Friday Funny: Bacon and Ham, Nourishing Food

This ad for Woods and Malfet (presumably a butcher shop) ran during January 1906 in the Portage La Prairie Weekly. How things have changed! Today we would advertise the deliciousness of bacon and gloss over the fact that it isn’t very healthy. In 1906 they trumpeted the extra calories (useful to farmers in the cold, but not so useful to most sedentary jobs today) and declared that it would keep you in shape. Of course, you had to have them properly cured as Woods and Malfet surely did, for maximum nourishment. If you needed a tub of lard, the fine folks at W & M had you covered there, too. Just ask the operator for 71.

(From Manitobia, shared under a Creative Commons License.)


Friday Funny: Bernice Bobs Her Hair

(Illustration from the Original Printing of "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" in May 1, 1920 issue of The Saturday Evening Post)

This is the funniest thing I found while reading up on 1920s hairstyles this week. Even funnier than all of those pictures of women getting perms with wires coming out of their hair looking more like they were getting some quack brain treatment than a hairdo.

Please enjoy Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Friday Funny: As Lively A Man As You Would Expect

This item from the “Around Town” column in the January 16, 1906 issue of the Portage La Prairie Weekly tickled me. The breezy editorial tone is kind of hilarious, and the society page reporting always struck me as a bit quaint. Someone is visiting someone popular around town! There might be parties! Something is happening! Nowadays we’d be more likely to see a fluff piece about a guy suing the paper for mistakenly printing an obituary.

Walter Vansickle - He read his own obituary- PLAP Weekly 16 Jan 1906

Mr. Walter Vansickle of Swan River is visiting his sister Mrs. J.J. Darling in town. Walt was the man who was reported to have died by a Dauphin paper and copied into the Times, which must have made very interesting reading for him. He is about as lively a man as you would expect to see after his obituary notice has been writtin. -Treherne Times.

The last line is what really shines here. Is the writer saying that Walt is a carpe diem kind of guy, or that he is so boring he may as well be dead?

(Article found on Manitobia, which is a great resource for Manitoba history.)

Friday Funny: October Smith

October - the man born in April

In the 1901 census, in Milverton, Perth, Ontario, you can find October Smith…who told the enumerator that his birthday was April 16. My next guess would have been that he was the eighth child, but according to the 1861 census, it doesn’t look like he is unless his father had seven much older ones before him.

If anyone knows anything more about October, I’d love to hear it.

Friday Funny: Yeah, Well I Was Being Enumerated Before You Even Knew What the Census Was

On first glance, I fully read this name on the 1891 Canada Census as Hipster.

“I was calling myself Bailie before it was cool.” Bailie/Bailey doesn’t even show up in the top 1000 baby names in the States until nearly a hundred years later in 1983. (Those stats come from the Social Security Administration’s baby name list, comprised of the names of Americans who applied for Social Security numbers. I wasn’t able to find Canada wide naming trends.)

The Hipsteins lived in Montreal Est. If you look at the full page from the census, about half of the people were enumerated in English (Mr. Hipstein was a dry goods peddler) and the other half in French (including a vet; a medecin vetrenarie). Since the census only asks if the respondent can read or write but doesn’t specify a language, this is kind of a neat springboard to determining whether your Quebec ancestors who died before 1901 (when the census included language) were Anglophone or Francophone.

Friday Funny: Bitchy in Ontario

Bitchy Family In the 1881 Census - I'd be cranky too if they spelled my name this way

It’s true, I laughed when I saw “Bitchy” in the census. A giant, “Oh, man, I wonder what their name was that made the enumerator write that down” snorty laugh. I try not to make fun of people’s names, because most of the time they didn’t have a say in the matter. That doesn’t mean I won’t poke fun at a census enumerator’s mistake, or something obviously outrageous the enumerator was told and dutifully wrote down. (Maybe when I’m in my 90s, I’ll look up the 1981 Canada Census and find a Jedi Knight named Luke Skywalker or someone who called himself Heywood Jablome and cackle until my throat hurts.)

In the 1881 Canada Census, there were twenty-one people enumerated with the surname of Bitchy. There is a woman listed as Bitchy, Sophia and it made me think of The Golden Girls. Too bad it wasn’t an Italian name. The Bitchys were all German. (“Picture it, Alsace, 1852…a young girl with legs that wouldn’t quit and a recipe for Pfeffernusse leaves for America…”) There are also sixteen people enumerated in Waterloo as Bitschey or Bitschy, which is most likely the original spelling.

Bitschy researchers (I feel kind of mean typing that, as I am sure that they must be okay people if they are sharing their research for free) on the ancestry forums say that the Waterloo Bitschys are from Alsace and Lorraine. There is a town called “Bitche” (French, pronounced “Beech”) or “Bitsch” (German, pronounced something like “Kitsch” with a B). A lot of Ontario Bitschys became Beechie or Beechey, around the same time that anti-German sentiment during World War I made Berlin, Ontario into Kitchener.

What I’d like to know is if any Bitschys changed their names because they hated having that “s” dropped, making the misspelling seem like a self-fulfilling prophecy if they complained.