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Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Not an Irish bone in my body, but I do drink. So yay!

Changing the subject, if I’m reading this WSJ article right, the New York Times‘ second go at a paywall isn’t as retarded as it sounds.

They’re making around $100 million per annum on advertising (not too shabby!). They didn’t want to screw that up, so they looked at the numbers and worked out that 85% of their readers read 20 articles or fewer in a month.

That’s where they put the cutoff. Free front page and 20 articles a month. Print subscribers get full digital access, so they’re really just trying to squeeze a little juice out of whatever slice of the 15% heavy users aren’t already covered.

They’re asking stupid money, but they’re asking true believers. Non-story, really.

Not like the poor old Times of London. If Murdoch’s paywall was supposed to stop the bleeding, it failed: print circulation of the Times has dropped almost 15% this year. Pretty much on par with everyone else. Plus, their online readership (and the lovely advertising moolah that goes with) has dropped from 20 million uniques a month to to 50,000 subscribers.



Comment from Feargal Fitz-Ferret
Time: March 17, 2011, 11:11 pm

“Not an Irish bone in my body, ”

Aye, me lass, but the night is still young, ye wait and see.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 17, 2011, 11:21 pm


Actually, I remember a very scratched up old tin-type in my Grandmother’s house of a severe-looking woman named Mary Serena McMichael, so I guess there was the one.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: March 17, 2011, 11:47 pm

Stoatie – have UB die his hair red. Then, you can say CLOSE ENOUGH!!!

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: March 18, 2011, 12:40 am

That’s a cute little critter there, Stoaty O’Weasel.

Comment from Randy Rager
Time: March 18, 2011, 1:50 am

I was going to celebrate my Irish heritage by going into work drunk and getting fired, but I really can’t afford it, St. Paddy’s day or no.

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 18, 2011, 2:23 am


Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: March 18, 2011, 5:50 am

That’s the best Weasel drawing yet!

Comment from Mike C.
Time: March 18, 2011, 9:21 am

“Not an Irish bone in my body…”

That is indeed unfortunate. But the wife is the same way. English, English, English (with just a little English thrown in) all the way back up every branch and limb of the family tree as far as records go. And they go back quite a ways (hat tip – DAR.) Lucky for the kids, I came along to save them from Celtic deprivation.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: March 18, 2011, 2:37 pm

A happy St. Pat’s to you, nonetheless.

Comment from Blast Hardcheese
Time: March 18, 2011, 8:00 pm

Oceania, take your stupid Youtube Luddite spam and git. Or I’ll break out the shovel. And you don’t want that.

Morons like you are the reason we’re still burning junk for power.

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: March 18, 2011, 8:31 pm

My mother’s mother’s mother’s mother was Irish, one Margaret McAdams, married James White, gave birth to Ella who gave birth to Helen who gave birth to Judy who gave birth to me. Died in Sacramento, buried here, don’t know any more about her than that, sadly. But as far as I know, that’s my sole claim to Irish fame. Rest of the family–except for one great who was from Cologne–are from England, both Cornwall and England proper, mostly sturdy peasant stock.

Comment from Sven in Colorado
Time: March 18, 2011, 9:58 pm

My maternal grandfather, Wm.(Woody) Martin was 2nd generation removed from Galway….full blood Irish. He was equipped with the tongue and temper to prove it, along with a grand ability to imbibe while others quailed, faltered and/or passed out. Bushmills was his favored Irish whiskey. I do believe Mum inherited more than her share of the Irish bloodline, and passed it on to her sons.

Mum’s first marriage matched her to a Swede. That union produced your’s truly. Scandinavian Celt…interesting mix.

BTW, the Martin Tartan is actually purty. (Yes, there are some Irish Tartans!)

Slainte! (a day late!)

Stoatie, grand critter creation! Ya captured that peculiar quizzical Irish visage, that seems to say: “How the hell did I get here?!?!?!? Sure now, ’twere in Donegal just a moment ago!

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 18, 2011, 10:59 pm

I wonder if Stoaty can run a Honey Badger line or two …

Comment from Oceania
Time: March 18, 2011, 11:00 pm

Hard Moldy Cheese:

Are you qualified to handle a shovel? You just keep donating pennies for the cause. 2cents.

Comment from Carl
Time: March 20, 2011, 1:45 pm

Wease, I’m a bit hesitant about posting this comment because you might feel that it is intruding on your privacy. Anyway, if you go to Ancestry.com and search for Mary Serena McMichael (1835-1900) you will see a picture of her. There can’t be too many people of that name so it is probably your relative.

You can do a search on Ancestry.com without taking out a subscription but it doesn’t get you very far. Seeing a photograph of the person you are interested in is very unusual, particularly for a non-subscriber search. If you want to delve further, you can take out a free 14-day trial subscription (but make sure that you cancel it within that time period).

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 20, 2011, 2:28 pm

OHMYGOSH, Carl! That’s her! That’s the photo I remember!

One of my manky cousins must’ve joined up and scanned that in! I think there are enough of us that the info doesn’t lead back to me.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 20, 2011, 2:29 pm

I was startled recently to find a photo of my proto-ancestor from the 17th C (it was one of those silhouette things). He was the one that moved from the UK to the US in, like, 1680.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 20, 2011, 2:42 pm

In fact, if she died in 1900, she must’ve been an auntie or cousin.

Comment from Carl
Time: March 20, 2011, 3:14 pm

Judging by the dress and the hair style (plus the fact that she looks quite young) I think that the photograph must have been taken in about the early 1860s.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 20, 2011, 5:47 pm

Shame ancestry.com is so expensive.

Comment from Beyond Bibb’s Store
Time: March 20, 2011, 7:14 pm

Interesting bit here on the NYT paywall. It seems if you disable your cookies, you beat their evil plot. By the way Stoaty, our chooks started laying about a week after the solstice. I think they’re cornfused…we, however, can use the eggs so I’m not tellin’ em they were supposed to wait till the days lengthened a bit.


Comment from Carl
Time: March 20, 2011, 8:12 pm

Yes, Ancestry is expensive, particularly the Worldwide membership.

It would be worth checking out Ancestry in your local library (it will be free). They will have the Ancestry Library Edition but I suspect that, like my library in Bristol, it will cover only UK records.

You could trace Uncle Badger’s ancestors and also any of your relatives who migrated to the U.S. from Britain relatively recently. They will have birth, marriage and death records from 1837 onwards and census records from 1841 onwards.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 20, 2011, 8:19 pm

Yes, my local library lets me plug into a lot of that stuff through them.

I’m anxious to find out more about this house, but it’s been tough going so far. The parish records from before the late 18th Century are missing.

Comment from Carl
Time: March 20, 2011, 10:58 pm

You might be able to find out more about your house by searching for information about the previous occupiers.

One good thing about Ancestry.com, Rootsweb, etc. is that you can get in touch very easily with other people who are researching a particular family and they are usually willing to share their information. There are also many Family History groups.

In helping a friend to research the history of their Sussex family I found http://www.thesussexweald.org amazingly useful. There must be other similar sites.

You might (or might not) be pleased to know that the name McMichael is SCOTTISH not Irish.

Just by Googling I came across the following information about Mary Serena McMichael:

1. She is a descendant of John “One Eye” Davidson who was born in 1749/50 in Augusta County, Virginia. He died on 25 Feb 1825 in Maury County, Tennessee.

2. Mary Serena McMichael was born on 7 June 1835 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. She died on 17 June 1900 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

3. She married William Sharp on 7 August 1854 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. They had 10 children.

4. She had a brother Thomas J. McMichael who was born on 31 May 1839 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. In the Civil War he served as a trooper in the 1st Louisiana Cavalry Regiment. There is a photograph of him at the eHistory archive (old site).

I’d better stop there. My curiosity is verging on nosiness.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 20, 2011, 11:11 pm

Heh. You have a talent, Carl. Do you do a lot of this?

I know there’s a ton of stuff out there on various branches of my family; there was a lot in the pre-internet days, so there’s bound to be just gobs of it now. Just by the names and dates you supplied, I can work out who she is (I didn’t know before).

And the Sussex Weald site looks very interesting (we’re in East Sussex). The problem with researching a house is that so much of this information is geneological. If you don’t have any names (and thanks to the loss of the parish records, we don’t) you’re stuffed.

Comment from Carl
Time: March 21, 2011, 10:57 am

I do it only occasionally – it can be very time consuming. A couple of years ago I took out a one-year subscription to Ancestry.co.uk (it’s the same as Ancestry.com) and found it worthwhile. From their records I was able to fill in a lot of gaps in my family history in the Victorian era. Also, through their message boards I was able to make contact with previously-unknown distant relatives who now frequently pass information on to me and enabled me to go back to the 1500s with one branch of the family.

Re your cottage – presumably, since it is quite old, it is a Listed building. You should be able to get a copy of the inspection report. The East Sussex County Record Office in Lewes would either have it or be able to tell you where to find it. They should also have a lot of other records (manorial maps, etc) where it might be mentioned.

When I lived in Sussex I often came across references to the Sussex Archaeological Society. They seemed to be very active. You could contact them for advice. Maybe you could invite them have a look at your cottage. I’m sure that you would find it interesting to hear what one of their experts on old Sussex buildings has to say about it.

When you say the ‘parish records’ have been lost, do you mean the parish registers in the church? There may be a copy elsewhere, since the parish priest was supposed to send copies to the local bishop.

Comment from Carl
Time: March 21, 2011, 9:33 pm

Wease, I posted another comment earlier but it has disappeared. did you splat it or did I press the wrong button?

If you decided to delete it I quite understand.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 21, 2011, 9:37 pm

No! I was enjoying the conversation. I didn’t biff anything, and it’s not in the bucket.

Eh. Maybe my database is screwy.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 21, 2011, 9:47 pm

To answer your earlier questions, Lewes is going to be our last resort. But it’s a long way away, and a somewhat formal process (you have to get a reader’s ticket and tell them in advance what documents you want to examine).

As for the listed building — clearly what happened, some guy drove through the area one day in 1986 and “listed” every building that looked old. Honestly. A bunch of houses in the area were listed on the same day, and the ones that have pictures, it’s obvious someone just got out of the car and took a snapshot from the road.

The parish record books were absconded with in, I think, 1790. We were given to understand the copy the Bishop has will have less detail, but that’s on the list. We’ve talked to some of the local history people, and there’s one in particular who will examine your house in detail. That’s on the list.

Next up is to get hold of the tithe maps, which the local library has on CD.

We’ve got an unpaid property tax bill from 1610, so we know it’s that old. The oldest building in our parish dates from 1510, so we know it’s not that old. The house has a name that doesn’t seem to be a local family name.

We know quite a lot about it in the 20th C — every old coot in the neighborhood lived here at some time or other. One of our neighbors was even born in it. But from 1900 back to 1610, nothing.

Comment from Carl
Time: March 21, 2011, 11:27 pm

Thanks Wease, I’ll try again. I thought that maybe the comment revealed something that you wanted kept private. I thought about that but, since someone had already posted it on the internet for all to see, I went ahead.

Anyway, it was yet another comment about Mary Serena McMichael.

Her great great grandfather was George McMichael who was born in SCOTLAND in 1740. He served as a Major on the Loyalist side in the War of Independence. His wife was Ursula Giessendanner who was born in SWITZERLAND in 1740.

There is a LOT about George McMichael’s descendants on this website http://www.genealogy.com/users/c/a/r/Thomas-Cardwell-LA/FILE/0003page.html

Good luck with the house history search. There was an interesting BBC television series about 10 years ago called “The House Detective”. The researcher on that programme has produced a guide. To avoid your spam filter, I’ll enter the link as a separate comment.

Comment from Carl
Time: March 21, 2011, 11:31 pm

Here is the “House Detective” link


Some of the links within it look useful.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 21, 2011, 11:50 pm

Thanks, Carl. That looks really interesting.

I probably will go back and scrub her name before it gets into the Google cache. Oh, screw…my blog is now #6 on the hits list. The price of fame!

For once, I’m not worried about a deranged lefty finding my true identity; I’m worried about a member of my family finding my blog. Heh.

Comment from Carl
Time: March 21, 2011, 11:54 pm

Me again. Just a thought. Since you have a 1610 property tax bill, that obviously shows the original name of the house. However, house names do get changed. Could the name have been changed at some time and then changed back to the original just prior to 1900 by an owner who preferred the original? If you look at the 1901 (or 1911) census records you can get the names of the people who were living their at that time. Then go into ancestry.co.uk and do a search on those names in the 1891, 1881, etc, censuses for the locality. They will give you the addresses of those people, one of which might turn out to be your house under an earlier name (or at least confirm that the name had stayed the same).

I have seen several centuries-old Sussex maps where they show the names of the individual properties.

Comment from Carl
Time: March 22, 2011, 12:00 am

Best to delete all references to the McMichael family then.

I must say that they look much more interesting than my lot.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 22, 2011, 12:12 am

Nah, I think it’s too late. Once Google’s got hold of it. Never mind. Just don’t tell my dad I say “fuck”, okay? I’m a respectable church lady.

We don’t have the bill; Uncle B’s lawyer found it in a title search. We’ve got a lot of half-digested bits that need following up on.

The recent census data probably won’t do us any good. The house had fallen into serious disrepair in the late 19th C (not even the shepherds would use it, if that tells you how bad it was). It was almost torn down a couple of times. So, when it was inhabited at all century before last, it was lived in by “lookers”.

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