Space Hurricanes are an Actual Thing

Artistic rendering of a space hurricane by Qing-He Zhang. Institute of Space Sciences, Shandong University

I kid you not. According to recently analyzed satellite data, in August 2014, a “…1,000km-wide swirling mass of plasma” hovered “several hundred kilometers above the North Pole” for about 8 hours, raining electrons. Professor Mike Lockwood of the University of Reading, says the phenomenon “must be created by unusually large and rapid transfer of solar wind energy and charged particles into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.”

This may not be an unusual occurrance.

The fact the hurricane occurred during a period of low geomagnetic activity suggests they could be more relatively common within our solar system and beyond.

Articles: Space hurricane observed for the first time from the University of Reading and The first known space hurricane pours electron ‘rain’ in Nature

The Genes We Lost Along the Way


MESDA Craftsman Database

Do you happen to have a carpenter in your family tree? How about a blacksmith? A bricklayer? Or any of 127 different crafts practiced in the American South (coopers NOT included, more’s the pity). This is your lucky day! I have just stumbled over this bit of magic! The MESDA Craftsman Database is an awesome resource.

Search to Discover

As a I often do, I was running Google Book searches on random ancestors, just to see. Upon entering “Benedictus Horsington” into the box, the first thing to pop up was from The Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts. Only a very confusing snippet was viewable, so I searched for the journal. Which I found, in full, through the Internet Archive. It took a bit to find the right issue. But, at last, Volume 25, No. 1, p. 172:

But what does it mean? To find out, I went to the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts website. The Research tab led me to the database.

Benedictus Horsington

When I typed “Horsington, Benedictus” into the appropriate field, I got the three records referred to in the journal. I clicked the apprenticeship record:

I’ve long suspected that Benedictus was the son of Thomas Horsington and wife, Katherine, who I’ve seen in Princess Anne County records. However, I’ve had no proof. Now, I do. I got more details when I looked up his Master.

One wonders what kind of role model Master Burns was to his young apprentice!

Andrew Lathinghouse, bricklayer, Gloucester County, Virginia

Filled with elation, and curiosity, I next searched for “Lathinghouse.” Well, our dear Andrew, living in Gloucester County (this was news to me!), indentured himself to William Taylor of James City County 13 Sep 1708. This indenture was supposed to last until “ye last day of March in ye yeare…Seven hundred and ten.” However, Taylor sold him to the Honorable Robert Carter, Esq. 3 Nov 1708. With little option, and, I would imagine, tons of frustration, Andrew agreed to serve Mr. Carter for an unspecified period after the original indenture expired. This occurred 9 Mar 1709. All of this took place in Lancaster County. Why articles of indenture of a man in Gloucester County to another from James City County happened in Lancaster County, I have no clue.

Covington, Francis and Thomas Searles of Essex County, Virginia

Another impulse led me to enter “Searles” into the box. Francis was my 7th great-grandfather. Bound to Covington 21 Feb 1738 until he turned 21, he was to learn the ship carpenter’s trade. Covington, himself, had learned his trade from James Curtis, to whom he was bound 15 Jul 1729. At that time, he was “almost” fifteen. The youngest Searles brother was taught a different trade.

On Petition of Covington Searles It is ordered that the Churchwardens of St. Anns Parish do bind Thomas Searles an orphan of Edward Searles deced an apprentice to Richard Coleman to learn the trade of a Joiner

Essex County Orders, 1742-43, p. 308

Chesley French Boulware apprenticed himself to Covington Searles 17 Jun 1746.

Geekness: Wolves, Plague, and Teeth

Credit: Mauricio Antón

DNA analysis has shown that dire wolves aren’t nearly as close to gray wolves and other canid species as previously thought. In fact, they appear to have been the sole survivors of an ancient lineage and should have their own genus, Aenocyon. The lineage of the dire wolf and that of the gray wolf split more than 5 million years ago. And, even stranger, dire wolves never interbred with either gray wolves or coyotes.

See: Ancient DNA reveals secrets of Game of Thrones wolves (EurekAlert!) and Dire Wolves Were Not Really Wolves, New Genetic Clues Reveal: The extinct giant canids were a remarkable example of convergent evolution by Riley Black (Scientific American)

A fascinating study from Stockholm University hints at a possible outbreak of Yersinia Pestis, aka the Plague, in the area west of Lake Baikal about 4400 years ago. It also demonstrates a genetic relationship between peoples inhabiting the Baikal area about 6000 years ago and Paleo-Inuit populations in Greenland approximately 4000 years BP.

See: Ancient DNA analysis reveals Asian migration and plague (EurekAlert!)

Some teeth discovered in Meipu cave in China, and dated between 780,0000 and 990,000 years ago, are NOT Homo erectus, but something older. They seem to have closer similarities with Homo ergaster and the Dmanisi hominins than with H. erectus.

See: Meipu teeth shed light on the human settlement of Asia (

As always, Lady Whistledown has the scoop!

Yay! Who will they cast to play Kate Sheffield, the future Viscountess Bridgerton and able wielder of the Mallet of Death? I’ve wondered if one of the Sheffields would inherit the Featherington estates. Or, perhaps, one of the Penwood family?

Can’t wait to see. Also, I love that Queen Charlotte has such a prominent role in the show, but, this is a Regency series. Where’s the Regent? Why hasn’t Prinny made an appearance?

Of Stains and Sins…and Ugly Truths


They pushed people into the mud and then called them filthy. They forbade people from accessing any knowledge of the world and then called them simple. They worked people until their empty hands were twisted, bleeding, and could do no more, then called them lazy. They forced people to eat innards from troughs and then called them uncivilized. They kidnapped babies and shattered families and then called them incapable of love. They raped and lynched and cut up people into parts, and then called the pieces savage. They stepped on people’s throats with all their might and asked why the people couldn’t breathe. And then, when people made an attempt to break the foot, or cut it off one, they screamed “CHAOS!” and claimed that mass murder was the only way to restore order.

They praised every daisy and then called every blackberry a stain. They bled the color from God’s face, gave it a dangle between its legs, and called it holy. Then, when they were done breaking things, they pointed at the sky and called the color of the universe itself a sin.

Decipherment of Linear Elamite

Very excited about this. I know there have been some fairly lengthy inscriptions found recently written with Linear Elamite.

And this is how I brought in the New Year

The first episode is EPIC! Just the look on Ivar’s face! The rest of the season felt anticlimactic after that. Until the Crazy Man. I’m excited for Valhalla.

This is how I spent my Christmas!


I watched the whole series, only stopping long enough to prepare dinner. It is awesome! Can’t wait for the second season!

Andrew Lathinghouse, there were three

In my post about Thomas Laughinghouse, Sr., I mention an early Andrew Laughinghouse. He purchased 100 acres “lying back of the north side of Pamplico River” from John Bean 2 December 1738 (Beaufort County Deed Book 2, p. 292). Andrew Laughinghouse, brick layer, sold this land to John McKeel 29 Aug 1741 (Beaufort County Deed Book 2, p. 407). Thomas witnessed the latter transaction. Since that post, I’ve learned there was one more Andrew.

Andrew the Elder

The first record I’ve found for Andrew Lathinghouse comes from Richmond County, Virginia.  On 6 Jun 1717, Mrs. Eliza Seale sued Andrew for nonpayment of debt (Virginia County Abstracts, Volume 17 by Beverley Fleet, p. 61).  

By 1 Mar 1717/8, he was in Chowan Precinct, North Carolina.  On this date, he was contracted by Joanna, widow of Thomas Peterson, to build a brick chimney among other sundry “works & labours.”  He charged her £10 sterling.  In Jul 1719, he sued her and her new husband, Paul Palmer, for nonpayment.  This case was, eventually, dismissed in Mar 1723 (North Carolina Higher Court Minutes, 1709-1723).  Andrew had to pay costs.  

Thomas Laughinghouse, but not Andrew, is listed on the Beaufort County Tax List for 1755, and only with one white poll, meaning he was the only male in the household of or over the age of 16.  Perhaps he died between 1741 and 1755.

Andrew Lathinghouse, Jr.

Yes, you read that right. There was, indeed, a junior. According to the Journal of North Carolina Genealogy, Volume 18-19 by William Perry Johnson, p. 2811, administration on the estate Andrew Lathinghouse, Jr. was granted James Calef in 1740.

Who married Patience Smith?

When discussing the senior Thomas, I make a point of clarifying this myth. His wife was named Susannah, NOT Patience. But, it turns out, Patience did marry a Lathinghouse.

Henry Crofton of the Said precinct [Beaufort] gent…on or about the Sixteen day of April 1734 in St. thomas Parish and precinct aforesaid did as a Justice of the peace Join Andrew Lathinghouse and Patience Smith together in the holy state of Matrimony….

The Church of England in North Carolina: Documents, 1699-1741 by Robert J. Cain, Editor p. 364

But which Andrew?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Crofton broke the law when he performed the ceremony.  The parish of St. Thomas had a minister in residence, John Garzia.  It was illegal for a lay person to officiate if that was the case.  Crofton owed Garzia £2.5 and another £2.5 to the parish.  He also married other couples.  Garzia sued Crofton and a summons issued for Andrew and Patience.  They failed to appear and a warrant went out for them 30 Jun 1736 (see here).

Was Andrew Laughinghouse, III really a Laughinghouse?

I think he was the natural, legitimate child of Thomas and Susannah.  I cannot prove this, however.  It is entirely possible he was the son of Andrew, Jr. and Patience.  Thomas and Susannah may have adopted him after his father’s death in 1740.  But I don’t think so.  Not only was Thomas the only taxable Laughinghouse in 1755, but also in 1762 (Pitt County Tax List, 1762).  Thus, no other male in the family was born in or before 1746.