Friday Funnies – A Mousic Obituary


The following mousic obituary is taken from the Portsmouth Evening Times:

In this city, Dec. 1st, “James D.” mouse, owned by Mr. James D. Potter, (colored) of this city, formerly of Port[l]and, at the age of 4½ years of old age and paralysis of the heart. This was a common gray mouse which Mr. Potter had trained and exhibited in many cities in this country and Canada. The mouse was forwarded to Boston by express this morning to be stuffed and when returned will be placed in the little cage which has been his home for 4 years. The mouse funeral will be held in City Hall. A special invitation has been extended to Chandler’s band and Neal Dow to be present. The mouse was insured in Chicago for one hundred dollars and Mr. Potter says he would not have taken $500 for it and will wear mourning all over his face as long as he lives. [Montreal, Chicago and Portland papers please copy.

Daily Eastern Argus, Portland, Maine, Wednesday, 6 December 1882, page 1, column 7.

Friday Funnies: More Death in Pennsylvania

Visits Office To Prove That He Is Not Dead


“I’m not dead, honest I’m not.”

This statement by J. Franklin Wells 29, and of rather quiet disposition caused a general sensation in The Genius office today.

In his hand he held a newspaper In which his death, due to peritonitis was chronicled.

“That isn’t true,” he remarked as he pointed to the “J. Franklin Wells” obituary notice.

Mr. Wells convinced the editor that he was still alive. To strengthen his argument he said he had been to the Minerd undertaking parlors to view the “corpse.”

Mr. Minerd was as much surprised as “J. Franklin.” He knew nothing of any such death and started an investigation to determine the instigator of the hoax.

The “death” notice gave correctly the names of Mr. Wells’ parents and other family connections. The age was given as 27 and it was incorrectly asserted that he was a Uniontown high school graduate.

Mr. Wells had been ill for the last few days of grip but has entirely recovered. Recently he was employed in the repair shop of Bob Miller in Iowa street.

The Morning Herald, Uniontown, Pennsylvania, 20 April 1938, page 9, column 1.


“The Genius” is short for “The Genius of Liberty,” another local paper in the Uniontown area.


Friday Funnies — Death in Pennsylvania

One does need to check the dateline of this story. Additional corroboration would also be helpful.

Nearly Buried Alive.

Aged Mr. Cole Came to Life in his Coffin, but the Shock Killed Him.

Bethlehem, April 1. – Eli Cole, of Kalellen, near here, aged eighty-one years, apparently died last Tuesday, but when the undertaker put the supposed corpse in the coffin it uttered a groan, and it was found that it was a case of suspended animation. Cole vividly described his gruesome feelings while being prepared for burial. He lingered three days and died yesterday from prostration produced by brooding over his horrible experience.


The North American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2 April 1892, page 1, column 1 (below the fold)

Is Genealogy Romancing the Bloodlines?


This piece comes with a semi-humorous bent, so be forewarned. 🙂

I read an article a while ago about Icelandic dating. While that article had a different idea in mind, it sparked some interesting questions for me. Where does interest in genealogy come from? What does romance have to do with genealogy in the first place?

Well, thinking about genealogy in terms of ancestry, family history, and genealogy research, I’d rank genealogy as the romance level, ancestry research at the puppy love level, and family history research at the infatuation level.

I looked at some statistics from Google, and of the three terms, family history had the highest-ranking spot, ancestry was in second place, and genealogy third place. If family history research is the most common, it must be socializing, ancestry casual dating, and genealogy serious romance. Ancestry research is the information gathering necessary to get a good start on genealogy. Genealogy research is heavy-duty work compared to the simple practice of name collecting.

Name collectors are just name dropping their ancestry, like some folks who claim they are descended from Jesus. People engaged in family history research are building relationships where they have more than just names, and are getting to know the stories behind their ancestors. Ancestry researchers have a stronger interest and decide whether they have the stamina to build strong relationships. Genealogists, on the other hand, become wed to the subject and explore everything they can get their hands on.

Admission: I’m sort of in the middle group at the moment, making a stronger commitment to better genealogy.