Monthly Archives: December 2011

Is there really a Santa Claus?

The answer, of course, is yes! The original Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, was born in Turkey during the 4th century. He devoted his life to Christianity and his reputation for generosity and kindness gave rise to legends of the miracles he performed for the poor and unhappy. Devotion to the legendary St. Nicholas spread throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and he became the patron saint of Sicily, Russia, Greece, charitable fraternities and guilds, sailors and children. After the Reformation, the legend of St. Nicholas all but disappeared in all Protestant countries of Europe except Holland, where Dutch children would place their wooden shoes by the hearth in hopes that they would be filled with a treat. The Dutch knew St. Nicholas as Sinterklaas, which eventually became corrupted in Anglican to Santa Claus. In 1822, Clement C. Moore composed his famous poem, “A Visit from St. Nick” (later published as “The Night Before Christmas“), and is credited with creating the modern image of Santa Claus as a jolly fat man in a red suit.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

St. Nicholas the patron saint of children

-information from Kimberly Powell,



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The War to End all Wars

The United States declared war on Germany in early 1917. Patriotism ran strong, however, Army enlistments were modest at best. The United States therefore enacted a draft requiring every male born between 1872 and 1900 to register – regardless of whether they were natural-born, naturalized or alien. On three different registration days in the years 1917 and 1918, more than 24 million men were registered. Of these 24 million men, over 80% were given deferments and were never called up to serve.

These World War I draft registration cards are an invaluable source to researchers, as the cards provide a wealth of information, including the height, weight, hair and eye color of the ancestor in question. Not only does the card give physical descriptions, it lists where the individual worked, their address, date of birth and current address at the time the person was registered.

World War I was horrific and the world had never seen anything of its kind up to that point, at least on such a global scale. The use of the machine gun, chemical weapons and trench warfare made combat gruesome. The Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, ending hostilities, but unfortunately, the resulting instability in Europe led to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

Do you have anyone in your family that was in The Great War? Do you or your family have any souvenirs or mementos of that person’s time spent in Europe? Do you have any family stories associated with that particular veteran? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Please leave your comments below.



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