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Category Archives: US genealogy

kitchen fireplace 5: new hearth

Well, the new hearth is in — all eight feet across — and the marvellous new-old-stock bricks from Wickford don’t stink! Contrast to last week’s gaping hearth pit:

out of death into (young) life

From the Huffington Post today comes something which has apparently been circulating since February: a children’s playground built within the graveyard of the Dutch Reformed Church of Rhinebeck, New York, with gravestones interspersed among the play areas & structures. It’s getting some blog mileage in the creepy humor department, notably a fine sequence of dark […]

a near miss

During work in the attic a couple of the papers which are pasted to the vertical plank walls have become dislodged, just as several of the planks themselves have also been dislodged. Our foreman had found a very small fragment of the 1758 farm accounts loose on the attic floor; I tucked it into my […]

kitchen fireplace 4: the date stone

I meant to showcase this peculiar item earlier, but with the removal of the fireplace surround I finally have decent photographs of it. It is a slab of sorts, bearing the initials and (presumed or approximate) date of the attributed builder of our house, set into the left wall of the firebox of our kitchen […]

kitchen fireplace 3: new old bricks are here

We arrived for a visit on Saturday just as the new old bricks were being unloaded. Our builder has offered us these never-used 18th-century bricks, which he had found stacked in the basement of a colonial house in Wickford. A size and color match for the old work. Laying them will begin tomorrow or Tuesday. […]

kitchen fireplace 2: transformations

The problem of the fireplace stink came alongside other aesthetic and practical questions as we renovate. The fireplace is truly an enigma. I’ve already commented on the enigma of the two baking ovens. Our architect has measured and sketched the chimney system, and believes the original kitchen fireplace would have opened for the full eight-foot […]

kitchen fireplace 1: the stink

Friday afternoon I arrived at the house and backed carefully up to the garage to disgorge two enormous, ponderous eight-foot slabs of beech countertops from Ikea. After wrestling them into the garage, I was greeted by a familiar smell but out of place, coming from the dumpster in the driveway: the smell of the kitchen! […]

another instant heirloom

Earlier I wrote about a 260-year-old will, signed and sealed by one of my ancestral uncles, which made its way into my possession, as an ‘instant heirloom’, through an extremely narrow form of directed marketing: a dealer in old manuscripts had researched the author of this will online, which led him to my book on […]

of wars and rumours of wars

They’ve been somewhat eclipsed by the eighteenth-century documents, but there is a large pile of newspapers that have come out of the floors and walls of the Allin house, mostly between layers of floors — a squeak preventative? There are a few sheets from Providence papers from the 1880s, and several full or nearly complete […]

excavated pilaster

Here is a ‘during’ shot from the Allin House: the Georgian fireplace surround from the ‘southwest great chamber’, partially buried in a later wall, has now been uncovered with the wall’s removal. The revealed corner of this pilaster and crown shows the thickness of the encrustation of paint, with peeks at earlier cream and blue […]