Research Help: Genealogy Trivia

There is a legend which says since Satan was once an angel he cannot be wholly excluded from Christian places of worship or graveyards, but is only allowed on the north side. Men and boys were once employed to go up of church towers and shout, making a lot of noise to drive him away. In time this system was found both troublesome and costly so stone heads with open mouths were used instead. Such heads are often found on church towers or old castles so they were evidently considered effective in keeping the devil at bay. Few people bury their dead on the north side of old graveyards.

Inst., Ult on documents

And my thanks to the Y-IRL subsribers for the discussion on this:

As times given in documents:”instant” refers to a date in the current month

“Ult” would refer to the fourteenth day of the month just passed

“prox.” is next month

Both “instant” and “ult” were commonly used in Business and Formal letters etc .

‘By Inch of Candle’

We often see in documents that land was to be leased and that the figure would be ‘set by inch of candle’ to the highest bidder.

This method of auctioning or ‘canting’ was usually carried out by means of burning a candle or a sandglass. In the first case, a candle was cut into short lengths and lighted, the highest bid received before the flame died out taking the land or article in question. Often instead of waiting for the flame to die out a pin was inserted in the wax or tallow and the successful bid was determined when this fell out.

When a sand glass was used, bidding began when the glass was turned and ended when the last grain fell, the glass could be turned a stated number of times.

People would try to keep the bidding as low as possible and so bidding would begin slowly, but as the candle guttered the bidding pace would increase and some were expert enough to be able to tell almost to the second when that flame would die or the last grain of sand fall!

from Bill Quinlivan, Jacksonville FL to the Y-IRL list

“Irish mile: the traditional mile in Ireland is 6720 feet, which is 1.272727 times the English mile or 2.048 256 kilometers.”

from Michael Cronin to the Dublin mail list:

Esquire = landowner but of course its use will depend on their definition of landowner. In 1876 (ie 50 years later) ‘landownership’ was defined as a 99 year lease or better.