11 November and your Genealogy

11 November is Armistice Day, celebrating the end of a World War which had exhausted Europe and the United States, if not the rest of the world. On the” eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour” of the day: 11 Nov 1918, the German government officially surrendered to the Allies.

And to determine that this war was truly the “war to end all wars,” the Allied governments assigned the redistribution of the warring factions (what they hoped was a check on political power) to geographers. Using what they thought to be culture, tradition, language, ethnicity, blood relationships, and other specific characteristics, modern geographers re-drew the boundary maps of Europe (and other locales as well). They thus ensured that the world would continue to squabble, fight, and die.

ll November is also the ancient “Beggars’ Day.” As part of the Feast of  Martinmas, celebrating the return of pilgrims from the Crusades, children went begging through the streets dressed in costume:

Hark, Hark, the dogs do bark, the beggars are coming to town
Some in rags and some in bags and some in velvet gowns.

They accepted treats in lieu of mischief. Sounds reminiscent of Halloween today. And we record these antics with selfies, shared on Facebook and Pinterest.

I’d like to draw your attention to A Dictionary of Saints Days, Fasts, Feasts, and Festivals by Colin Waters. Newbury, Berkshire: Countryside Books, 2003. Many persons in your lineage will be named for their Feast Day namesake. Naming patterns are such a significant element in genealogy evidence–for origins, for parentage, for migrations of the past, and for religious affiliations–that checking family given names (and some surnames) in a reference book of this kind can save you some time knowing where to look.

Ancient documents and even family Bible entries may also be dated by these dates, without an added calendar reference. So having a ready-reference available will save you research time and frustration.

Do you check the new book shelf at your local library or book store? Very important to do this–you get notice of new books, old books now reprinted, books previously overlooked that now become relevant, and indexes to books that were originally printed without indexes. Take some time and pay a visit to your nearest physical location–ask where the new books are shelved and how to recognize them if there is no new book shelf. Don’t ask  specifically for genealogy books–otherwise you will miss out on books that can unlock your lineage. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com

PS I cannot conceive of a world without books. I love the look of books, the smell of books, the feel of books in my hands. So I surround myself with books in all sorts of formats. Even Kindle books to read on the screen.

PPS 11 November is also the full moon for November–a Supermoon! Bigger, Brighter, and more significant. Be sure to look. A Harvest Moon of moment.


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