Archive for October, 2017

October 13, 2017

As the Cookie Crumbles

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As the Cookie Crumbles

Feature Article: by Karenne Grace Rockwood and Angela Myrick Rockwood

Cooking skills are all the rage these days with cooking shows a dime a dozen, but are those types of salivating entertainment avenues with pristine kitchens and magazine perfect results, indicative of true home baked skills?  Does the every day person cook like that?  We set out to find out.

I asked a dear associate of mine, Ammon Rockwood, if he would like to make cookies with me.  I watched closely to see what his response would be.  “Yes!  Mom has a roll of cookie dough in the fridge from the food pantry!  We can use that!”

15 minutes later, without even a single cracked egg, sprinkle of flour, or smudge of chocolate on our aprons, we happily produced, pre-cut, pre-sized, perfectly proportioned cookies.

It appears as if this time, the television is right.  You CAN cook like you’re on TV.

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October 13, 2017

Ancient Cursive Language Skills Put to the Test in Indexing Training Class

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Ancient Cursive Language Skills Put to the Test in Indexing Training Class

Special Report: by Ammon Pratt Rockwood and Angela Myrick Rockwood
 

As part of my investigative training, I’ve recently taken part in an effort to re-create and resurrect an art which some say, is dying.  Every day for the last several months, I’ve spent tedious hours, carefully ciphering the intricate writing form, known as cursive.

Cursive lettering is similar to printed lettering, only they’re just a little loopy.  Ancient peoples on this and other continents used these letter forms in formal and informal documents, written before the commencement of the digital age.

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Some find the forms beautiful, most find them daunting.

As I have become more engaged with this age-old skill set, familiar to my ancestors, but somewhat foreign to modern man, I’ve grown an appreciation for this “secret language” of the past.

Recently I attended a popular “Indexing” class held by the distinguished professor of ancient familial studies, Dr. Troy Rockwood, of Family Search fame and glory.  Displaying several examples of ancient text, photographed and digitized from their original forms found on a stunning variety of flattened dead tree pulp, he challenged us to translate these strange writings into modern text.

Sharing a room packed with computers and four other like-minded researchers, I set to my task.  look like.jpg

At first the words were a blur of ornate, scribbled ink strokes, but one by one, as my mind became accustomed to the script, letters began to appear, and then words.  Dates, families, people, places and events began to appear– and gradually, each document was revealed.

“I really didn’t think I could do it,” gushed one researcher.  “When I first saw that document, I seriously reconsidered whether I was in the right field!”

“Exactly!” said another.  “But once we got started, you could kind of see a pattern to the strokes, and things just appeared.  It’s the closest thing to magic I’ve experienced.  It makes you wonder how the ancients could have even produced such writings on a regular basis… without even a keyboard!  Sometimes an “s” looks like this, and sometimes it looks like….. that!  Still, you start to get the hang of it, and then it’s actually quite, I don’t know– beautiful, I’d say.”

We’re two days into the class, and already making progress.  Will the past remain in the past?  Or will researchers like Dr. Rockwood and his associates bring these obsolete documents into the light before they’re lost forever?  The question remains to be answered.

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