A History of Plymouth Gin

…or, to be historically correct “The Black Friars Plymouth Gin Distillery” however, we locals just call it Plymouth Gin. I was born in historical Plymouth at the end of WW2 and among our history lessons was, of course, the history of England and Plymouth in particular. (1)

Plymouth’s history goes back to very early times. In 1866 several caves were discovered in the Plymouth area, containing the bones of animals that no longer live on these Islands. along with the human remains were the bones of a lion, hyena, cave bear and rhinoceros, which show man lived in this district as far back as the early stone age. Saxons settled in the area and by 926 AD ruled the whole of Devon.

Plymouth was attacked, raided and ruled, by others many more times…but that is another story, this story is about the Plymouth Gin Distillery, the oldest working gin distillery in England.

In the 13th century, friars arrived in Plymouth. Friars were like monks but instead of withdrawing from the world, they went out to preach and help the poor. There were also Carmelites in Plymouth, known as White Friars and Franciscans or Grey Friars. During the middle ages, because the Dominicans wore a black ‘cappa’ or cloak over their white habits they became known as the ‘Black Friars’

The Friar is still used somewhere on every bottle of Plymouth Gin today

The Plymouth Gin distillery building dates back to the early 1400s and was formally a monastery inhabited by the Black Friars. The most intact part of the distillery is the Refectory Room a medieval hall with a hull-shaped timber roof built in 1431 and is one of the oldest buildings in Plymouth.

In 1536 the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, the former home of the Black Friars was put to a variety of other uses including the first non-conformist meeting place, a debtors’ prison, a meeting hall and a centre for Huguenot refugees who fled France and came to Plymouth.

In 1620 It has been suggested that the Pilgrim Fathers spent their last night in England in the distillery and they made the short walk down to the harbour to set sail to America on the Mayflower, where they founded a new Plymouth.

Plymouth Gin Bottle

The original distilling business was owned by Fox and Williamson and in 1793 when a certain Mr Coates joined the establishment, Plymouth Gin started being distilled and soon the business became known as Coates & Co,. until March of 2008, when the French Pernod Ricard took over the company.

My three miniature souvenir bottles from my last visit to Plymouth – Empty!

Some of the many fascinating botanicals that make up the unique taste of Plymouth Gin are Juniper berries, Coriander seeds, orange and lemon peels, angelica root, green cardamom, and orris root. Its gin is also ‘Appellation Controlee’ meaning it can not be made anywhere, except Plymouth, Devon, England.

Made with single-origin juniper, picked on a single day, from a single mountain location in Frontignano, Italy, only one batch will ever be made.

One of the oldest continuous buyers of Plymouth Gin is the Royal Navy. Almost all Navy Gin is linked to Plymouth thus Plymouth and the Royal Navy have a long history. The Royal Navy’s ‘rum ration’ or ‘tot’ was usually rum for the ratings but the officers drank Gin.

Spot the Friar

This was a huge business for British distillers. By 1850 the Royal Navy was said to be buying over 1,000 barrels of Plymouth Gin a year, and during the Napoleonic Wars, Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson ordered barrels of Plymouth Gin for his officers. However, on the 31 st July 1970, that tradition ended. Modern Naval ships carry sophisticated weaponry where a push of the wrong button or an unsteady hand could result in WW3, so it was decided to end the daily Rum ‘tot’ that the ratings had been drinking for over 300 years!

On that day, sailors, drinking their last free ration of rum, wore black arm bands, drank their tot and threw the glasses into the sea. I have no idea what the officers did with their Gin! (2)

The Mayflower ship forms Plymouth Gin’s trademark label today. Black Friars is indisputably the oldest working gin distillery with records of a ‘mault-house’ on the premises going back to 1697. Today, Plymouth Gin is known worldwide. Just the other day, to my surprise, I heard VPR – Vermont Public Broadcasting Service – advertise Plymouth Gin on its station.

At the moment, no doubt due to the Covid delays, it is hard to find Plymouth Gin in Montréal, as the SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec or Quebec Liquor Corporation) where I usually buy it, is sold out!

Today, Black Friars offers a range of tours, ranging in price from a 40-minute, £7 inspection through to an in-depth, 2.5-hour “Master Distiller’s” outing (£40) where visitors get to create (and take away) their own bespoke gin. The distillery complex also has its own cocktail bar and brasserie. (3)

SOURCES

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Gin

(2) https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/how-pussers-rum-became-the-official-drink-of-the-british-royal-navy/articleshow/66196337.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

(3) www.britainallover.com/2015/11/black-friars-distillery-plymouth/

The YouTube link below is a tour with the Master Distiller.

Scandinavian & Baltic States Families of Quebec 18th, 19th & 20th Centuries

Norway – Sweden – Finland – Denmark – Iceland – Estonia – Latvia & Lithuania


Coming to Canada

Norway

The offer of Canadian land parcels to settlers in the 1890s attracted Norwegians to come to Canada. Before that time, Norwegians would cross the Atlantic Ocean, land in Quebec City, then migrate south to the United States. As the American Midwest and Northwest became more populated, and immigration policies more restrictive, the Canadian Prairies became the next destination for many Norwegians.

Sweden

Swedish immigration to Canada began in the 1870s with the first rural Swedish colony, Scandinavia, near the town of Erickson in Manitoba. Originally named New Sweden, Scandinavia was established by three men who organized dwellings to house the first settlers.

Like their Scandinavian counterparts, Swedish immigrants first arrived and settled in the United States and then travelled north to settle in Canada. A large influx of Swedish immigrants from the states of Minnesota and North Dakota migrated to the Canadian Prairie provinces in the 1920s.

Finland

It is very difficult to determine the exact date of arrival of the first Finnish settler to Canada. However, Finns began settling in large numbers in the 1880s. During this period, many Finns who had arrived in the United States in the 1860s crossed the border into Canada. By 1890, many communities of Finnish Canadians had formed. The largest of those communities were Nanaimo, British Columbia; New Finland, Saskatchewan; Port Arthur, Toronto, and Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario.

Denmark

Although there are early accounts of Danes working as trappers in Canada, little documentation exists that describes their experiences. By the 1860s, political unrest, religious divide, and the promise of a better life in America, all contributed to the migration of Danish people to Canada and the United States.

Iceland

Leif Eriksson was the first Icelander to set foot in what would become Canada. Wineland, the first settlement of Icelandic origin, was established in 1003, and Snorri Þorfinnsson is the first known European born in L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.

In 1872, Sigtryggur Jonasson traveled to the Muskoka region of Ontario and a group of 100 Icelanders later joined him there. Not satisfied with their settling attempts in Ontario, the Icelanders moved west to Manitoba and established the first lasting Icelandic colony on the continent. 

Estonia

From 1900 to 1944, fewer than 3000 Estonians immigrated to Canada. Approximately 72, 000 Estonian political refugees fled to Sweden and Germany in 1944 to escape Russian communism. Of these, nearly 14, 000 immigrated to Canada between 1946 and 1955

Approximately 72, 000 Estonian political refugees fled to Sweden and Germany in 1944 to escape Russian communism. Of these, nearly 14, 000 immigrated to Canada between 1946 and 1955. Balts, mostly Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians, were among the first displaced persons selected by Canadian immigration during the Second World War (WWII).

Lithuania 
Lithuania is a small country on the southeastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The first recorded Lithuanian immigrants to Canada were soldiers serving in the British army in the early 19th century. The 2016 census reported 59, 285 people of Lithuanian origin in Canada (11, 185 single and 48, 100 multiple responses). At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, many Lithuanians, fleeing Tsarist police or to improve their livelihoods, immigrated to Canada and settled in Nova ScotiaOntario,and western Canada   
Latvia
Between 1921 and 1945, 409 Latvians arrived to Canada, although in the 1941 census listed 975 people claimed Latvian origin. After the Second World War in 1947, many Latvians moved to Canada as war refugees. This migration, which accounted for 92% of Latvians who immigrated to the country between 1921 and 1965, ended in 1957. Many of these Latvians worked in the agricultural areas during their first years in Canada, but soon settled in cities. By 1961, only 10% of those immigrants lived in rural zones and farms (6% in rural areas and 4% on farms). The majority of Latvian immigrants in Canada in 1991 were women, 775 more women than men.[1
Information : Library and Archives Canada
 

Click on the above link to access the database that consists of authors who have written about those who immigrated to Quebec.

Motherhood in New France

A Short Life of Dedication

In the waning years of the 16th century, Pierre Esprit Radisson, my eighth great grandfather was born in France. He was a cloth merchant of modest means living in the parish of Saint Nicolas des Champ, Paris Frances.

In the year 1633, he married Madeleine Henault, the widow of Sebastien Hayet. She brought to the marriage her young toddler, Marguerite. Together they had three more children, Francoise (1636), Elisabeth (1638), and Pierre Esprit, the famous fur trader and explorer (1640).

Recently the following biographical sketches about members of the Radisson family were added to our blog.

https://genealogyensemble.com/2021/10/06/a-very-young-marriageable-girl/    Elisabeth Radisson

https://genealogyensemble.com/2021/11/03/claude-jutras-dit-lavallee/    Claude Jutras, Elisabeth’s husband

https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/03/11/allegiances/     Pierre Esprit Radisson, Elisabeth’s brother

Pierre Senior died in 1641 at the age of 51 leaving Madeleine to care for the four children. Within five years she also passed away. (1646) What was going to happen to the youngsters? Marguerite was now 15 years of age, while Francoise, Elisabeth, and Pierre were still very young.

The three sisters, despite their young age, became “marriageable young girls”. They arrived in New France during the summer of 1646 and were welcomed into the community of Three Rivers (Trois Rivieres) that had been settled in 1634 by Samuel de Champlain. The location was ideal, the midpoint between Quebec City and the burgeoning Ville Marie (Montreal1642).

Very little information is known about the early years of Francoise Radisson, other than in 1649 the record shows that she became her nephew Etienne’s godmother. He was the son of her half-sister, Marguerite.

In 1653 at the age of seventeen, Francoise married Claude Volant de Saint Claude, a soldier from France, also 17. No records of their marriage contract nor written records of their marriage have been found.

A typical document containing information about the Volant Family

The young couple set out to have a family and before long they were blessed with a set of twin boys, Pierre, and Claude, born November 8, 1654. Two and half years later, on July 28th, 1657, a daughter, Francoise saw the light of day, but at the age of five and a half, she died. There is no indication of what caused her death, but, typhoid and smallpox were common diseases causing the loss of life.

In November of 1659 another daughter, Marguerite and was welcomed after the pain of losing their first daughter. Four years later in July of 1663, another daughter also named Francoise was born. Her life came to an abrupt end, having lived only three months. In the fall of 1664, the family rejoiced when their healthy young son Etienne joined the family. Almost five years later Jean Francois was born, followed by Nicolas in 1671 and then young fellow Charles Ignace rounded out the family on November 7, 1673.

For nearly twenty years Francoise bore nine children having given birth to three daughters and six sons. No doubt there were moments of deep grief, along with times of jubilation for the family. The childbearing years took a heavy toll on Francoise.

In the last years of her life, she became ill and Claude soon realized the need for help and hired a housekeeper to care for her and the five young children still living at home. When the leaves of autumn are at their finest, most splendid colors, Francoise died October 3rd, 1677at the young age of forty-one.

During her lifetime, she lived to see her two eldest sons become priests, but not long enough to see them ordained, nor to witness their many accomplishments. She must have been quite ill when her daughter Marguerite was married in the summer of 1675 and perhaps unable to attend the celebrations. She may have rejoiced seeing her first granddaughter when Marguerite gave birth before her mother’s passing, but she died before seeing the second granddaughter and was spared knowing that Marguerite died shortly thereafter.

Francoise’s will above was prepared on the 12th of August 1677 prior to her death in October of the same year.

A soldier

https://www.prdh-igd.com/

Francoise’s steadfast husband, Claude Volant became a prominent member of the Three Rivers community. He was granted a Seigneury along the St. Lawrence river also named a churchwarden. Numerous interesting notarial records may be found in his name. Perhaps the most important one consisted of his being named tutor of his children still living at home.https://www.prdh-igd.com/

 Request from Claude Vollant (Volant), Sieur de Saint-Claude, for the election of a tutor to property and persons at the meeting of May 11, 1678 by Gilles Boyvinet (Boivinet), King’s adviser… (04T, TL3,S11,P1681)1)

https://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/archives/52327/3388226

Above is a small section of a four-page notarial document naming Claude Volant, the father of the five children as the tutor for his children living at home.

https://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/archives/52327/3388226

Below are several notarial land transactions by Claude Volant, Sieur de Saint Claude.

Ulster Families in Quebec in the 18th and 19th Centuries

The database below consists of the many authors who focused their writings on the many families from Ulster who settled in Quebec.

There are numerous documents available for download, interesting articles on the subject, including several theses, and magazine articles.

Click the link below to access the file in a new window.

The Mystery of Lavinia Patterson

Who was Lavinia Patterson? I found a cabinet photograph of her in one of the boxes from my mother’s cousin. Written on the back, her name, the date and place. It wasn’t in one of the albums, just in an envelope with other pictures. She was a good looking girl with what I thought was an unusual haircut. She had very long hair hanging free with bangs and a short boy cut around her ears. Cutting or shaving some of one’s hair is a style seen now but in 1886?

The first clue was the photographer’s name and address. Barnett M. Clinedinst Sr and Jr had a studio in Baltimore from 1880 to at least 1891. Clinedinst Sr. began as an artist and turned to photography after the Civil War. He built up a prosperous business in Staunton, Virginia and later settled with his wife Caroline McFee and children in Baltimore. His son followed him into the business and they opened a studio in Washington DC where they photographed Presidents, military men and societie’s elite. Barnett Jr became the official White House photographer for three administrations. They were also innovators and were some of the first to use flash lighting.

Much information about the photographers exists but what about Lavinia? In an 1887 Erie PA directory, Lavinia B. Patterson, a student, lived at the corner of 7th and Sassafras, the same address as a Revered James G. Patterson of Park Church. Two years later Rev Patterson resigned as pastor of the 2nd Presbyterian Church of Erie. There was also a Lavinia and Anne Patterson going to a school in 1881 but so far no proof that either is this Lavinia.

This picture was with other photographs that had belonged to my great grandmother, Ida Girod Bruneau. Ida taught school in Baltimore before she married Ismael Bruneau in 1886. Was Lavinia one of her pupils saying goodbye to Ida, a favourite teacher?

Notes:

The photograph was taken on June 8th 136 years ago.

Scottish Quebecers of the 18th & 19th Centuries

2014 Highland Games held in Verdun

Background Information pertaining to Scottish Settlers in Canada

Scots began arriving to Canada as early as the early seventeenth century. Sir William Alexander obtained permission from King James I to establish a Scottish settlement in 1622 named New Scotland or Nova Scotia. The colony failed to flourish, however, and few families settled in Canada before the British conquest in 1759. The majority of these early Scottish settlers were Roman Catholics seeking political and religious refuge, fur traders with the Hudson’s Bay Company, merchants and disbanded soldiers.

After this early period there were also a number of Highland farmers who emigrated from Scotland after being ejected from their land to make way for sheep grazing. The primary destinations for these early settlers were agricultural communities in Upper Canada, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Cape Breton Island had a significant Scottish population, Gaelic being the only language spoken there. Scottish Loyalists arrived in Canada from the United States in 1783 and settled mainly in Glengarry, Upper Canada, and Nova Scotia. Lord Selkirk also settled over 800 Scottish migrants in Prince Edward Island in 1803 and placed many others in his Red River settlement in Manitoba in 1812. By 1815, there were already more than 15,000 Scots living in Canada.

Between 1815 and 1870, over 170,000 Scots immigrated, with increasing numbers settling in Quebec and Ontario, notably in Lanark County. They were a widely-varied group, including Highlanders and Lowlanders, farmers, teachers, merchants, clergymen and servants. Many were Presbyterian and English speaking. Many Scots were encouraged and supported by the British government and private companies in their effort to emigrate.

Scottish immigration to Canada continued into the twentieth century and increased the Scottish population to over 1 million by 1930. Most of these later Scottish migrants were farmers and farm labourers coming from the Lowland regions, while fewer Highlanders emigrated during that period. There were also many more industrial workers coming after 1900, many in the iron and steel industries. The primary destination for this later settlement of Scots was western Canada, with Manitoba receiving the largest numbers.

After the First World War, many Scots were able to gain passage to Canada under the Empire Settlement Act. Immigration from Scotland to Canada continued in large numbers throughout the twentieth century and between 1945 and 1993 approximately 260,000 settled in Canada. Today, there are approximately 4 million Canadians of Scottish heritage.

Source for above text: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/history-ethnic-cultural/Pages/scottish.aspx

Click on the above link to open the database in a new window

Lydia and the Mill

Jacques et Gilles work at the mill;

That stands beside the water;

Could be Lowell, could be Lawrence;

Or Nashua, New Hampshire;

Jacques et Gilles, they hate the mill;

But they’ve too many sons and daughters.

(Jccques et Gilles: McGarrigles from Matapaedia Album)

Sulloway Mill, Franklin, NH

Lydia Morrisette, my granddaughter’s 2nd great grandmother on her mom’s side, was a real Americanophile, or so Lydia’s daughter, Irene, told me just the other day. Lydia always raved to Irene about life the US despite the fact she had lived and worked there for a mere seven years in her youth, in Franklin, New Hampshire from 1903 to 1910.

Why do you think your mother loved the United States so much, I asked Irene. After all, work in New England textile mills by most accounts was no picnic, not even at the best of times, what with the long hours, the lack of respect, the bad ventilation and lint and dust flying everywhere, the dangerous machines that could ‘jump’ at any time and the NOISE. Oh, the noise! Let’s not forget the institutionalized racism against French Canadians, often referred to as pea-soupers, or the paternalistic behavior of the French Canadian overseers.

“She liked the independence,” said Irene. “She liked the money.”

So, it seems that Marie-Leonie Ledia Morrisette, like so many other Edwardian women out in the workforce in the big cities of the Western World, valued her independence and enjoyed having an occupation in which she took some pride. After all, the Sulloway Mill up on the hill produced top-of-the-line men and women’s hosiery.

Irene agrees. “They made nice socks,” she says.

Maria-Leonie Lydia (Ledia) Morissette was born in 1889 (with the help of Dr. Harel1) in Ste Gertrude, Becancour, Quebec, a short ferry ride across the St Lawrence to Three Rivers, to farmer Eugene Morrisette and his wife, Clarisse Heon.

In 19032 The Morrisettes and their children, four five girls and two boys, set out to work in Franklin Mills, a smaller, happier sort of industrial town of around 6,000 people on the Miramack River.

Lydia and her sisters on the 1910 US Census. Few French workers made the Census for some reason (including Lydia’s parents) but the 1906 Franklin Annual Report reveals there were many French Canadians in the town. They just weren’t enumerated, perhaps seen as temporary workers. The Morrisette family is on the 1911 Canada census but Eugene and Clarisse and a son and daughter returned to the US.

With four girls and two boys (including a newborn with “muscular atrophy” moving to a mill town where the older children could help support the family was a logical step for a Quebec subsistence farmer.

The 1910 United States Federal census has Lydia, and her two sisters, Antonia and Elivina (Alvina) working in a “hosiery mill” (almost certainly the Sulloway Mill) as helpers/top hand and boarding in Ward 2, up from the river and the mill, with teamster M. Poirier, and his family.

Lydia, as young “Canadiennes” were instructed to do by the community patriarchs (wherever they happened to be living, ceased work in 1910 to marry handsome Quebecker Henry Hamel. Of course, biology likely had its part in this 🙂 The couple moved back to Drummondville, Quebec and raised a large family. Irene, born in 1918 (and the last surviving child, needless to say) is the among the youngest of their brood.

Lydia was the only female member of her strong-willed Morrisette girls to marry. A sister Alvina remained a mill worker in Franklin and two of her sisters became nuns.3

Perhaps because Franklin was a smaller, kinder New England textile down with fewer workers; perhaps because Franklin is where Daniel Webster of dictionary fame was born; perhaps because the Morrisettes lived in Franklin during an era of exponential change, Lydia and her sisters were different from many New England mill workers from Quebec – who usually kept to themselves. The women took pride in integrating and learning English.

Indeed, their one healthy brother, Horace, was of a similar stamp. He stayed in New Hampshire with his parents, Eugene and Clarisse, and his sister Alvina and married an English girl, Mary Murray.

French Canadian child workers at the enormous oppressive Amoskeag Mill in Manchester New Hampshire 1909. LIbrary of Congress. in Franklin NH, at least in boom times, there were Company picnics and baseball games and parades to compensate for the gruelling work in the mills.

1. This is the first time I have seen something like this on the Drouin records. Was the birth difficult?

2. This 1903 date is given on the US Federal Census, shown above and on Eugene Morrisette’s death certificate in 1937.

3, Alvina is listed in the 1930’s as a working as a finisher, which might mean sewing toes and heels into socks or applying chemicals and pressing the socks. Another sister, Antonia, joined a Catholic order back home, but moved to Ontario as she spoke good English. Another sister, Aurore, became a nun in Africa, much to her parents’ displeasure.

325,000 Quebecers left between 1860 and 1900. Just 100,000 between 1900 and 1910 with 40,000 returning. ­ This 2020 YouTube Video from Rhode Island Genealogy Society explains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyWu46jbauk Country life was very hard for Quebeckers in the Victorian Age. The burgeoning New England textile industry proved most alluring to many farm families. As industry competition increased over the decades, some New England Textile Corporations actively sought out French Canadian workers who, because of their large families who could pool their income, could toil for less money and were less inclined to agitate. French Canadians were also valued for their excellent work ethic.

Church of England, Church of Scotland,

British Wesleyan Methodist Church, American Congregational Church, and Other Protestant Denominations  During the Lower Canada Period at BAnQ.

St. James Anglican Church – Three Rrivers – Originally built in the mid 1700’s as a Recollet Mission
Saint James Anglican Church Three Rivers where the congregation has been worshipping since 1823.

The following database contains books written by numerous authors who have penned books, essays, treatises, dissertations, theses, studies, abstracts, and papers. within the libraries of genealogy societies and at BenQ. These documents may be accessed online and downloaded.

 On pages, 69, 70, 71 are listed the leading repositories of Protestant Church Registers in Quebec, Many Protestant Registers cannot be accessed at BAnQ Numérique, Ancestry.ca, Genealogy Quebec (Drouin Institute Online), FamilySearch.org. Very few Protestant Church Registers (baptism, marriage, death) survived during a period of time in New France However, it is possible that  Notarial Records may shed light on Protestant families prior to 1759.

Click on the above link to open in a new window.

Settlements in New France During the 17th Century

https://regionsofcan.weebly.com/new-france.html

Settlement of New France during the 17th century /

Peuplement de la Nouvelle-France au 17e siècle

            The content of previous dossiers that addressed the origins of French Canadians, Acadians, and Franco Americans in Genealogy Ensemble has been expanded. A large portion of the content may now be accessed online.

The list below indicates the many sources including new repositories of books, dossiers, documents, essays, etc. :

  • BnF Gallica (Bibliothèque nationale de France) in Paris (Online dossiers (free))
  • BnF Catalogue général (Bibliothèque nationale de France) at the two main libraries in Paris
  • BAnQ Catalogue at the 12 repositories throughout  the province.
  • BAnQ Numérique (Online dossiers (free)
  • BAnQ Collections (Online dossiers in many cases of fonds (collections) addressing New France & Québec and the people who made a difference.
  • MemHOuest – Université de Rennes – Theses described as Maîtrise, DEA et Master by students at various universities of France who researched the origin in North West France of immigrants bound for the North American French Colonies from 1598 onward
  • La Revue d’histoire d’Outre-Mer, later changed to Revue d’histoire – Outre-Mers – Essays, dissertations, papers by college and university professors of France who published texts addressing the immigrants from mostly North West France with the destination to the French Colonies of North America including Nouvelle-France, Acadie, Louisiane of the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Les Cahiers des Dix – A regrouping of the best and most influential historians and authors of the French language in Québec province from the 1920s onward to the present.
  • Les Sept aux Archives nationales du Canada in Ottawa. The greatest historians associated with Library Archives Canada and Université d’Ottawa of the French language over the last 60+ years .

Click on the link below to access the file in a new window

Greece, Beautiful Greece

Have you ever been to Greece? Great food, good weather, beaches. I could go on and on. But my favourite part about visiting Greece is staying in the ancestral home of my husband located on the island of Tinos in the beautiful village of Skalados.

My mother-in-law, born in 1932, has lots of stories of growing up in this lovely village. When she was born, the village had no running water, no electricity, and no roads. It is hard to imagine as everyone now has internet, televisions, washing machines, and one or two cars per family.

While she was growing up, the villagers’ took their water from the well located in the village. It was hard work carrying the water that the household needed from the well to the home. They also used the well for washing the clothes. Women would help each other, as washing was heavy and hard work. Everything that they needed had to be carried to the well, including the clothes. To my surprise they used a blue rinse for the whites. 

Well in Skalados, Tinos (courtesy Tinosecret)

The village had two wood ovens and these were also shared. On baking days the families would bring their bread and dishes that needed to be cooked in the oven.

If you have been to Greece, you will have noticed that the stairs in the villages are wide and long, with a small step.  These stairs were designed for donkeys, which explains their design. My husband’s grandfather used a donkey as his means of transportation as there was no road to the village until the 1970s. The whole island is crisscrossed with “donkey paths” that are now either overgrown or used as walking paths.

Stairs – Skalados (courtesy Tinosecret

I am already looking forward to my next visit.

Working together to help genealogists discover their ancestors

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