Saturday, December 26, 2009

Plan's for Bert Babcock's Diary

In the summer of 2009, a friend of mine (Marty Schlabach) told me about a diary available on E-bay. He knew I was interested in Naples, NY, and had been working on publishing my great great grandfather's 1886 diary of life in rural upstate New York - specifically, Naples, NY and surrounding area. This new diary was from 1894, and from the description on E-bay my father and I determined that the writer was my maternal great uncle - Herbert "Bert" Babcock. Bert was the brother of my grandmother's father.

I plan to do a similar project with this diary. I plan to post pictures of the original pages from Bert's diary, along with my own comments and research. The writing in the diary, like Henry's, is all very clear, and the diary is very complete. There seems to be an entry for every day. Bert seems to give somewhat less detail about day to day life, but does make a lot of sort of wry comments. The one family story that I had prior to obtaining this diary is that "Uncle Bert used to like to say that he liked to bump his shin because it felt so good when it got done hurting!"

Bert never specifically identifies himself in the diary - no name written in the front, etc. - but when I read the January 1st entry I knew that I had Bert's diary in my hands! Bert says "I am injoying (sic) the colic."

For me, the other great thing about this diary beyond the fact that it is written by my great uncle, is that Bert is working on the farm of Russell Dye. Russell Dye is the brother of my paternal great grandmother! So this diary is a direct connection to both sides of my immediate family.

And in another cosmic "small world" story, the second to last entry in Henry's diary talks about Bert's father - John Babcock - coming over to negotiate about buying a horse. Two of my great great grandfathers were horse trading on December 30, 1886!

I'm also thinking that I will
Twitter some of Bert's comments because a lot of them are really neat little gems! Each entry will be two days as that is how the diary is laid out. I will try to have a new entry appear every two days as the year goes along.