Dec 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Vine Babies

Vine Babies - Circa 1914
George (1911-1972), Dorothy (1914), Frank (1912-1991)
Frank on the right is my Maternal Grandfather
The little cutie in the middle is my Great Aunt Dorothy who celebrated her 95th birthday this year.

© 2009 Kindred Footprints

Dec 29, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Anthony Dixon

For my recently discovered Dixon cousins
Anthony Dixon (1838-1891) and his wife Johanna Lynch (1845-1919)
Their son John Sr (1879-1943) and his wife Ella May Ross (1883-1956)
John and Ella's sons Francis (-1936) and John Jr (1911-1977)
On Back of Stone Keith R. Honsberger(-1941) and Mary Ann Paolozzi (-1952)
Victoria Lawn Cemetery, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

© 2009 Kindred Footprints

Dec 27, 2009

A Serendipitous Christmas Gift

This is an update to a previous entry titled "Genealogy and Serendipity". It all started when I got married on January 6th almost 14 years ago. At that time I had picked out Thank You cards for my wedding gifts. The front cover of the card was a copy of an oil painting called ''The Wedding Procession'' by Sir Samuel Luke Fildes, painted in 1883. About ten years later, I was doing some research on Irish traditions and came across an article called ''Shrovetide - The Marrying Season'' written by Bridget Haggerty at a site called Irish Culture and Customs. This article really caught my attention because it mentioned that the Irish marrying season began the day after Epiphany, January 6th (my anniversary) and the picture attached to the article was the same picture that was on my cards.

My husband read the original post and saw the little *hint* that I left for him. On Christmas morning, I got my surprise ;-)

© 2009 Kindred Footprints

Dec 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ Christmas's Past

Tis' me (c) 1961

This is me (c) 1964 with my brother behind me,
Two more days, and I'll be celebrating another Christmas with my big bro!

© 2009 Kindred Footprints

Dec 18, 2009

Advent Calendar ~ The Christmas Stocking

I don't think there has ever been a Christmas when I didn't have a Christmas Stocking. It has always been a family tradition. The stockings were always hung on the fireplace in the weeks leading up to Christmas but on Christmas morning they magically ended up under the tree, filled with goodies. This was Santa's doing of course. I had the same stocking throughout my entire childhood. It was made of felt and had Christmas decorations appliqued on it.

When my son was born I realized I needed a stocking for him and it was about time to replace mine as well. I was Christmas shopping one day and I saw a stocking hanging up in a boutique that I fell in love with. It was padded fabric with a hand embroidered, personalized cuff. It was way too expensive so I stared at it until I figured out how it was put together and then I went home and tried to duplicate it. That was 25 years ago and the stockings I made that year are the ones that are still hanging on my fireplace now. Over the next few years I made these same stockings for my brother and sisters, their spouses and all of their children. I have a sewing machine that does embroidery now, so I told my son I would make him a new one. Nope, he doesn't want a new one. He plans on keeping his forever. That stocking has become his 'Family Treasure' which makes his mommy very happy. I can't wait to see what Santa fills them with this year ;-)

© 2010 Kindred Footprints

Dec 17, 2009

Death or Canada

Death or Canada is a documentary film depicting the migration of an Irish family fleeing the famine from the west of Ireland during the summer of 1847. It chronicles their departure, voyage, arrival at Grosse Ile, Quebec and finally their arrival in the city of Toronto.  At this time Toronto had a population of around 20,000 and that summer close to 40,000 Irish immigrants arrived at it's shores. Many of them were sick and destitute and the city was completely overwhelmed and unprepared to care for and process this many people. The film recreates the journey and the struggles the city of Toronto had in dealing with the situation. For me it was both touching and difficult to watch. My Irish ancestors made the same journey one year earlier in 1846. The film was partly inspired by the creation of Ireland Park in Toronto which I wrote about earlier.

It is a co-production of Ballinran Productions of Canada and Tile Films of Ireland. It was written by Craig Thompson. It has aired on RTE One, Ireland, History Television, UK and The History Channel, Canada. If you get a chance to see it, it is an informative, moving, and heartbreaking film that you won't soon forget.

One of the main contributors on the film, Mark McGowan has written a book titled Death or Canada: The Irish Famine Migration to Toronto, 1847. He says the title came from research in Limerick where he read newspaper accounts where the locals were likening the famine situation to the Cromwellian era. During Cromwell it was "Hell or Connaught". During the famine it was "Death or Canada".

Official Death or Canada Website
Full Wikipedia Article.

Photos displayed are from

© 2009 Kindred Footprints

Dec 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Mayo, Ireland

On the road from Westport to Belmullet,
County Mayo, Ireland

© 2009 Kindred Footprints

Dec 4, 2009

Christmas Mincemeat Bars

I had been thinking about what recipe I could submit for the 2009 Geneabloggers Holiday Cookbook until something happened the other day. After that I knew it had to be the Christmas Mincemeat Bars.

I had written a post for Day 2 of the Geneabloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. The theme for the day was Holiday Food. While I was writing the post I remembered the Mincemeat Bars that my mother baked every year for Christmas. I inherited the cookbook she used but unfortunately the page with this recipe was missing. I decided to snap a picture of the book and include it in my post to see if anyone else out there had it. In less than an hour, Elizabeth at Little Bytes of Life sent me a message. She also inherited the cookbook from her mother and she scanned the missing page and sent it to me. What a great Christmas gift. As I told Elizabeth, because of her, my family will have my Mom's Christmas Mincemeat Bars for the first time in about 25 years. I baked them last night and they are as delicious as I remember. I guess mincemeat is one of those things that people either love or hate. My husband is not a fan but he just tried one and said ''Hmmm, I'm not gagging'' followed by ''Hmmm, pretty good".

How lucky Elizabeth, Janet, Gini, Carol and I are to have this treasure from our Mothers. I think we all know how much it means to us.

Christmas Mincemeat Bars

1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar (packed)
2 Eggs
2 tbsp Molasses
1 tbsp Soft Butter
1 tsp Vanilla Flavoring
2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Soda
1 tsp each Cinnamon and Cloves
3 tbsp Hot Water
1/4 cup Slivered Almonds
1/4 cup Seedless Raisins
1 pkg, 9 oz Mincemeat, broken up with fork (I used a little over a cup of Mincemeat from a jar)
1 1/2 cups Confectioner's Sugar
3 tbsp Hot Milk
1/2 tsp each Vanilla and Almond Flavoring

Heat oven to 400 degrees (moderately hot). Grease two oblong pans, 13 x 9 1/2 x 2''. Mix brown sugar, eggs, molasses, butter and vanilla thoroughly. Sift together flour, salt, soda and spices; stir in. Mix in hot water. Stir in almonds, raisins and mincemeat. Spread thin in greased pans. (Dough puffs and fills in any holes as it bakes.) Bake 12-15 min, or until no imprint remains when touched lightly with finger. Spread immediately with mixture of confectioner's sugar, milk and flavorings. Cut into squares or diamonds. Makes 6 doz, 2 x 1 1/2" bars.

1961 Betty Crocker Cookbook, Page 197

© 2009 Kindred Footprints

Dec 2, 2009

Advent Calendar ~ Holiday Foods

My family's Christmas dinners have always been pretty traditional. I make the exact same meal every Christmas and it's exactly the same as what my Mother always made. As I'm writing this I'm thinking that sounds pretty boring. Maybe I should stir things up a bit? Or I could just look at it that I'm following a tradition. It's Roast Turkey, Gravy, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Cole Slaw and a Vegetable or two. Those I mix up from year to year. Everything is homemade. I think I'll stick with that, no need to mess with perfection.

If I had my choice, dessert would be traditional Plum Pudding, but everyone else here says Yuk, so that's out. I also love Fruit Cake, but again nobody else does so I don't get that either. I usually make them a Lemon Meringue Pie or two.

I start baking cookies and bars about a week before Christmas but never seem to do the same thing. Every year it's always something new. What I really want is my Mom's Mincemeat Bars. She made them every Christmas when I was growing up. The recipe came from her 1961 Betty Crocker cookbook which I inherited, but for some intriguing reason the only page missing from the book is #197. You guessed it, the Mincemeat Bar page. If anyone has this book, please, please send me the recipe! I removed the duct tape that was holding the book together for the sake of the picture ;-)

Thank you to Geneabloggers for hosting this Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

Update:  In less than an hour after posting this I received a message from the lovely Elizabeth at Little Bytes of Life that she has this cookbook (also from her Mother) and will scan page 197 and send to me. How unbelievable is that? So Happy... ;-)

© 2010 Kindred Footprints

Dec 1, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Ireland Park

Ireland Park opened in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the summer of 2007. It is located at Eireann Quay, behind the Canada Malting Mills silos on the waterfront overlooking downtown Toronto and Lake Ontario. It was built by the Ireland Park Foundation to be a lasting memorial to the many Irish Famine victims who arrived in the city of Toronto in 1847. There is a similar memorial along the river Liffey in Dublin, Ireland in front of the Customs House Quays. Dublin is known as ''The Departure" and Toronto is "The Arrival". Sculptures from both memorials were created by Rowan Gillespie. It's an amazing place. Check out the full Wikipedia article here.


© 2009 Kindred Footprints

Advent Calendar ~ The Christmas Tree

Oh the Christmas Tree, it is one of my all time favorite things. When I was a child we always had a real tree..artificial was unheard of in my house. Usually about two weeks before Christmas our Dad would pack all the kids in the car and off we would go to find a ''Tree Lot'', the kind with strings of Christmas lights marking the boundaries. He would pick up the trees and stand them up scrutinizing each one until he found one that we all thought measured up. Once we got it home, Dad would put the tree up in it's stand and then it was time for Mom to take over. She was in charge of decorating and with the help of the kids the decorations would go on in no time. The last thing to be done was the tinsel and my Mom was a "one string at a time and hang it perfectly straight" type of gal.

I've always been partial to the real thing but I have an artificial tree now just because I want Christmas to start early. I want the tree up by the end of November so that I can have a full month with it and yes, my tree is already up this year. I don't usually take it down until after New Year's. Having a real one for that length of time gets a little messy. Oh and I don't do tinsel. I just don't have the patience for that ''one string at a time'' thing.

For a few years we decided to go all out traditional and went to a Christmas Tree Farm to cut down our own tree. This is the kind of farm that has a Christmas store, gazebo, sleigh rides and hot apple cider in barrels outside. It was great to get into the Christmas spirit but those trees, as beautiful as they are, just don't last as long as I want them to.

Thank you to Thomas at Geneabloggers for hosting this Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

© 2010 Kindred Footprints