By Angie Georgeff
I’ve always liked history, but I never enjoyed having to learn dates when I was going to school. Of course, it helped when a date coincided with one that I already remembered. My father, for example, was born on April 2, 1917, so I have absolutely no trouble recalling the date Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany in World War I. That coincidence was fodder for teasing when Daddy was young, but since his entire family swore he actually was born before midnight, it could have been even worse. Nobody wants to be an April Fools’ baby!
My brother Rob was born on April 19, so he shared a birthday with our great-grandmother and with the start of the American Revolutionary War. From the Massachusetts territory that is now Maine down the Atlantic Seaboard to Georgia, Britain’s colonies in North America had been seething with discontent for years. The pot finally boiled over on April 19, 1775 with the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and there was no going back. For the sake of convenience, Patriots’ Day is celebrated in Massachusetts and Maine on the third Monday in April, but the anniversary is still April 19.
Since I started to personalize history by researching my own family’s role in it, I have better appreciated details such as dates. An inventory in a will book that happens to list all the possessions left by one of my ancestors is now my idea of a goldmine. I really want to know how many “beds and furniture,” pots and pans, cows and calves, pigs, plows, poultry, barrels of flour and skeins of wool they owned. And how I wish I knew whether the trumpet listed among my great-great-grandmother’s effects was a musical instrument or a hearing aid! Either way, it would speak volumes.
If you are intrigued by the infinite possibilities of your family’s history, come to the library on Thursday, April 27 for our next computer genealogy workshop. The class will begin at 6 p.m. and last for about 90 minutes. You’ll learn about some of the free resources that are available on the Internet and get to practice search strategies. Please call 743-6533, to register, since space is limited.
Lisa Scottoline’s “One Perfect Lie” centers on Chris Brennan, a man with impeccable credentials who is applying for a job teaching and coaching at Central Valley High School. He is good-looking, clean-cut and personable. He also is a complete fraud, and readers learn this right off the bat. By page two we know that he is a killer and by page four we are told he is a man on a mission, with a strict deadline. So begins a countdown to Tuesday.