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Linda Roorda

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About Linda Roorda

  1. I Remember A Dad...

    Father’s Day… a time to remember the dads we treasure. They’ve taught us well in the ways of life. I remember a lot about my dad. In fact, it would be fair to say I had put him on a pedestal while growing up. It seems he could do anything and everything, a jack-of-all-trades. Though none of us can measure up all the time, there is One who is perfect… who forgives all our failings… our heavenly Father. There is so much my Dad, Ralph, taught me and my siblings, including all about the love of Jesus. As a small child on the farm, I would say, “Jesus is my best friend!” But, for a time as a teen, I forgot my childhood friend until my Dad reminded me of those words I used to say as a little girl. Oops! I loved playing board games on Sunday afternoons with my Dad, especially Scrabble. I love the challenge of this game and tend to play aggressively, perhaps because I was in tough competition with my Dad. Though I won only one game against him over those few years, it was a sweet victory knowing that I’d accomplished the win without his having given me an edge. He taught me honesty was the right way such that in 8th grade English class I chose to write an essay entitled “Honesty Is The Best Policy”, receiving an A. Actually, I think I may have gotten writing and art abilities from him. Although he was an exceptional storyteller, imitating voice and mannerisms of various comedians, I speak best through the written word. He also had a gift for drawing with his talent for art passed on to me and my son. As we grew up, we loved hearing Dad tell family stories of his and our childhoods. He had a gift for telling them in a personalized humorous way, and how I long to hear them all again. I asked him to write them down for posterity, but he never did. When he drove truck in the latter 1960s through the 1980s (and later huge tractors for an Iowan farmer in the ‘90s), he’d come home with stories from the road. He shared radio routines by Bill Cosby and southern Cajun comedians, recalling their stories and imitating accents perfectly! That was way better entertainment than TV any day! I also recall a few stories of his time in the Army at Fort Greeley, Alaska (1956-1957), a foreign assignment before official statehood. From 18 months to 2 years, I was too young to remember my six months at Delta Junction with my baby sister. But, I do remember having heard how he and several buddies found a sunken rowboat. As it lay not far below the surface of a lake, they pulled it up, cleaned it off, and took it out to fish. It made for an interesting adventure to say the least – while they each took a turn fishing, the other three worked hard at bailing to keep the boat afloat! Now that’s dedicated fishermen! Fort Greeley is also where he learned to drive big rigs. With someone ill, he was asked to take over in the motor pool one night. Proving he could handle backing up a trailer perfectly, the commanding officer asked where he’d learned to do that since everyone else struggled. “Backing up a manure spreader, Sir!” was his dutiful reply. They kept him in the motor pool, where he got invaluable training for later driving 18-wheelers. He also was given an unprecedented promotion because he took the time to thoroughly clean an office coffeepot, a skill learned from his Dutch immigrant mother who had taught him all aspects of housekeeping while growing up, like any good Dutch mother. With a general visiting Fort Greeley, and the coffee-making task handed down to my Dad, he took pains to provide a clean urn for making fresh-brewed coffee… which greatly impressed the general. When the general asked who made the coffee, the aide who was supposed to have made it “blamed” my Dad. Instead of the feared reprimand for the typically bad-tasting coffee the office was known for, the general complimented my father on the best cup he’d ever tasted! Turning to the senior officer, he told him to give my father a promotion! When we were younger, he always had time for us. I enjoyed it when he took us fishing. And, though I could never bring myself to touch those worms (still can’t!), let alone put them on a hook, and never did catch “the big one,” it was the quality time with our Dad that meant the world to us kids. As a tomboy, I especially enjoyed working outside with my Dad whether it was in the barn learning to care for the animals, in the huge vegetable gardens, or traipsing the fields and woods hunting. That love just naturally transferred to enjoying the time spent working alongside my husband out in the barn or in the yard, even growing my own gardens. As we grew older, I still adored my Dad. In my teens, he listened to us and gave sound advice, but I wasn’t always ready to listen to him. His careers changed from farming, to driving a grain truck delivering feed to dairy farmers, to carpentry with his Dad, a general contractor in northeast New Jersey, to driving a tank truck “locally” and later OTR (over the road/cross country). When we lived in Clifton, he drove chemical tankers locally in northeast Jersey, southern New England, and New York City. What stories he brought home from his experiences! I got to ride with him only twice and wish it could have been more. I was never so happy as when we moved back to New York in 1969! Though I hated city life, I can now look back with fond memories of Clifton. But, as we settled in to “backyard farming,” he taught me how to raise our mare, War Bugg, a granddaughter of Man O’ War. I helped him build her corral and box stall in the small barn, along with re-roofing and remodeling the old chicken coop for our flock. And then came the heavy-duty barn chores of mucking out the pens, learning to groom War Bugg and how to pick up her feet to clean the undersides. I saw his deep concern when I stepped on a wasp’s nest in the haymow with 11 stings on my leg, and saw his gratefulness for my dousing him with a 5-gallon pail of water when a torch threatened to catch him on fire while trying to burn tent caterpillars. But, I also learned the hard way that running War Bugg flat out up the road and back could have killed her. I was scolded but good, yet taught to walk her slowly, allowing her to have only small sips of warm water until she cooled down. As we grew older, we teens were often in our own world. Soon enough, I got married and began a new life with my new family, while my siblings and parents scattered themselves around the U.S. Life changes, and we change with it. I well remember teasing my Dad as a child when he turned 30 that he was old, and that when he would turn 50 he’d be “way over the hill.” Well, Dad, guess what? Your oldest daughter reached that milestone a ways back, too! Giving him this writing in 2014 before he passed away in 2015, he knew I felt blessed to have him as my Dad. Sometimes I wish I could go back and recapture the childhood fun of days long ago, but I greatly treasure the memories that linger. May you each be blessed with very special memories of your Dad! Happy Father’s Day! I Remember A Dad Linda A. Roorda I remember a dad who took me fishin’ And remember a dad who hooked my worms, Who took those hooks from fishy mouths, And showed me the country way of life. ~ A family of six, two girls and four boys Fun and trouble we shared as we grew. From farms and fields to paved avenues, Walking and biking, exploring we went. ~ I remember a time spent playing games, A dad who’d not cheat for us to win. Family and friends and holiday dinners, Lakes and farms and countryside drives. ~ Weeds were the bane of childhood fun, So ‘tween the rows we ran and we played. But as I grew and matured in age, Weeding was therapy in gardens of mine. ~ I remember a dad who thrived on farming Livestock and gardens, and teaching me how. I remember a dad who took me huntin’ Scouting the fields, always alert. ~ I remember a dad who taught us more For growing up we learn by example. I remember working alongside my dad Roofing a barn and building corrals. ~ I remember a dad whose gifts were given In fairness to meet each child’s desire. I remember a dad whose wisdom we honor In memories of caring and love in small ways. ~ I remember a dad who brought us laughter With Cajun and Cosby stories retold. For blessed with a gift of retelling tales Family and childhood events he recalled. ~ I remember a dad whose time was given To help his children face life’s turmoils. Time spent together are memories treasured For things done best put family first. ~ I remember a dad who taught me more To treasure my faith in Jesus my friend. In looking to Him as Savior and Lord, Salvation by Grace, not earned by my deed. ~ As I look back to days long ago, I remember the dad I knew so well. For I miss the dad who took me fishin’ And remember the dad who taught me more. ~ All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author. ~~
  2. Releasing With Love

    As we travel life’s path we all manage to lose a few things… like special trinkets, and perhaps a few friends from another time and another place as live moves on. We even lose our patience a few more times than we care to admit. Though losing something special can be painful, it’s different from giving it away… releasing that treasure on our own is a whole other story, a gift of love. In this season of graduations, my thoughts began to travel in the direction of releasing our young with love. Letting go of what we hold dear can be difficult, perhaps even bittersweet, yet the release can leave us with a warm glow in our heart. It’s a process that takes time. As Corrie ten Boom, one of my favorite authors, once said, “I have learned to hold all things loosely, so God will not have to pry them out of my hands.” Like a mother hen, we lovingly protect and keep our little ones safe, and try to impart some of our hard-earned wisdom over time before letting them take off on their own. After all, we truly want the best for them! But, as our little ones grow up, they mature with a wisdom found only by taking some of life’s most difficult steps. Learning to walk, falling down is a frequent occurrence as they learn how to get back up again. Then, as they continue to grow and mature, they also benefit by failing a few times, learning how to pick themselves up to try again. At times, though, I was over protective of my children, a hover-mother, not wanting them to face some of the difficulties I had… not my best parenting idea. I loved my children and wanted to be involved in every aspect of their little lives, especially since I didn’t have that type of close relationship with my own mother. We all know parenting has its challenges, and every so often I’d say, “It’s hard to raise a mother!” Raising our children was a joint learning venture, especially since they managed to arrive without an individual instruction manual in hand. But, now we have the pleasure of watching our children raise their children, and hearing their stories holds extra special meaning. Like when our daughter, Emily, was trying to put her middle son down for a nap. He had every excuse in the book as he fussed around. Finally, she let him know how frustrated she was getting with him. Patting her arm, 3-year-old Sam gently said, “It’s ok, Mom. You’ll get used to it!” And Em had to tuck her face into his blanket so he wouldn’t see her laughing. There’s more wisdom in those words than little Sam could have ever known! For out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom sweet. Should we hold too tightly to our children and their childhood, we may not allow them the freedom they need to grow and adjust with life’s changes. They may not become the well-adjusted mature adults they are meant to be. And, if we fail to help them discipline their own actions, they won’t know the rewards of self-control. Each child is a unique individual, a most precious gift from God to be treasured and loved as we guide them in starting their journey of life. My friend, Mimi, once shared a quote from her stitchery with me – “There are two lasting gifts we can give to our children – one is roots, the other is wings.” How true! May we love our children enough to provide them with the deep roots of a sturdy foundation, laughing and crying alongside them, while giving them wings and freedom to fly out into the great big world on their own. And may we learn the gift of releasing with love… allowing us all to see the beauty deep within their heart. Releasing With Love Linda A. Roorda Along life’s journey we lose a few things Like fancy trinkets and friends of the heart Even some time, and patience, too All that holds meaning through our hands will slip. ~ Losing possessions with meaning attached Shows how futile to retain our grip As respected wisdom gives true perspective That where grace abounds we hold but loosely. ~ When losing our self for a greater good We follow a path of godly wisdom And in giving thought to what holds our heart Is found the key essential to life. ~ For the years of youth build up to the time When wisdom is gained and freedom earned, We’ve gently led and helped them to know It’s time to fly on wings of their own. ~ By clutching firmly life’s fleeting passage We cannot grasp the beauty within For in the act of releasing with love We’ll come to treasure each moment’s sweet gift. ~~ 05/19/17 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author. ~~
  3. From Whence Cometh Your Name?

    That's great they've done so much already! That's the best I can come up with for your VanDeMark meaning
  4. From Whence Cometh Your Name?

    Glad you enjoyed this, Hal! From a quick search online, Van de/der Mark is a topographical surname of those who lived by a border or boundary (of something!), from Middle Dutch marke/merke. My Dutch/English translation book does not give that meaning, but I'd go with it from a good legit source. Also, I'd be happy to check census records for some of your ancestors back into early Nieuw Nederlands if you'd like. You may email me at elr1074@frontier.com with names I can search - but be sure to fill in the subject line
  5. From Whence Cometh Your Name?

    Chances are, if your surname is Cooper, Currier, Miller, Slater, Smith, Tanner, Tailor/Taylor, or Wright, etc., the earliest known source for your name can be traced to those ancestors employed with such skills at a time when an occupation typically became the family’s surname. Over time, others may have adopted occupational surnames even though they, themselves, held no skilled connection to such a name. Some names are more obvious than others. A few years ago while writing this article on surname occupations, and discussing it with my husband, Ed began his own litany of surnames – Baker, Barber, Butcher, Carpenter, Plumber, Electrician… Laughing, I said, “No one’s last name is Electrician!” to which he replied, “Oh that’s right; they shortened it to Sparks!” You’re so helpful, dear! Centuries ago, typical Scandinavian patronymic (paternal) surnames used the father’s first name with sons adding “sson/sen/zen/zon” and daughters adding “dotter/dottr”, i.e. Nielsson/Nielsen, Nielsdottr”. Thus, each generation was tracked by the father’s birth name as a prefix in a generational changing surname. Legislation began in 1771 to establish permanent surnames, with subsequent amendments enacted frequently since. Surnames also denoted town of residence, name of residence, or occupation, for example: Moller = Miller, Schmidt = Smith, and Fisker = Fisher. Norwegian surnames might also reference their farmland, such as: Bakke/Bakken (hill or rise), Berg/Berge (mountain or hill), Dahl/Dal (valley), Haugen/Haugan (hill or mound), Lie (side of a valley), Moen (meadow), or Rud (clearing). Similarly, Swedish surnames include Lind/Lindberg (linden/lime + mountain), Berg/Bergkvist (mountain/mountain + twig), Alström/Ahlström (alder + stream), or Dahl/Dahlin (valley). Read more HERE. As a genealogist, I enjoy the study of surnames and what they mean, and to what nationality they’re linked. In genealogy research, I’ve been bemused by some of the names chosen centuries ago when families were forced to take a designated surname. I am more familiar with our Dutch family names, many families forced to adopt permanent surnames by Napoleon if they didn’t already have one. After occupying the Netherlands, on August 18, 1811, Napoleon required the hardy Dutch to register permanent surnames. The stubborn Dutchmen that they were/are, you can find many interesting surnames among today’s Dutch if you delve into the meaning, including serious, humorous, place names, and occupational names. Apparently, the top 10 Dutch surnames include: DeJong/DeYonge (the Young), Jansen (Jan’s son, like the American Johnson), De Vries (the Frisian, or of Vriesland), Van De Berg/Van Den Berg/Van Der Berg (from the mountain), Van Dijk/Van Dyk/Dyke (residing near a dijk/dyk/dike), Bakker (a baker), Visser (means fisherman with variations including Vissers, Visscher and Visschers. After emigration to America, this surname was often changed to Fisher, which my paternal grandfather’s uncle did); Smid/Smit/De Smit/Smidt/Smits (a blacksmith), Meijer/Meyer/Hofmeijer (a farmer who managed a farm/estate for the owner/landlord like the ancient feudal system.) My paternal grandmother’s Vos of Zuid/South Holland province means fox. My paternal grandfather’s Visscher (fisherman) family is from Groningen province, close to Germanic influence, and my husband’s Roorda (similar to the English Edward meaning famous guardian) is Frisian. The first documented Roorda in Friesland province rode with Charlemagne, though I don’t know how my husband’s ancestors connect to him. My mother-in-law’s family names include Van Der Heide (from the moor/heath), Van Den Berg (from the hill/mountain), and ten Kate (the cat). Other common Dutch surnames include Boer (farmer), Buskirk (bush church, i.e. kirk/church in the woods), de Groot (the large or great), de Wit (the blond), Mulder (miller), Noteboom (nut/walnut tree), ten Boom (at/the tree or pole), Van Der Zee (from the sea), van Dorp (from the village) van Staalduinen (from the steel dune) – you get the idea! As my long-time readers will recall, I’ve been enamored with all things Dutch having been born into a paternal full Dutch family. Though my mother’s family had had little knowledge of their full ancestry until my in-depth research, it is interesting to note my mother’s paternal Swiss Dallenbach/Tillapaugh/German Kniskern and maternal Scots-Irish McNeill/German Ottman are overwhelmingly Dutch and German Palatine with Scots-Irish, English and French scattered amongst them. That my mother’s parents each descend from one of the only two sons of a German Palatine widow is also among my treasured ancestral findings. I extracted a number of Dutch surnames from Wikipedia, particularly since early New York was settled predominantly by the Dutch in New Netherlands. Think about the names below, sound them out using your best phonics, and you’ll hear names and terms in use today, many of which are familiar to me from my grandparents and their friends. Baas – The Boss Bakker – Baker Beek, van – From the brook Bos – Forest Berg, van der/den – From the cliff, mountain Berkenbosch- birch wood, a grove of birch trees Boer, de – the Farmer Boogaard – from the orchard, Americanized as Bogart Boor, van der – possibly of the same French root as Boer – farmer or simple person, aka boorish Bouwman – mason, construction worker Brouwer – Brewer Bruin, de (Bruijn, de) – brown Buskirk, van – literally bush church, or church in the woods Cornelissen – son of Cornelis/Cornelius Dekker – from the verb dekken or to cover as in covering roof tops (compare English "Thatcher") Dijk, Deijck, van – From the dike Dijkstra – From the dike Graaf, de – The count/earl Heide, van der – from the heath Hendriks, Hendriksen, Hendrix – Henry's son Heuvel, van den – From the hill, mound Kuiper, Cuyper, Kuyper, de – the Cooper Leeuwen, van – From Leeuwen/Leuven; Levi Jaager, de – the Hunter Jansen, Janssen – Jan's son (compare Johnson) Jong, de – the Junior Koning, Koningh, de – the King Lange, de – the long/the tall Linden, van der – from the Linden (type of tree) Meijer, Meyer – Bailiff or steward Meer, van der – From the lake Molen, van der – from the Mill Mulder, Molenaar – Miller Maarschalkerweerd – Keeper of the horses (compare English marshal) Peters or Pieters – Peter's son Prins – Prince Ruis, Ruys, Ruisch, Ruysch – the sound of wind or water (surname common with millers). Rynsburger – inhabitant of Rijnsburg Smit, Smits – Smith Teuling – Toll taker Timmerman – Carpenter (timber man) Tuinstra – From the Garden Visser – Fisher [my ancestral Visscher – Fisherman (from Groningen, near Germanic influence)] Vliet, van – From the vliet (type of water) Vries, de – from Friesland/Frisian Vos – Fox Westhuizen, van der – from the houses located in the west Willems, Willemsen – William's son Wit, de – White (= the blond) But, back to our preoccupation with occupational surnames, particularly old English surnames. Brewster was a woman brewer of alcoholic beverages, like beer. Chapman, old English for ceapmann, was a merchant or salesman. A cooper made wooden barrels or tubs with innumerable uses. A miller owned or worked in a mill, especially noted early on for grinding grain into flour. A smith was a blacksmith, hammering out iron objects heated in the fire. A tanner cured hides, while a currier (remember the artwork of Currier and Ives?) removed the hair from the hide, readying it to be made into leather goods. An experienced tailor could sew the finest outfits just by taking your measurements. A wright was a skilled woodworker, the word replaced by carpenter in the 11th century. A prefix designated other skills a wright might be proficient in – i.e. a shipwright built ships, a wheelwright made and repaired wooden wheels, a millwright set up machinery, and a wainwright was a wagon maker. The name Cooper is Anglo-Saxon, stemming from the original Latin word cupa, Middle Dutch kuiper, German kuper, and anglicized in England during the 8th century. Surnames were also necessary when governments implemented a personal tax, or the Poll Tax as it was known in England. Over the centuries, many surnames have changed spellings, some dramatically so, often due to one’s ability to spell, or lack thereof. This fact alone is key when researching your ancestors. A cooper was a skilled craftsman who worked with a variety of carpentry tools. He made and shaped wooden staves with broadaxes, planes and drawknives to form the rounded vessel, which in turn was held together by wooden or metal hoops/rings around the exterior. He then fashioned wooden lids or barrelheads to fit tightly. A cooper played a vital role within a community. His barrels, buckets, butter churns, casks, firkins, hogsheads, kegs and tubs, etc. were needed to hold milk, water and a whole range of staples/food supplies, dry food goods, gunpowder, and other liquids like beer and wine. The products of a cooper’s trade were generally known as cooperage, or individually a piece of cooperage. A dry or slack cooper made wooden containers for dry goods including grains, nails, tobacco, fruits and vegetables. A dry-tight cooper’s casks kept moisture out, enabling gunpowder and flour to be preserved. A white cooper made the pails, buckets, dippers, butter churns and tubs to hold liquids, but these were not used for shipping. These containers used straight staves, or wood that was not bent. The wet or tight cooper made barrels and casks in which liquids, including beer and wine, could be stored and preserved, and later transported. Certain woods have long been used in wine barrels to give a distinctive flavor enhancement to wine and liquors. When we think of a miller, one who owned or worked in a mill, we usually envision a gristmill in an idyllic setting by a flowing stream and peaceful pond. The water flowed over the wooden “paddle wheel” which turned the shaft/gears which turned the millstone. A miller is among the oldest professions, a vital link within the community since everyone needed his product. Millers took grain and ground it finely between two flat millstones to make flour, the staple of breads, biscuits, pastries and pasta. Almost every community had its own mill for the convenience of local farmers transporting their grain. The miller’s income often stemmed from a “miller’s toll,” a certain percentage of the grain he had milled rather than a monetary fee. Wikipedia describes the milling process well: “The millstones themselves turn at around 120 rpm. They are laid one on top of the other. The bottom stone, called the bed, is fixed to the floor, while the top stone, the runner, is mounted on a separate spindle, driven by the main shaft. A wheel, or stone nut, connects the runner's spindle to the main shaft, and this can be moved out of the way to disconnect the stone and stop it from turning, leaving the main shaft turning to drive other machinery. This might include driving a mechanical sieve to refine the flour or turning a wooden drum to wind up a chain used to hoist sacks of grain to the top of the mill. The distance between the stones can be varied to produce the grade of flour required; moving the stones closer together produces finer flour.” Smith, another common old English surname of the Anglo-Saxon era, or the German smithaz or Schmidt, originates from workers who were skilled in working with metal, such as a blacksmith or metalsmith. They made wrought iron or steel items by forging - the process of heating the metal in a fire until it is soft enough to be hammered, bent or cut to make gates, railings, agricultural implements, tools, household items, and weapons, etc. Typically, a blacksmith made horseshoes while a farrier shod the horse, though often their skills were interchangeable. A whitesmith/tinsmith or tinker worked with tin, typically making useful household items. Working with a lighter metal, he did not need the higher temperatures of a blacksmith’s fire. The skills of both a silversmith and goldsmith are self-explanatory. Tanner is also an ancient Anglo-Saxon surname taken by those employed in the process of tanning animal hides/skins. It is thought to be of Celtic origin, a word for the oak tree and its bark which was used for tanning. A tanner held an important skill during the medieval era when leather was used for many common but necessary items including buckets, clothing, shoes, harness and saddles, and even armor for battle. Tannin (from the German word “tanna” for oak or fir, i.e. Tannenbaum) is the chemical residue from oak tree bark used to treat the animal hides, also producing the coloring during the process. The Wikipedia article in my research includes a photo entitled “Peeling bark for the tannery in Prattsville, New York during the 1840s, when it was the largest in the world.” Here, men are shown removing strips of bark from the base of trees in the forest. Oak and hemlock were the trees of choice. After peeling the bark off, the trees were sawn into firewood or lumber. The bark was set out to dry, then ground down and put into vats of water, and left to leach out the tannic acid necessary for tanning hides. Many of those early virgin forests were thus logged bare for the tanning products. Some of the tools used in the process of tanning include: Fleshing knife – for removing the flesh from an animal skin/hide Unhairing knife – for removing the animal hair on the skin/hide Sleeker – for smoothing the skin/hide Buffer – for shining the animal's skin/hide Stone mill - driven by horses, used for grinding oak-tree bark which is used during tanning. In the old days, tanning was an odiferous trade, typically performed by the poor on the outer edges of town. Even today, if the old-fashioned methods are used, tanneries emit foul odors and shops are set up well away from populated areas of town. The process is a lost art, one I found fascinating to read about, even if yucky. Again, Wikipedia gives an apt description of the processes. There may be some within our communities who trap and tan the animal hides to make their own leather. If so, they likely use a modern chemical process which I saw described online. But, for the purpose of the history of this interesting old skill, we’ll describe the ancient process. When the skins/hides arrived at the tanner’s shack, they were dry, stiff and filthy. The first step was to soak them in salt water for curing to help prevent bacterial decay. The soaking steps also helped to clean and soften the hides. The hides were next treated with a layer of lime, and then pounded and scoured to remove any remaining flesh and fat. The hair needed to be removed, either by soaking in urine, coating it with a lime mixture, or letting the skin putrify for a few months before dipping it into another salt solution. With the hair loosened, the tanner could more easily scrape the hair fibers off with the unhairing knife. After the hair had been removed, either animal brains, manure/dung or urine was pounded or rubbed into the skin. The ancient tanner often used his bare feet to knead the skins in dung water for a few hours. Centuries ago, tanners hired children to collect dung and urine from chamber pots set out on street corners for such a purpose. Plant juices or bone marrow, urine and rotted brains were used by many African tribes to make soft leather. The ancient Hebrews used oak bark, Egyptians used Babul pods, and the Arabs used barks and roots. Japanese preferred rapeseed (a flowering plant) and safflower oils. Eskimos used fish oil, while Native Americans would smoke the hides to tan them. Mud and alum were used by the ancient Chinese, as did the Assyrians, Babylonians, Phoenicians, Indians, and Greeks. Softening the hide can be done by further pounding or rubbing it with sticks or heavy ropes, or by pulling it from the edges with another person to stretch it out. After putting the hide through all these processes, it would be pliable and to ready to use in making various items. I remember going with my father as an early teen to a leather shop in Newark, NJ where he picked out leather of various shades, thickness and flexibility, including alligator hide. Using a variety of tools to create designs, he made beautiful purses for my mother and others in the family. I still have a small one he made when I was about 5. The ancients took leftover leather scraps from their projects and put them into a vat with water to rot. After several months, this mixture was boiled down to make hide glue. Nothing was wasted! A cooper, blacksmith, tailor or wheelwright can often be found in living history museums like those I have visited: Bement-Billings Museum in Newark Valley, NY; the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, NY; Genesee Country Village Museum in Mumford, NY; and Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, just to name a few as there are so many other museums to visit.
  6. Mary or Martha?

    I got to thinking one evening while cleaning up dishes after dinner… am I a Mary or a Martha? Or perhaps a little of both? I’ve always been intrigued by the biblical story of Mary and Martha, two sisters, friends of Jesus along with their brother, Lazarus. Luke 10:38-42 describes Jesus’ visit to their home where Mary joined others and sat at His feet, listening to His teaching. But, Martha remained in the other room preparing a meal for their guests. While busying herself with all that went into food preparation, her frustration simmered to a boiling point. Life gets so busy and hectic sometimes, doesn’t it? Ever feel like you’re trapped in the kitchen while everyone else is having a great time visiting, talking and laughing? I’ll admit I have! Cooking is not my forte`. I’d much rather be visiting with my guests than in the kitchen. So, I empathize with Martha. There’s so much to do for your guests, and you fret and worry as time presses in. You want everything to be right for them to feel special, loved and appreciated… to give attention to the fine details as you prepare to serve them a delicious meal. Being the oldest of six, having helped care for four younger brothers during my teen years, plus an every-other-day 8-hour babysitting job of four children all through high school (alternating evenings with my sister), plus other weekend babysitting jobs, plus caring for my horse and flock of chickens and ducks, plus working for a lawyer in the afternoons during my senior year of high school and full-time after graduation, contributing a portion of my income to my parents for room and board while also buying my own clothes, fabric to make clothes, paying for my own school supplies and for a car with its upkeep, I’ve always felt responsible for myself, and everyone and everything else. Even my husband and kids will tell you that! To be honest, with Martha being the oldest sibling, perhaps she also carried the weight of responsibility and obligation that Mary may not have felt as strongly. So, as Martha prepared the meal, in frustration and perhaps with a quick temper, she petulantly asked Jesus, “Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?” and then even demanded, “Tell her to help me!” On one hand, you’d think that was a valid request – after all, they needed to eat, and Martha did need help. But, on the other hand, I’ve also been appalled at Martha’s nerve for speaking in such a demanding tone to their beloved teacher. Instead of answering sharply, Jesus gently rebuked her for being concerned with these lesser matters, saying, “Martha, Martha. You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” His response to Martha can seem a bit confusing. As I contemplate His words though, I believe Jesus intended that the meal could wait. They didn’t need anything fancy – no abundant buffet or big fuss was necessary. Martha only needed to serve something simple, quick and easy. I believe He wanted Martha to understand the value of the personal time and teaching He was giving to the guests, and to the sisters in their home. In essence, He was reminding them of something He’d taught the crowds in His Sermon on the Mount, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink… But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow… (Matthew 6:25, 33, 34a NIV) Priorities mattered then just as much as they do now… in my life… in all our lives. I need to set aside quiet time to think and reflect, to meditate, to pray and listen to what God is trying to say within my heart… and to give Him the weight of responsibility I feel for everything. I need not fret and worry. The Apostle Peter understood how we feel and said it well, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7 NIV) When I do, it sure seems to help me handle whatever comes my way. It also seems to put life into a clearer perspective so that I can better serve others with a heart of joy instead of stress in the little nuisances of life. Mary or Martha Linda A. Roorda If I were Mary, Or were I but Martha, What would I choose Should a friend come to call? ~ Would I be too busy To welcome my guest, Or would I gaze attentive And at His side be still. ~ But a meal must be served! The depth of discussion I’m too busy to hear There’s so much to be done! ~ Lord, can’t you tell Mary I need her help now! The preparations are great A burden for me alone. ~ Martha, my dear child Can you not understand? Mary’s gentle spirit Seeks my Word for her soul. ~ There’s a time and a place For the busyness of life With much to be done For those in need of care. ~ And yet there’s a time To come away from it all As you quietly listen And ponder My Word. ~ A word of wisdom I seek, To restore my soul. Lord, show me the path, My steps to trace Yours. ~ Attentive and still To quiet the chaos In the depths of my soul I need You, dear Lord. ~ Your soft voice I hear As I sit at your feet Resting in Your Word The Way for my life. ~~ 09/05/13 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author. “Poetic Devotions" offers faith-based poetry and everyday devotions of praise by Linda Roorda. See more at her site HERE.
  7. Lady Wisdom

    Wisdom... that value within our heart and soul which helps guide our steps on this path called life. An entity more precious than gold. Lady Wisdom’s knowledge often comes from experience, by learning and gaining insight the hard way… you know, those mistakes that can either break or make us. She brings a common sense, discernment, shrewdness… an innate understanding of what’s best. But, this sound judgment can be lacking when we become distracted or enticed by what seems so right, yet, in reality, is so wrong when we heed the voice of Folly. One of my favorite life verses is “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV) As our Pastor Steve put it recently, “Wisdom is knowledge applied God’s way.” Yet, like I’ve said before, I often think I can take the reins and direct my own way… only to realize that I erred, once again, and need to grasp His hand, allowing God to guide me as I learn from His infinite wisdom. With wisdom comes the ability to discern or judge right from wrong… to think and act appropriately, and to not become enmeshed in Folly’s foibles. As God searches the depth of our heart, His Spirit reaches out to us with a still small voice in our inner being. If we’ve embedded Lady Wisdom’s truth within our heart, we’ll know whose voice to trust and follow. And, as we humbly follow Lady Wisdom’s righteous ways, a calm and peaceful tranquility will envelope our soul. We’ll know we’ve chosen the right path when we’ve given time and consideration to acting in a way that would receive God’s blessing. I love the book of Proverbs for the depth of wisdom gleaned as we “Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me… for whoever finds me finds life… but whoever fails to find me harms himself.” (Proverbs 8:33-36 NIV) Lady Wisdom… a personification of God’s attributes in the feminine form. She is not meant to take His holy place, but rather to give a human side to God’s omniscience… for “the fear [awe, respect] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10 NIV) Lady Wisdom Linda A. Roorda Lady wisdom carries high her torch She lights the way with truth on her side. Her words bring strength to face life’s trials With comfort and peace when the winds blow fierce. ~ Listen and heed her still small voice Words to the soul that lead and protect, For like a lantern which brightens the way So is Wisdom in guiding your life. ~ When lured and tempted by desires for more Do not be swayed by enticements sweet. For trust is earned with truth and respect A higher calling than rebellious ways. ~ Seek out the Lord whose hand will uphold Stand firm on His word within your heart. Learn at His feet, discerning the right His knowledge gain with treasured insight. ~ Be wise in judgment, perceiving the darts Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not upon your own understanding But acknowledge Him, the giver of Wisdom. ~~ 03/17/17 ~ 05/30/17 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author. ~~
  8. Spring's Debut

    It’s common knowledge that spring is my favorite season! I love earth’s awakening from those long and dreary winter days… though this past winter seemed like it just didn’t want to release its hold on the cold and snow. But now, the sun shines brighter, the sky is bluer, and there’s an obvious warmth that’s beginning to penetrate every fiber of every living thing. There may be a good deal of rain mixed in; but, with that rain, slowly and surely new growth takes shape as tiny leaves, flower buds, and new blades of grass begin to emerge. The cold blanket of snow has been thrown off, the creeks and rivers flow abundantly along their way, and sparkling gems of color begin to explode. It’s a seasonal dance featuring the debutant of spring dressed in her finest! Drink in the pleasure of every facet of spring… from the sylvan palette of leaves in multitudinous shades of green, yellow and purple… to blossoms of white, pink, yellow, red, blue and every shade in between… to birds with their various colors and lilting tunes… to skies wrapped in shades of azure with clouds from white to deep gray… to shades of pink, purple, orange and red at sunrise and sunset… to the velvet black night skies of sparkling diamonds… to spring showers bearing fresh aromas as they saturate and nourish the plants and soil… to the tantalizing and aromatic blossoms from lilacs, roses, sweet peas, irises, daffodils, lilies of the valley… and so much more. “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth, the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance…” (Song of Solomon 2:11-13a) Enjoy creation’s blessing in every sense of sight and sound, taste and smell, for “He has made everything beautiful in its time!” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a) Spring’s Debut Linda A. Roorda At the dawning of spring’s welcome debut The earth awakens from wintry slumber She yawns and stretches, throwing off covers Changing her gown from white to sylvan green. ~ She welcomes showers of refreshing dew As fragrant aromas drift on gentle breeze While life’s renewal and emerging growth Bring bright adornment for the bleak and barren. ~ Slowly she dons her delicate gown Until she’s covered in brilliant hues With sunlight’s rays streaming their warmth She lifts her face to absorb their glow. Regaled in finery like delicate silk She extends a brush to paint her palette With every shade of the rainbow bright Her crowning glory like entwining tresses. ~ As we gaze in awe at the transformation From sleeping beauty to splendor arrayed Like multi-hued gems that sparkle and shine Is spring’s debut, prepared for the dance. ~~ 03/05/17 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author. ~~
  9. Bannerman's Castle on the Hudson

    Totally agreed!!!! LOL!
  10. Bannerman's Castle on the Hudson

    I can just imagine being able to stand amidst ancient history!! but yuck about the Blarney stone!! too funny! LOL!!
  11. Bannerman's Castle on the Hudson

    How exciting you were able to go through Scottish castles, Mary!!! and yes, they are impressive for standing up to the test of time! My two youngest were blessed to go with our S-VE band to northwest England in latter '90s to give concerts in Yorkshire; they took a tour of Yorkminster and a few castles, saw Hadrian's wall, etc. I love Alf Wight/James Herriot's All Creatures book series and Ed had gotten me his photo tour of Yorkshire with some beautiful castles, or what was left of some. Amazing structures!
  12. Bannerman's Castle on the Hudson

    A Scottish castle on the Hudson? Drawn to the hazy beauty of this photo, I was mesmerized by the castle’s classic lines… so reminiscent of centuries-old castles scattered around the British and Scottish moors and highlands, intrigued to know it sat upon American soil. After researching and naming my Mom’s maternal Scots-Irish, I am proud to say that they, too, hold a special place in my heart amongst all my Dutch ancestors. Photo by Will Van Dorp, Tugster Think back with me to an earlier day when the adventurous Europeans followed Henry Hudson’s momentous sail north on a river now bearing his name. It was an era of exploration, a prosperous time for the Dutch and their friends as they established a considerable presence in the settling of Nieuw Nederlands… and traveled freely up and down the North River with its invitingly peaceful, and beautiful, sylvan surroundings. Now envision a fairy-tale castle of Scottish design built upon a solid rock foundation, entirely surrounded by a pristine and placid river as its moat. At times though, depending on the season and storm, the waters become riled and treacherous, perhaps evoking images of an ancient castle set upon the lonely and stormy seacoast of bonnie Scotland. Such a sighting embodies the ambiance of castle life in the Middle Ages… a time of chivalry when knights in shining armor went out to battle, bravely protecting their sovereign and his empire, returning home with honor to win the heart of a certain fair young maiden… Roughly 50 miles north of New York City lies an island comprising about 5-1/2 or 6-1/2 acres (depending on source) along the eastern shore of the Hudson River as you head north. Pollepel Island is a lush growth of trees, bushes, flowers and gardens, clamoring vines, weeds, bugs, ticks, snakes, and rocky ground. Not surprisingly, the hardy Dutch left their influence on our language and place names all throughout the new world in both New Amsterdam proper and environs of the greater New Netherlands. Naturally this little island, Pollepel (i.e. Dutch for ladle), was named by these hardy early settlers, situated in an area designated as the “Northern Gate” of the Hudson River’s Highlands. Just like in the Old Country, the island’s natural harbor provides the perfect setting for a castle… Bannerman’s Island Arsenal, to be exact. Arsenal, you ask? Yes, a place where knights could well have donned shining armor for their king and perched behind the battlements with all manner of arms. Photo by Will Van Dorp, Tugster, Long before there was a castle of dreamy old-world architecture, it was said that Native Americans refused to take up residence on this mound of rock. Believing the island to be haunted, the Indians rarely dared set foot upon it in daylight, if at all, while their enemies flaunted that fact by seeking refuge on the rocky shore… The hardy mariners who once sailed Hudson’s North River left a legacy of legends and tales of this little island. Washington Irving of Tarrytown, told with skillful imagination the story of “The Storm Ship”, also known as the “Flying Dutchman”. Fear of goblins who dwelt on Pollepel Island was as real as that of their leader, the Heer of Dunderburgh. It was well known that Dunderburgh controlled the winds, those furies which provoked the waters, making safe passage of the Highlands a thing to be envied. With the sinking of the famed “Flying Dutchman” during an especially severe storm, the captain and crew found themselves forever doomed. And, if you should ever find yourself traveling the river near Pollepel in such a storm, listen closely… for in the howling of the winds which whip the sails, you just might hear the captain and his sailors calling for help. Another legend which early Dutch sailors spoke about was that of Polly Pell, a beautiful young lady rescued from the river’s treacherous ice. Romantically saved from drowning by the quick wit and arms of her beau, she married her rescuer. Such are the dreams of the romantically inclined… From a more practical perspective, Gen. George Washington used the strategically placed Pollepel Island during the American Revolution in an effort to prevent British ships from sailing north. “Chevaux de frise” were made of large logs with protruding iron spikes which, when sunk upright in the river, were intended to damage ships’ hulls and stop the British from passing through. However, these particular obstructions, set up between the island and Plum Point on the opposite shore, did not deter the resourceful British. They simply sailed with ease past the sunken deterrents in flat-bottomed boats. Washington also planned to establish a military garrison for prisoners-of-war on Pollepel Island, but there is no proof extant that his idea was ever implemented. According to Jane Bannerman (granddaughter-in-law of the castle’s builder) in “Pollepel - An Island Steeped in History”, the island had just five owners since the American Revolution era: “William Van Wyck of Fishkill, Mary G. Taft of Cornwall, Francis Bannerman VI of Brooklyn, and The Jackson Hole Preserve (Rockefeller Foundation) which donated the island to the people of the State of New York (Hudson Highlands State Park, Taconic Region, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation).” Francis (Frank) Bannerman VI, the island’s third owner, was born March 24, 1851 in Dundee, Scotland. His ancestor was the first to bear the honored name of Bannerman seven centuries ago. At Bannockburn in 1314, Stirling Castle was held by the English King, Edward II. Besieged by the Scottish army, however, Edward II’s well-trained troops were ultimately defeated in a brutal battle. Less than half the size of England’s army, the successful brave Scotsmen were commanded by the formidable Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. During that battle, Francis VI’s ancestor rescued their Clan Macdonald’s pennant from destruction. In reward, Robert the Bruce is said to have torn a streamer from the Royal ensign and bestowed upon Francis’s ancestor the honor of “bannerman,” the auspicious beginning of the family name. Fast forward a few centuries and, interestingly, we learn that two years after the February 8, 1690 Schenectady (New York) massacre by the French and Indians, there was a similar massacre in Scotland. Barely escaping the Feb 13, 1692 massacre of the Clan Macdonald at Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands by the Campbells, Francis Bannerman I and others sailed to Ireland. With the family settling in Antrim for the next 150 years or so, it was not until 1845 that Francis Bannerman V returned his branch of the family’s presence to Dundee, Scotland. There, Francis VI was born into this distinguished family. When but a lad of 3 years, his father brought the family across the pond to America’s shores in 1854. Settling in Brooklyn by 1856, the Bannerman family has remained with a well-respected presence. Francis V earned a living by reselling items in the Brooklyn Navy Yard which he’d obtained cheaply at auctions. A few years later, on joining the Union efforts in the Civil War, his 10-year-old son, Francis VI, left school to help support the family. Searching for scrap items after his hours in a lawyer’s office, young Frank VI also sold newspapers to mariners on ships docked nearby. In the evenings, he trolled or dragged local rivers and searched the streets and alleys, ever on the lookout for profitable scrap items, chains, and other odds and ends, even sections of rope, all eagerly bought by local junkmen. Returning from war an injured man, Francis V saw how successful his son had become with his scrap business. By realizing that items he sold held more value than ordinary junk, young Frank had made good money. To handle the growing accumulations of items his son had collected, and the military surplus in 1865 purchased at the close of the Civil War, Bannerman’s storehouse was set up on Little Street. Next, a ship-chandlery shop was established on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Returning to school with his father at home, young Francis received a scholarship to Cornell University. However, owing to his father’s disability, family loyalty won out and he declined to pursue the halls of higher education in order to help run the family business. In 1872, 21-year-old Francis VI took a business trip to Europe. Visiting his grandmother in Ulster, Ireland, he met Helen Boyce whom he married June 8, 1872 in Ballymena. Two of their sons, Francis VII and David Boyce, eventually joined their father in the family business. A third son, Walter Bruce, took a different path by earning his medical degree. Sadly, their only daughter died as an infant. Charles, grandson of Francis VI, married Jane Campbell, a descendant of the ancient Campbells who had attempted to destroy the Macdonald clan (from which massacre Francis I had escaped). Their marriage showed love was the impetus to rise above the ancient rivalry between the families, reminiscent of the Appalachian’s storied Hatfields and McCoys. Considered the “Father of the Army-Navy Store”, Frank Bannerman VI opened a huge block-long store on Broadway by 1897. Here, his large building of several floors housed untold numbers of military supplies, munitions and uniforms from all around the world. Francis/Frank was the go-to man in equipping soldiers for the Spanish-American War. At that war’s end, the company bought arms from the Spanish government and most of the weapons which the American military had captured from the Spanish. Printing a 300-400 page mail order catalog from the late 19th century through the mid-1960s, collectors found a large array of military surplus and antiquities. As city laws limited Bannerman’s ability to retain his massive holdings within the city proper, a larger facility was sought to store their collection of munitions. As he relaxed by canoeing the Hudson River around this time, David Bannerman observed an inconspicuous little island. Finding Pollepel Island perfectly suited to their needs, his father, Frank VI, approached the Taft family and purchased the island in 1900. Designing a Scottish-style castle to honor the family’s legacy, they built an arsenal to store their vast munitions supplies, with a smaller castle providing a family residence. On the side of the castle facing the Hudson River, “Bannerman’s Island Arsenal” is embedded in the castle façade, clearly informing all passersby of its purpose to this day. As the largest collector of munitions in the world, buying and selling to many nations, including Japan during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905,and to private citizens like you and me, even Buffalo Bill Cody, military memorabilia collectors, theatrical establishments, and artists needing props, Mr. Francis Bannerman VI held an in-depth knowledge of the military supplies and ordnance in his possession. But, not being a man of greed, he refused to arm revolutionaries and returned their money on learning their intention. At the opening of World War I, he reportedly shipped 8,000 saddles to the French Army and delivered thousands of rifles and ammunition to the British at no cost. Though extremely successful selling munitions, Francis/Frank Bannerman VI considered himself a kind and generous man, “a man of peace”. It was his intention that such a vast collection of arms as his would eventually be considered “The Museum of the Lost Arts.” Energetic and devoted to his church and public service, he also taught a boys’ Sunday School class. He enjoyed bringing friends to the island to experience his family’s hospitality. His wife, Helen, who loved to garden, had paths and terraces constructed throughout the property. Even today, tour guides point out the many flowers and shrubs she planted which have survived the decades, the beauty of which enhance the antiquity of the castle ruins. With the death of Francis Bannerman VI on November 26, 1918 at age 64, building on the island stopped and many setbacks seemed to befall his estate. Two years later, an explosion of 200 tons of stored shells and powder destroyed part of the castle. With State and federal laws controlling the sale of munitions to civilians, sales began to plunge for Bannerman’s Arsenal. Family continued to reside in the smaller castle on the island into the 1930s; but, for the sake of their customers, sold their goods more conveniently from a warehouse in Blue Point, Long Island into the 1970s. In 1950, a pall fell over the island and its castle when the ferry “Pollepel” (named for the island it served) sank in a storm. Then, when the island’s caretaker retired in 1957, Bannerman’s island remained abandoned and untended for years. Frank VI’s grandson, Charles Bannerman, wisely predicted in 1962 that “No one can tell what associations and incidents will involve the island in the future. Time, the elements, and maybe even the goblins of the island will take their toll of some of the turrets and towers, and perhaps eventually the castle itself, but the little island will always have its place in history and in legend and will be forever a jewel in its Hudson Highland setting.” Ultimately, New York State bought the island and its buildings in 1967 after all military supplies had been removed, and tours of the island and castle commenced in 1968. Unfortunately, a devasting fire on August 8, 1969 destroyed the Arsenal along with its walls, floors and roofs making the island unsafe, and it was closed to the public. Though the castle now sits in ruins, much of the exterior walls are still standing, accented with climbing ivy, and held up in the weakest sections by supports. Since virtually all interior floors and walls were destroyed by fire, “vandalism, trespass, neglect and decay” have continued taking their toll over the decades. In more recent years, the island once again made headlines with a tragic story. On April 19, 2015, Angelika Graswald and her fiancée, Vincent Viafore, kayaked to Bannerman’s Castle Island. Attempting to return from their outing in rough waters, Viafore’s kayak took on water and overturned, resulting in his drowning. Graswald, charged with Viafore’s murder, admitted to removing the drain plug. Arraigned in Goshen, Orange County, NY, a plea deal was later reached before the case went to trial. Pleading guilty to a lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide, she was released from prison not long after, having duly served the time of her reduced sentence. Few people know and remember “Bannerman’s Island” during its glorious past like Jane Bannerman (wife of Charles, Francis VI’s grandson). Assisting The Bannerman’s Castle Trust and the Taconic Park Commission to repair the buildings, Jane has noted, “…it all comes down to money, and if they don’t hurry up, it’ll all fall down. Every winter brings more destruction.” Unsafe conditions on and around the island are due to both underwater and land hazards, not to mention unstable castle walls. Due to these conditions, it is advised you do not attempt to visit the island on your own. The Bannerman’s Castle Trust has initiated “hard hat” tours along with other entertainment venues. By making island visits possible, it is the Trust’s hope they will be able to restore the castle, smaller castle home, and gardens for the public to enjoy more fully. In the interest of preserving the rich history of this Scottish Castle on a small island in the Hudson River, we hope The Bannermans’ Castle Trust is successful in its restoration endeavors. Hudson River Cruises advertise a tour from Newburgh Landing: “Ruins of a 19th century castle on Bannerman’s Island can be seen on special guided history and walking tours departing from Newburgh Landing and Beacon.” For information on 2-1/2 hour guided tours held May through October call: 845-220-2120 or 845-782-0685. With my own maternal Scots-Irish McNeill and Caldwell heritage, I was intrigued by the photos of such an old-world castle built on a small, seemingly insignificant island. The fairy-tale ambiance of this Scottish castle stands out, visible by boat and train, amidst the New Netherlands’ Dutch influence up and down the Hudson River. I hope someday to take a guided tour on Pollepel Island and see Bannerman’s Castle; but, for now, the photos and articles will have to do. Many thanks to friend Will Van Dorp who initially piqued my interest by posting his photos and synopsis of the island, castle, and its environs on his blog, Tugster: Hudson Downbound 18b, April 12, 2018 - Scroll down to photo of Bannerman’s Castle which prompted my story. Landmarks, Bannerman’s Castle Arsenal, 2013 More Ghosts, photography of Bannerman Castle, 2007 There is so much more in-depth reading and photography from many websites, but I referred to the following in my research: Bannerman’s Island Arsenal Bannerman Castle Trust FRANCIS BANNERMAN, the noted merchant and authority on war weapons Bannerman’s Castle: The Ultimate Army-Navy Store Bannerman Island: A Mystery Island on the Hudson Pollepel – An Island Steeped in History by Jane Bannerman Pollepel Island: Private Fortress on the Hudson Bannerman’s Island Arsenal, Historic Images – Old Photos/Postcards Bannerman’s Castle: The Ultimate Army-Navy Store (history and photos of military supplies) 1913 Military Goods Catalogue, Francis Bannerman, 501 Broadway, New York All Things Medieval Ghosts of Old Bannerman’s Island Wikipedia: Pollepel Island
  13. Do You Remember When...

    Ever climb a mountain? I have… well, sort of… See, I have a bit of a wild side tucked away that shows itself now ‘n then! Recently, I read a short story of a 75-year-old man who thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine’s Mt. Katahdin.* Though he dealt with a few health issues along the way, I was impressed with his successful endeavor. His story reminded me how much I’ve admired others who have hiked that trail over the years. I’ve even wished I could have hiked that trail, or climbed mountains, in my younger and stronger days. Yet, as I said, I did… sort of… and that event may well have sparked my interest, though now only lived out in reading the stories of others. "I remember when…" How often haven’t we heard that, or said it ourselves? Well, I do remember when, back in the spring of ’73, I climbed one of those ever-changing ridges at Chimney Bluffs State Park in Huron, NY, east of Sodus Point along the southern shore of Lake Ontario - ever changing hard-packed sand formations formed from the strong winds blowing off the lake. Visiting my friend, Kathy, for a spring weekend our senior year of high school, we joined the church’s Youth Group that Sunday afternoon. The East Palmyra Christian Reformed Church and Christian School had been a big part of life until my family moved to New Jersey when I was in 4th grade. Now, walking past a section of bluffs, a young man in our group decided to climb a ridge. Asking if anyone wanted to join him, I found myself the sole volunteer. Beginning our climb up the narrow ridge, he led as I followed. Learning where and how to place my feet from him, I found that I totally enjoyed this new challenge! One had to be sure-footed, like a mountain goat, in several spots or risk a tumble off the ridge’s peak as it narrowed higher up. Reaching an intersecting upward ridge, he recommended we change positions at the gap. In fact, thinking about it now, I realize he must have had previous experience to gain the knowledge and skill he appeared to have. The ridge down was steeper and narrower, and he felt it was best to face forward to see our way as we walked. He also thought it best if I went first so he could guide me better. Leading the way, I started down very carefully. At one point, I slipped, earning a scraped-up leg in reward, but he grabbed my hand to help stabilize me… as I gathered my wits to contemplate the next step. Admittedly, starting the trek down, and seeing our height above the beach, had left me a bit scared compared to the easier hike up. I remember thinking, “What did I get myself into?” Now, not so sure about my sanity in joining this venture, I also knew I had no choice but to continue on. Slowly and carefully we made our way down, step by step, and then… Taking the final step at the bottom of the ridge found me grinning from ear to ear! I did it! As tall, peaked and narrow as most bluffs are, the first ridge up was easy, while the ridge down was definitely narrower and more difficult. But, I had challenged myself and those inner fears, succeeding beyond my wildest expectation! Successfully traversing the steep and narrow ridges, returning safely to the sandy beach and friends below, was an exhilarating experience! Despite the fears that crept in, I overcame them! Loving every second of that climb, fears ‘n all, I would gladly do it all over again! You know, there’s something to be said about pursuing a dream, and, with God’s help and steady determination, reaching the pinnacle to savor success. Realizing that thought covers a lot of ground, we can openly face the challenges in many areas of our life, learning the lessons each step forward holds. Ahh, those carefree days of our youth as we faced our mountains and earned successes! Those days of uncomplicated friendships and simpler times that bring special memories to treasure as the years rush onward… Do You Remember When… Linda A. Roorda Do you remember when the days were long And we made our fun beneath a bright sky, When neighborhood kids called out to us “come” As we fled confines for the great outdoors? ~ Do you remember a time of few cares When our word was good, and trust was implied, When our biggest fret was the end of games As the dark enclosed to shoo us inside? ~ Do you remember when we took our chances Taking on risks seeming without fear, Acquiring skills we’d not otherwise gain If safely ensconced at technology’s beck? ~ Yet you can’t go back, back to what was It’s never the same, the moment that passed, But memories linger, frozen in place When you recapture the essence of time. ~ Within those moments the mind has preserved Are sights and sounds with laughter and tears, Images held dear to our heart and soul Retrieved at will for nostalgia’s cheer. ~ 07/25/17, 08/02/17 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author. *April 2018 Guideposts, “Soul Trail – How old is too old?” by Soren West. "Poetic Devotions" offers faith-based poetry and everyday devotions of praise by Linda Roorda. See more at her site HERE.
  14. Your Family Tree #12 - Genealogy Website Resource List

    Thank you, Chris!
  15. As we conclude our discussion on how and where to begin your ancestry research with suggestions based on my experience, I thought it would be helpful to collect the online resources in one place. The following is a list of some of the many online sources which I found most helpful. I also continue to stress that not all submitted family records on any given site are totally accurate. Unintentional errors and misspellings in data creep in. It is up to you to seek out and prove the accuracy of whatever data you find online about your ancestors. Unless you know a book is truly accurate and can prove the author had sound documentation, do not take a published book as fact “just because it says so.” That’s how I proved errors in a book that had been accepted as fact for decades as I noted previously. The extra footwork involved can be extensive, but it’s worth every effort put forth to have solid documentation for your family’s ancestral heritage. Ancestry.com – free 1880 census record; but, for an annual subscription fee, you get in-depth census records from 1790-1930, military records, city and national records, land records, international records, family trees, baptisms, marriages, death index records, etc. Family Search - free website with 1880 census records, baptism, marriage records, death records, and submitted family data. Books and documents on microfilm can be ordered and viewed at a Family History Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, locally as in Owego or Elmira. They also have a free down-loadable Personal Ancestral File, PAF, which I have used, though I prefer the Family Tree Maker. My Heritage – discover your roots in a free trial to a subscription-based genealogy compilation. I have not used this site. Olive Tree Genealogy - free old church/cemetery records, 1600s ships’ lists, records for New Netherland, Palatines, Mennonites, Loyalists, Native American, Military, and Canadian data, etc. I found this website to be very helpful in my early research nearly 20 years ago. RootsWeb – free source of records, county genweb sites, surname lists, e-mail lists, posted documentation for cemeteries, church records, family websites and more. Currently undergoing a full-site rebuilding, but worth checking out for sections as they come back up for use. CyndisList - free listing of American and International records and resources – a great resource. Vital Records – U.S. birth certificates, death records, and marriage licenses for a fee. U.S. GenWeb – free County GenWeb sites with a lot of data to aid your research. Three Rivers – free source for middle-eastern New York families in the Hudson, Mohawk, Schoharie river regions, family genealogies, books, etc. Sampubco - Wills from several states, but not all wills. Fee charged for copies. I purchased several wills from this website and was very pleased with the service. National Archives and Records Administration – Click on Veterans’ Service Records section to begin searching. You will find military service records, pension records of veterans’ claims, draft registration records, and bounty land warrant application files and records available. Order forms are free, but you pay a fee to order copies of records. Well worth the cost. NARA contact/forms – see various forms listed for National Archives Records Administration, government war records. Obtain free forms from which to order military records including pre-Civil War full service records or pension application files (on NATF Form 85 and/or 86; forms are free). Some list family members, others do not. You will find a good amount of information in files re: a soldier’s service, enlistment, capture, discharge, death, etc.,; these records provide valuable documentation. Soldiers and Sailors Database - Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database for military records. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Foundation - search passenger and ship manifest records free, or order quality record copies for a fee. Ship manifest records are also found at Ancestry.com, a subscription resource. New York Biographical and Genealogical Society – very trustworthy site with many online articles/records; they are working to put more records online; however, most are limited to membership in the Society. The Steele Library in Elmira has the full set of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record and the New England Genealogical Journal. I can attest to the high quality of published research and records in both journals. I used these journals in my research, with my documented research articles published in the NYGBR. In order to publish, you must prove all of your statements with solid documentation. Making of America, Cornell University – old books, magazines, newspapers online in searchable/readable format – worth wading through this free resource. Higginson Book Company, Salem, Mass. - old maps, family surname genealogies, county/state historical books, published cemetery and church records, etc. Contact for free catalog; copies books/records obtained for a fee but worth it, from which I purchased a few books. Olin Uris Library, Cornell University - Cornell University’s guide to research of their extensive holdings. They note that, unfortunately, not all their genealogical books are kept in one section. Find-A-Grave - free resource of many gravestones around the United States. Be careful of family notes – I found errors in a family of my close relatives; when I contacted the contributor who added notes tying my family to theirs by error, there was no response, no correction. Tips on fraudulent lineages at: Family Search Fraudulent Genealogies Genealogy Today Gustav Anjou, Fraudulent Genealogist Genealogy.com - locating published genealogies Genealogy Bank, Researching your Pilgrim Ancestry from the Mayflower Again, locally, the Steele Library in Elmira has an excellent genealogy section on the second floor to aid your research. I spent many a Saturday morning searching through their collection for documentation on my ancestry data and can highly recommend it. Cornell University also has a major genealogy library though I was afraid to go up on campus for a personal visit. And, last but not least, your local library can order books through the interlibrary loan system. This was a tremendously helpful resource to me for out-of-county and out-of-state historical/genealogical books. I could not have done it without these resources. I must also give credit to the many friends I made along my genealogical journey, some of whom proved to be distant cousins and have remained close friends. We shared data, books, and a love for our ancestral families. And now, I wish you every success as you search for your ancestors. Enjoy the journey! ~ The End ~