Did Your Ancestors Drink Spirits?
January 24, 2010
I have just read an article about our ancestors drinking spirits that I thought I would pass along to you. The article, Brewing Up a Civilization published on December 24, 2009 by Frank Thadeusz appeared online at SpiegelInternational.com. The interesting article prompted me to search for more information on this subject.
The archeologist conducting the research is Patrick McGovern, a US archeologist specializing in alcohol consumption throughout history. He conducts the research on site and then brings the clay shards he uncovers back to his Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum for test results.
McGovern theorizes that consuming fermented beverages containing ten percent alcohol goes back to the Neolithic period, some 11,000 years ago in a village in China. He goes on to say that our ancestors stopped at nothing once they had tasted the fermented figs, mead, a honey and water concoction, which he described as being “quite nutritious.” He further hypostatizes that they became farmers, growing crops of wheat, rice, corn, barley, and millet primarily to satisfy their taste for the beverage for intoxication which also helped them survive the harshness of that early period.
His book, Uncorking the Past. The Quest for Wine, Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverage, is enlightening. Read more about his findings in the January 1, 2010 issue of Archaeology Briefs at http://archaeologybriefs.blogspot.com/. Scroll down to the fifth article on the page.
PARKER COUNTY HANGINGS: Twisting in the Wind: Springtown Hangings of the Hill Women and Other North Texas Hangings is the latest addition to the history of Parker County. The author included 15 stories regarding hangings in Parker County and surrounding area.
The author is Jean Bennett, Weatherford Public Library genealogy librarian. Bennett went back into the mid 1800s for her examples. She writes that the distance to the Sheriff’s office was too far, so cattle rustlers, union supporters, or others breaking the law were hanged on the spot. She goes on to comment that there were numerous hangings around the county.
If this county or the morbid subject of hangings interests you, find out more at www.parkercohistoryandheritage.com.
WEST VIRGINIA VITALS ONLINE: The West Virginia Archives Division of Culture and History now has the vital records, birth, death and marriage, online at http://www.wvculture.org/history/genealog.html. The Archives has other items of genealogical interest at the Genealogy Corner, http://www.wvculture.org/history/genealog.html. Many of these items are images of the original item. The best part is that we can view these free and search by date, name or county. The earliest dates from 1780 but birth records are placed online only after 100 years from date of birth. Read the article online for more information at http://www.wvculture.org/history/vitalrecordsarticle.pdf.
POPULAR ONLINE MAGAZINES: If you are wondering what others are reading, there is an online site that names the ten most popular magazines and journals. Family Tree Magazine, Georgia Genealogy Society Quarterly, Genealogy Magazine.com and Family Chronicle Magazine are listed among the top ones. You can access the current list at http://www.alexa.com/topsites/category/Top/Society/Genealogy/Magazines_and_E-zines. Some of these require subscriptions while others are free. Some of the links seem to hide in all the promotional stuff on Alexa.com’s site.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunions announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: TracingOurRoots@gmail.com.