It is pretty amazing when you think about how we keep in touch with friends and family today. It is equally amazing when you think that social networking sites have only been around for a few short years. The "Internet" came about in the early seventies, but was not until the mid-nineties when most of us began to first touch the internet through access to the world-wide web (WWW) and email. Before that people wrote letters to each other, but that only worked if you had someone’s address and there was not a way to search for someone before advent of search engines such as Google. Yet that is not entirely true… Recently while searching Google Books for an ancestor of mine I ran across a primitive form of social networking known as the Cigar Maker’s Journal (Cigar makers’ official journal, Volumes 27-29 published by the Cigar Makers’ International Union of America). This particular set covered the years 1902-1905.
I was searching Google Books for my great-great grandfather, George C. Spiegel, and very surprised that I actually got a hit. George C. Spiegel, also known as George Von Spiegel, was born in 1839 in Sachsen (Saxony), Germany and came to the USA in 1850 when he would have been around ten years old. Where his family first settled is still a mystery, but he, his wife, and young son show up in Savannah, Georgia in the US Census of 1870 where George, Sr’s occupation is listed as Cigar Maker. Sometime between 1871 and 1872, the family moved to Dallas, Texas where my great-grandmother was born in November of 1872.