…two peppercorns on Ladyday…and two dunghill fowls…

The end of the year is property tax time–October, November, or December–in most jurisdictions.  Lands in early Virginia and other places were transferred through a legal fiction:  lease and release, with a token rent or tax attached.

…two peppercorns on Ladyday and two dunghill fowls…were a common token rent payment until the release of the land was made.   This example was given to me by Lois Gritzo of Los Alamos NM (a member of the Christmas Tour group).

Rent due days: 

  1.  25 March, Ladyday (Annunciation of Mary)
  2. 24 June, St. John the Baptist Day
  3. 29 September, Michaelmas
  4. 25 December, Christmas

Dunghill fowlsare domestic chickens, both hens and cocks,which roam at will across the farm to clean up the dung piles of grains and maggots and to lay eggs for the table. 

You can see peppercorns at your local super market in the spice and condiment section.  These were grown in the kitchen garden for table use and in the commercial garden for sale at local fairs.

Wouldn’t it be nice to pay 2 peppercorns and 2 dunghill fowls for rent and tax today!

GenealogyBank.com–an Internet  fee site you want to visit often.    

Thomas Jay Kemp gave an interesting and provocative evening session at the Christmas Tour on Friday evening with examples from early newspapers identifying his own ancestors.  In the month of November 2007 alone more than 1.5 million entries were added to the site.

Categories posted online with every word indexes:

  1. Newspapers, both current and historic.  Current obituaries from major newspapers are posted daily.  Historic newspapers provide passenger lists, naturalizations, family reunions, early settlers, marriage and deaths, news as it happened like the bombing of Pearl Harbor and publication of the poem that became the Star Spangled Banner.
  2. Early Americana–unique , short items like funeral sermons, last will and testaments, broadsides announcing war casualties.
  3. Historic Documents–including American State Papers (100% online with indexes.  Have you ever searched these volumes?  I’ll do a separate post on this incredible source–now indexed for us to use.), US Congress Serial Set (40% online and indexed).
  4. Social Security Death Index–with more than 700,000 deaths before 1965.  This is the only SSDI site updated every week.  And the Social Security officials are ADDING older entries every week!  (Who ever told us that the earlier entries are incomplete in this enormous database?)
  5. Historic Books, 1801-1900.  These include necrologies and publications issued by obscure organizations like American Society of Instructors for the Deaf. 

An important genealogy lesson present in all of this:  not all of the records we need to trace our ancestors were created and stored in the courthouse or the state archives.  Each ancestor has unique life experiences and associations.  And now, for the first time ever, we can find accounts of these lives and relationships easily.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://www.arleneeakle.com

PS Stay tuned for some observations and a description of http://www.genealogytoday.com

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