A few posts have been saved in draft form, but never published because of time constraints. There are a few blogs that I follow and really enjoy the daily or weekly updates and have noticed that sometimes even the smallest posting about historical endeavors, thoughts or projects really inspires me.
With that notion in mind, I have come to the realization that trying to post fairly in-depth research and then undertaking the creation or acquisition of the reproduction based on the research is well-meaning, but not an easy commitment with family, career and going back to school. In other words, it makes it to where I can't post anything for over a year and I don't like it!
Let's face it: It is just a hobby and past time! It is still an obsession on my part, but most of my time resources have been and continue to be used elsewhere. (Much to the delight of my wife!) Remind me, we need to have a conversation about how everyone's spouse fits into living history. Mine considers my history obsession a "mistress".
Before I get to the history part, we welcomed another addition to our home. On February 4, Ella Marie was born and at the moment she is sleeping peacefully in the bouncy seat. Always with a historical mind, it pleases me that both of my children can easily have 18th Century French names: Jacques and Marie! I have also adopted the French name of Philippe Robert, habitant du Kaskaskia for myself, since it is my given first and middle name. With another stroke of luck, Robert happens to be a very common French name. Things keep falling into place! I hope to receive a dit name. I will take suggestions into consideration...
Now for what I have been working on, researching, spending too much time on, etc:
First, I have been looking at several Papal artifacts and recreating rosaries for 18th century reenactors. Catholicism was a major part of French society at the time and my thoughts lead me to believe French reenactors should have a fair amount of Catholic accoutrements in their kit.
This led me to other small projects, including obtaining an original Jesuit cross to use for the molding of "lead" crucifixes found at the Guebert Site at Kaskaskia. My reproduction is a lead-free pewter, although I have no personal objections with keeping a lead one.
As a shameless plug, some of my work is pictured and available on the "Philippe Robert, habitant du Kaskaskia" Facebook page. Please like the page if you visit it. I certainly appreciate it!
Right now, it is important to understand the difference between "primary" and "secondary" research sources before searching:
Now then, where to start with research? I will share what works for me.
Here lately, I have been on a "Jesuit ring" kick and wanted to know more about them in hopes of maybe making some. Here is a little "flow chart" that flows through my head when I first get started:
Clicking on the picture in the Google image search yields a trip to the NPS' Grand Portage website, with more information about the pictured ring. Connected to the site is even more information about personal adornment items found at the historic site:
When the Jesuit ring book arrived, it is chock-full of examples, tables that classify common shapes and just about anything else a person on a Jesuit ring kick would want to know about the specific artifact. With just that small amount of researching, I can conclusively make these general statements:
- Jesuit rings of the 1600's generally had raised, cast artwork and iconography. Examples from the 1700's are typically engraved or stamped in a crude manner. It is believed a goal in production was to produce the rings quickly and more economically during the latter time period, possibly being engraved on the American continent with simple tools.
- The octagonal plaque (face) on the ring is the most prevalent shape, followed by heart shaped plaques.
- Rings were often very small, typically sized to fit the fingers of a small woman or child.