The Ghost of Gallstones Past

So a while back, I had gallstones.  This meant suffering semi-random gall bladder attacks, which left me pale and writhing on the ground in pain.

After several ER visits and doctor examinations, my doctor recommended surgery.

Naturally, I wanted to see what else I could try before it came to actually being cut open and getting my gall bladder removed.

There was a popular remedy I’d seen online, involving fasting and drinking epsom salts to clean you out, then drinking olive oil.  So I gave it a shot.

It was horrible.  Drinking olive oil straight is dis-gus-ting, so bad that even today, years later, the smell makes me a little queasy.  It also didn’t help at all.  Ultrasounds before and after showed, if anything, more gallstones after the olive oil.  I ended up getting the surgery, which was meant to be outpatient but due to a complication ended up being 3 or 4 days in the hospital.

Flash forward to today – the surgery has been effective, and life without a gall bladder is largely the same as before I had it out.  If you’re curious, the only real change is if I have a fatty meal, I’ll have to go to the bathroom 30-40 minutes later.

My mom just forwarded me a quote she found, thanks to Google Books, from Ellingwood’s Therapeutist, an eclectic medical journal from 1914:

If there is an infection of the gall bladder with gallstones, give an ounce of olive oil twice daily, which has a tendency to liberate the stones. This remedy was first suggested by Dr. Horatio Firth of Brooklyn, N. Y., and is on record.

Dr. Horatio Firth is my great-great-grandfather, on my mother’s side.  So it turns out that drinking olive oil, the popular remedy I found on the internet, was actually invented or at least popularized by my direct ancestor.

Small space-time continuum, eh?

p.s. Thanks for nothing, great-great-gramps!  Bleh.

Failed Successful Marketing

SO I got this email offer from, who I used in the past, and almost went for the offer. But then I ran into issues. This is the email I ended up sending to their customer service:

Hi there,

I received an offer to reactivate my account for 50% off.
I wasn’t sure about it, but then thought, ah, what the heck, I can probably find some more stuff for my genealogy research.

I clicked the link, which brought me to this page:

When I clicked the “Save 50% Now” button to continue, a popup informed me:
“Sorry, but you are currently not eligible for this promotion.”



Why send me an email with an offer if I can’t use that offer?

I mean email marketing is about getting people to:
a) read the email
b) click through the email
c) take action on the page they are brought to

Here I was, that most desirable of marketing targets, one willing to do all three things, and what do you do?
You tell me “no.”

No only does this fail to make a sale, but it makes the potential customer (me) dislike you for pulling a bait-and-switch.

So tell me, what was the point of this whole exercise?

-Tev Kaber, annoyed

Back in the game

I got Family Tree Maker 16 “Collector’s Edition” – normally like a hundred bucks, but got it for like $35 on Amazon. It comes with a year’s subscription to, so I was poking around to see if I could find any documents. It’s been a while since I’ve done any research, so it was nice to get back into it.

I found a picture of the S.S. Campania, which my great-grandparents Samuel and Annie Aidinoff took to America. I found the ship’s manifest a while ago, but always nice to have photos, even if they are generic.

I also found some listings of my great-great-grandfather, Horatio Firth, who was a doctor in Brooklyn.

Nothing really exciting yet, like more branches on the ol’ family tree, but still looking.

Searching for Quakers

Went to Salem, NJ and Alloways Creek, NJ with Ray today to see if we could find the graves of some of my Quaker ancestors. We didn’t have a lot of luck. The one cemetery we did find didn’t have anyone I was looking for. Probably many of the gravestones were destroyed or sank below ground level. Also, the Quakers didn’t necessarily have grave markers in all cases.

I did find the grave of an “Ann Firth” but I’m not sure how she fits into my tree, if at all.

Hancock House

We *did* come across the Hancock House in Alloways Creek, where my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Charles Fogg (a “Fighting Quaker”) was killed in a British sneak attack on March 21, 1778.