WDYTYA – Tomorrow (8/20)

kelsey-grammerKelsey Grammer who just had a son born on July 22nd (also named Kelsey) will investigate his ancestors on the next episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA). Kelsey gets an eye-opening look at his beloved grandmother’s family, uncovering a woman haunted by the demons of her past. He also also learns of a connection to someone involved in the migrations across the desert in the western US. Recent tragedies in his immediate family probably gave Kelsey a reason to want to trace his ancestors.

Most people think that Kelsey got his start on Cheers but he had been acting for many years before that. Then his character was spun-off to the very successful series Frasier for which he won 4 Emmy Awards. Since then, Kelsey was in many other TV series and movies. He even has had a recurring role as the voice of Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons.

WDYTYA is on the TLC channel at 9 pm -eastern and 8 pm – central.

Top Songs of 1964; #16

Supremes-where-did-our-love-go-45coverThe next song to hit the top of the record charts in 1964 was “Where Did Our Love Go” by The Supremes. The song was written and produced by the team of Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland. They wrote and produced many songs for various Motown artists in the 1960s.

The Supremes were on tour as part of Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand Caravan of Stars,” when the song made it to number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box record charts. It would remain there for 2 weeks (Aug. 16 -29).

This was to be the first number one song by The Supremes. It was followed by four consecutive number one hits so we will see them here again in the future.

There is a well documented history of The Supremes on Wikipedia.

Download (for a small fee) songs by The Supremes from Amazon.com.

Hard Scrapbook

james-hard-1The Rochester Public Library has scanned their James Hard scrapbook of newspaper clippings (126 pages).

Mr. Hard was the last verified Union combat veteran of the Civil War. There was one other veteran to died after him but he had only been a drummer boy and nor a soldier.

James Albert Hard was born in Windsor, Broome Co., NY. He joined the Union Army in May 1861 and served in Co. E, 37th NY Volunteers. He saw action at he battles of first Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksberg, and Chancellorsville. He told the story that during the War he met President Lincoln at a White House reception shortly after joining the  Army and saw him again once later.

After the War Mr. Hard worked for a railroad, was a building contractor and a veteran’s pension attorney. He also joined the veteran’s organization, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). In that organization, he served two terms as NY State commander and was the national junior vice-commander in chief. Mr Hard was one of six at the last encampment of the GAR. in 1949.

The scrapbook shows Mr. Hard at the hospital a few times before his death on 12 March 1953 at Rochester General Hospital. He had died from complications following having his right leg being amputated from circulation problems. His funeral was held at the Masonic Temple and then a funeral procession of 1,000 people following his remains through downtown Rochester. He was buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery with military honors. It was said at the time of his death that was aged 111 years old but research through old census records, years later, found that he was only 109 years old.

The scrapbook chronicles Mr Hard from 1941 through to his funeral. It includes a series of articles of his telling of his war experiences. Only complaint is that the scrapbook pages are a little dark.

Click on pictures for a larger view.

James Hard though the years

James Hard though the years

Top Songs of 1964; #15

dean-martin-publicityDuring at a time in music that all remember as the British Invasion comes an unlikely number one hit; “Everybody Loves Somebody” by Dean Martin. The song was written by Sam Coslow, Irving Taylor and Ken Lane in 1947. It had been recorded a few times when a recording session in 1964 Lane, who was playing piano, pitched the song to Dean. It was recorded with just a quartette. Later in the year Dean recorded the familiar version with a full orchestra. The song was to become his signature song.

“Everybody Loves Somebody” would only be at the number one spot for just the week of August 9 – 15 on the both the Cash Box record chart and Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Dean Martin was born as Dino Paul Crocetti in 1917. He teamed up with Jerry Lewis in 1946. They started out in nightclubs then went to radio, TV and eventually to films. The act would break up in 1956 and that was same year that Dean had his only other number one hit; “Memories Are Made of This.”

Success of “Everybody Loves Somebody”led to a TV offer for the popular variety series The Dean Martin Show which ran from 1965 to 1974. After that he was in the specials The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast. All the time, he also kept a career in movies with sometimes serious parts, sometime comedic and even some westerns.

Dean died in 1995. On his crypt is inscribed “Everybody Loves Somebody” (see Find A Grave record and also a much longer biography on Wikipedia).

Download (for a small fee) Dean Martin music from Amazon.com.

Old News – Opening of the Panama Canal

More news from the past. This time about the opening of the Panama Canal from the same day.


Rochester, NY

Saturday, August 15, 1914


Steamship Ancon Making Passage of Isthmian Waterway To-day.


Band Plays “Star Spangled Banner”—Crowds Line Banks.

Panama, Aug. 15,–The United States war department steamship Ancon passed through the Gatun Locks without a hitch to-day in 70 minutes. The total lift at these locks is 85 feet.

SS Ancon passing through the canal

SS Ancon passing through the canal

Panama, Aug. 15. — The canal zone celebrated today the opening of the canal. The festivities, however, were but local and suggested little of the international significance of the event. With the official Panama celebration set for next spring, even the United States was not officially represented to-day except by the men who have long been in the canal zone.

The steamship Ancon, owned by the United States war department and leased to the Panama railroad for service in the New York-Colon trade, was chosen as the first big boat to be put through, signalizing the opening of the canal to all ships up to 10,000 tons register.

Shortly before8 o’clock this morning the Ancon was drawn away from her berth at Cristobal and anchored at the end of the deep water channel from the Atlantic ocean to the Gatun locks. The programme called for putting her through the locks at nine o’clock, her passage of the Culebra Cut at about noon, and her arrival at the end of the deep water channel in the Pacific at 6 o’clock this evening.

The Ancon in New Paint.

All the officers and men aboard the Ancon appeared in spotlessly white uniforms and the ship itself glistened with new paint, over which fluttered signal flags and ensigns of all nations. At the forepeak was the ensign of the Panama republic, while at the main masthead fluttered the house pennant of the Panama steamship fleet. On the jackstaff was the flag of the United States.

Invitations to the guests on this first trip had been much coveted, and the rails were lined with local canal officials and those of the Panama republic, together with their ladies as the big steamer backed away from her berth. Colonel Goethals, builder of the canal and governor of the zone, was on the bridge beside Captain Sukeforth, of the steamer, together with Captain Hugh Redman, U. S. N., superintendent of transportation, who has overseen the plans for putting the first ship through.

Other distinguished persons included President Porras, of the republic of Panama, and his staff.

The Panama National band, and the regimental band of the Tenth U. S. Infantry played the Star Spangled Banner as the ship pulled away, but the music was almost drowned by the whistles of the steamers in the harbor.

Holiday for Canal Laborers.

To assure unimpeded passage for the Ancon, all of the traffic, including the working boats in Culebra Cut, was brought to standstill from early this morning on. The several thousand canal workers enjoyed a holiday, and they, together with villagers of all types from the surrounding territory, lined the banks at various vantage points.

The Ancon was fully loaded with the regular cargo that she had brought from New York, the cargo having been purposely left on board to give the canal a full test with the ship drawing its full depth of water.

“Free and Open” to World.

Washington, Aug. 15.- With the passage through the Panama canal to-day of the war department liner Ancon, the great waterway becomes “free and open to the vessels of commerce and of war of all nations on terms of entire equality,” in accordance to the provisions of the Hay-Pauncefote treaty.

Vessels drawing not more than thirty feet of water may now make the passage. It would be possible to put some of the big American dreadnoughts through at any time. Except in cases of absolute necessity, vessels of belligerents must make uninterrupted passage through the canal. They may not coal, revictual, or embark or disembark troops in the canal zone or in the terminal waters at both ends of the canal, within a limit of three miles.

Twenty-four hours is the limit of time belligerent vessels can remain within 24 hours from the departure of a vessel of war of another belligerent. The canal is immune from attack by any belligerents. American pilots will see that no foreign vessels make observations of the canal defenses.

The principal work remaining to be done in completing the canal is the deepening and widening of the channel through Culebra Cut, as well as excavation operations at both approaches.

My Woodstock Story



Forty-five years ago this weekend (Aug 15-17) was the original Woodstock music festival. I was supposed to graduate from Alfred State College in May of 1969 but my cumulative average was 0.03 below what you needed to graduate. So I had to go to summer school and take some courses over and raise my grades to bring my average up. The summer session was compressed down to just 6 weeks. I was fairly sure that I was doing well in the two courses that I was re-taking. It was on a Thursday morning and final exams would be on the next Monday. A guy from down the hall in the dorm came in my room and said: “There is a big concert this weekend down toward New York City. You want to go?” And I said; “No, I better stay here and study.” Away he and some other guys went to music history.

The very next day reports on TV started showing the traffic mess that the concert was causing. It got so bad that State Police wouldn’t let anyone else go near the area. Those guys in my dorm were back by Sunday morning. They said that it rained so much that they couldn’t endure any more. Estimates range from 400,000 to 500,000 people attending this monumental music festival. There aren’t any actual figures because the fence got torn down by people wanting to get in and eventually the promoters just opened it up to anyone that was able to get to the site. Some people who didn’t attend. tell people that they were there. I’m not one of those. Instead, I get to tell tell this story of missing out on the chance to attend.

Onondaga Co. Library Partners with FamilySearch

Onondaga-County-FamilySearch-LogosPress release by  from FamilySearch

The Onondaga County Public Library and FamilySearch.org, a nonprofit premier family history and records preservation organization, announced today a joint initiative to digitally preserve 40,000 historic titles from the Library’s collections and make them freely accessible online to patrons worldwide. Some of the titles are extremely rare—dating back to Colonial America. The digitization effort commenced this week.

Under the agreement, FamilySearch will digitally preserve over 40,000 historic titles from the Onondaga County Public Library’s collections and make them available to the Library’s patrons worldwide for free at FamilySearch.org. The materials will be a tremendous resource for anyone researching local history or genealogical roots from the region. The digitized records will include published family histories, local and county histories, directories, locality records, school yearbooks, Bible records, personal journals published before 1920, and published cemetery records. To learn more about this partnership agreement, click here.

Super Market from 1942

Lawrence Halsey at Market BasketMy dad, Lawrence Halsey, started working for the grocery store chain, Market Basket, after he graduated from high school in 1933. He started as a clerk, then got promoted to assistant manager and then manager, Even as a manager, they would transfer him every couple of years to a bigger store.The picture has dad standing on the left behind the produce corner in first super market that the Market Basket had in Oneonta, NY. Before this time, grocery stores had most items behind a counter and you had to ask a clerk to hand you each item. One of the things that helped the change was the invention of the shopping cart in 1938. Notice a couple of carts in the lower right of the picture. Grocery stores soon learned that people would end up buying more by being able to pick up items using carts. It would be many more years before the meat would be per-packaged.

Besides this picture I have 2 more from the same day of the inside of the store and one outside. There are lots of signs with prices that I can read. While you check out these low prices, think about the fact that my father was making about $45 per week in 1942. So you have to make a a price comparison based on the cost of living at that time.

  • Milk – 12 cents per qt.
  • Kraft cheese – 2 lb box for 49 cents
  • NY State mild cheese – 21 cents per lb.
  • Eggs – 27 cents per dozen
  • Butter – 29 cents per lb.
  • Soup – 3 cans for 25 cents
  • Salad dressing – 25 cents per qt.
  • Sliced bacon – 19 cents per lb.
  • Steak – 25 and 29 cents per lb.
  • Leg of lamb – 29 cents per lb.
  • Veal cutlet – 39 cents per lb.
  • Pork steak – 19 cents per lb.
  • Pork sausage – 2 lbs for 25 cents
  • Roast beef – 29 cents per lb.
  • Jello – 3 for 14 cents
  • Crackers – 2 lb. box for 17 cents
  • Catsup – 3 for 10 cents
  • Hot cross buns – 16 cents per dozen
  • Fresh spinach – 2 lbs for 15 cents
  • Iceberg lettuce – 2 for 15 cents
  • California Sunkist oranges – 27 cents per dozen
  • Florida oranges – 29 cents per dozen
  • Cauliflower – 23 cents
  • Carrots – 3 bunches for 15 cents
  • Fresh tender asparagus – 10 per bunch
  • Spinach – 2 lbs for 15 cents
  • Bananas – 4 lbs for 25 cents
  • Baldwin apples – 10 lbs for 25 cents
  • McIntosh apples – 6 lbs for 25 cents

WDYTYA – Tomorrow’s Episode

Photo by Angela George

Valerie Bertinelli photo by Angela George

Valerie Bertinelli is searching for her ancestors on the next episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA). She got the part of Barbara Cooper on the series One Day at a Time in 1975 shortly after her start at acting. After that series ended she was on numerous made  for TV movies. Recently she is one of the stars om Hot in Cleveland on TVLand.

The press release for this episode says that Valerie “goes on the hunt to unlock her family’s mysteries. She tracks down courageous ancestors who suffered through hardship and tragedy, and discovers a royal lineage dating back centuries that she never dreamed possible.” There is probably more to her story because during filming, she spent a day at the Lackawanna Historical Society in Scranton, PA. Valerie also spent some time in London, England. We will see if those two locations tie together or are different parts of her family.

WDYTYA airs at 9 p.m. in most TV markets on the TLC channel. Check your local listings. After the episode with Valerie, the episode on Brooke Shields from 2010 will be repeated.

Rochester Music

rochester-maidThe Rochester Public Library has uploaded a new digital collection of old sheet music. The collection has music published in Rochester, sold in Rochester and about Rochester. All are dated from the 1890s to the 1920s. The music has been scanned and placed on the RPL website as PDF files. This collection is so new that the library hasn’t yet created a web page listing all the titles. Instead you can view this directory page of the titles with links to each title.