Index Cards To The New Freeman   


Ruby M. Cusack


"Mum, can I help you make cookies?"  Knowing the answer would be yes, I had already tied one of her aprons around my waist and had pushed a chair over to the counter. Every little girl likes to cook and I was no exception.

I stood on a white wooden chair, and prepared to make cookies. I dumped a cup of brown sugar into the dark green mixing bowl. Reaching for the Fluffo shortening, I would ask, "How much shortening?" My mother's answer was usually, "The size of an egg." That was an easy one, as I knew how big an egg was. Measuring a third of a cup of milk was not so easy. The fun part of cooking, was turning the handle of the flour sifter.

My mother was a great cook! She made bread at least twice a week and it seems freshly baked cakes or cookies were always on the counter - waiting to be eaten with a glass of milk. Most of her recipes were kept in her head and done from memory.

The brightly illustrated cookbooks of today were not around in those years. Mum's cookbook was a tattered scribbler. The pages were smudged with shortening or stained by drops of cooking ingredients. Not only were there recipes for fancy breads, cakes, cookies, pickles and fruitcakes, but many homemade remedies had been written in. At the back were the hints on how to cure a sickly calf or little pig. There was even a recipe for making furniture polish.

In the 1950s a change came about in the keeping of recipes. The recipe box with cards appeared on the market. During the evenings, my mother sat at the kitchen table with fountain pen in hand and carefully copied all of her recipes over onto cards and organized them by subject.

We have genealogical recipe boxes also. They provide the ingredients for making a good family tree.

The staff and volunteers at the Catholic Archives of the Diocese of Saint John have indexed the obituaries of the New Freeman. They have compiled over 10,000 cards of information. The index cards to the obituaries of the New Freeman from 1900 to 1998 will give you the name of the person, and, quite often, where he or she lived. The card also gives the date of the issue of the New Freeman as well as the page and column number. Once you know this information, you can view the obituary on microfilm. The details provided in the obituary often put the trimming on, or fill in the blanks of, your family tree.

By the way, if you plan to visit the Catholic Archives at 1 Bayard Dr., phone 653-6807 as an appointment is necessary.

Queries have been grouped together to cover the year 1998 and can be viewed at Queries-1998

Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.

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