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Details make genealogy search so much sweeter

Tribune correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: July 9, 2013 at 04:06 PM

Anyone examining my resume, seeing two previous careers as a law enforcement investigator and a newspaper reporter, would guess that I'm a very curious (some would say nosy) person.

I don't know which gene pool contributed that trait, but it popped up early in life.

"Sharon, what are you rambling through in there?" I can still hear my grandmother raising her voice to 5-year-old me.

When things got quiet in her bedroom, she could be sure I had found a drawer or box of treasure.

Once I found a folder of old 1940s newspaper-printed dessert recipes, all proudly boasting of being made without sugar. Modern-day children may be familiar with the "sugar-free" concept, but in the '50s no youngster could imagine a cake made without sugar.

Although I wasn't conscious of it at the time, my grandmother's explanation began my genealogy education. I had just been exposed to how family cooks learned to bake treats when the sugar commodity was being rationed because of World War II shortages.

I recall that the sugar substitute given in those war-era recipes was honey. This memory got me to wondering where we first got sugar and what our ancestors used when they didn't have it.

My curiosity was satisfied after discovering a U.S. Department of Agriculture pamphlet that revealed honey was used as a sweetener by the earliest of our forefathers. A rock painting from the Paleolithic period, found in a Spanish cave, shows a dweller robbing a beehive. The pamphlet said that honey was the most important sweetener in Western Europe until the 16th century.

If you're as curious as I was, check out this publication at www.ers.usda

.gov/publications/aer382/aer382.pdf.

Putting ancestors into historical perspective and understanding elements of their everyday lives - such as what they cooked and ate or contributed to the war effort - are just as important as discovering dates of marriages, births or deaths.

Polk seminar

Ohio genealogical lecturer Jana Sloan Boglin will speak at the Imperial Polk Genealogical Society's all-day seminar Oct. 17.

Her topics: "See Ya in the Funnies," "Ohio: The Great Land Experience," "Hookers, Crooks, and Kooks (or Aunt Merle Didn't Run a Boarding House)" and "The Key to the Courthouse."

Boglin will lecture in the Alumni Room of the Charles Thrift Building, Florida Southern College, 111 Lake Collingsworth Drive, Lakeland, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pre-registration is $40 and on-site is $45. A continental breakfast and lunch are included. The registration form is available at www.ipgs

.org/SeminarFlyer.pdf. For information, e-mail KAYSTONE@prodigy.net or IPGSKED@aol.com.

South Bay seminar

Popular genealogist Henry Z. "Hank" Jones Jr. will be the center of attention Jan. 28 at the South Bay Genealogical Society's winter conference.

The program, at the Sun City Center Community Hall, 1910 Pebble Beach Blvd. S., runs 9:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

It's no wonder Jones is hailed as an entertaining lecturer. He appeared on the television series "My Three Sons" and acted in several Disney films, including "Blackbeard's Ghost," "Herbie Rides Again," "The Shaggy D.A." and "The Cat from Outer Space."

He retired from acting in 1981 and concentrated on genealogy, where he's achieved a different kind of stardom. He's earned the designation of fellow from the American Society of Genealogists, an honor limited to 50 living people who have achieved the highest level of excellence.

Topics for the day are "When Sources Are Wrong," "Tracing the Origins of Early 18th Century Palatine and Other Emigrants," "The Great Genealogists & What Made Them Great" and "How Psychic Roots Became an Unsolved Mystery."

Registration is $40 for society members and $45 for nonmembers. The fee includes coffee and muffins at 8:30 a.m. and a hot buffet at lunch. For details or driving directions, go to www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~flsbgs/ or e-mail south-bay@juno.com.

Sharon Tate Moody is a board-certified genealogist. Send your genealogy questions and event announcements to her in care of Getaway, The Tampa Tribune, 200 S. Parker St., Tampa FL 33606 or stmoody0720


@mac.com. She regrets that she is unable to assist with personal research and cannot respond to requests for locating or researching specific individuals.

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