Sunday, July 4, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge # 27 - The Inventors of Greenwood, Nebraska

This week's challenge in "52 weeks to Better Genealogy" was to try our skills using Google Scholar. I was aware of this search tool but had not yet used it. When my search turned up titles such as "Reaction of Benzocyclobutnoxides With Nitrates: Synthesis of Hypecumine and Other 3-Substituted Isoquinolines" I wasn't sure if I was up to this challenge!

A few surname searches didn't turn up any of my ancestors, so I thought I'd try searching on Greenwood, Nebraska, the little village northeast of Lincoln where many of my ancestors settled.

To my surprise, I discovered that Greenwood had spawned some inventors. 

On May 1, 1883, Walter Trumbull received a patent for his improvement to windmills.

On June 11, 1889, William Carr received a patent on his ironing table.

On June 4, 1901, John Stradley of Greenwood received a patent for his corn sheller.

On June 11, 1907, W. Dean received a patent on his dropping device - which is a system for planting corn at regular intervals.

And on December 27, 1910, Sterling McDonald received a patent on his cuspidor. I don't know if that one ever took off because 40 years later, my grandfather Bill Kelly was still using a Hills Brothers coffee can for his spitoon!

While I doubt if I make as much use of Google Scholar as I do of Google Books, it's nice to know that it's there if I need to know about the taphonomy and population dynamics of an early Pliocene vertebrate fauna.


  1. I enjoyed your comment, especially all the big words (grin). I had not thought of searching for patents by place name. Good idea!

  2. Excellent idea! I'll have to do that myself.