early American people has confirmed the devastating impact of European colonization on the Indigenous American populations of the time.

Source: Ancient DNA shows European wipe-out of early Americans – EurekAlert! (University of Adelaide)
April 1, 2016

With the help of detailed satellite images, scientists have uncovered what may be a previously unknown Viking settlement in Newfoundland, Canada, news sources report.

Source: Satellite Images Reveal Possible Viking Settlement in Canada – Live Science
April 1, 2016