Deeper Roots Genealogy

~ Discovering Your Family's Past To Shape Your Future ~

historical oddities

While getting ready for bedtime, my friend’s 2-year-old got away from him and somehow peed on the laptop.  They were hoping they could stick the laptop in rice to absorb the moisture like some people have done with phones dropped in water.

My advice was “back up everything while it’s still working and buy a new computer.”  Why?  Well apart from the unpleasant thought that the laptop you’re working on has been peed upon, pee is not water.  In fact, through my genealogical wanderings I learned that back in the day (1800s, 1700s, etc.), people would collect urine in buckets and let it sit till it turned to ammonia; then they used it for cleaning and scrubbing.  Point being, if pee turns into ammonia, there’s a good chance your laptop is on its way out.  Permanent-like.

But that got me thinking about other odd tidbits I’ve picked up along the way.  I’d love to hear what tidbits you’ve picked up in your historical wanderings.

  • many colonial Americans believed alcohol strengthened the weak, aided digestion and cured the sick, whereas water carried disease and that drinking it would make you sick (they were right about the water in London doing that!); annual per-capita consumption for everyone over 15 years old was 34 gallons of beer and cider, 5 gallons of distilled spirits, and one gallon of wine in 1790.
  • life expectancy in the U.S. in 1850 was 38.3 years
  • at the time of the American Revolution, people were asked to go on record swearing loyalty to the colonies over the crown, and many colonial congresses took down the names of who did; tough choice when you knew that so doing was a death sentence if the crown won!
  • although Arkansas joined the Confederacy in the Civil War, it still furnished around 10,000 soliders for the Union Forces
gravestone

18th century gravestone in Oldham, England shows how short life could be. This is an extreme case, but note the children’s ages at burial and the quick succession in which they died.

What random bits of knowledge have you learned in your genealogical and historical wanderings?

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This entry was posted on 9 July 13 by in Fun Finds and tagged .

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