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Questions: Personal and Universal

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Last week I wrote about the Swedish genealogy event where I was one of the researchers. I’ve also been making a lot of presentations lately and one of the best things about being a speaker is talking with people individually before and after presenting for the group. This week I thought I would let some […]

Genealogical Speed Dating

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Yesterday I provided research help at the annual Exploring Your Swedish Roots day at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago. It means changing to a new research topic every half hour. Often a problem gets solved but sometimes, a mystery lingers. It can, perhaps, be visualized as genealogical speed dating. One mystery was the man […]

What Time Was It? Surprise!

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

The bombers were enormous. They left their bases in Germany and set their courses for London. As they advanced toward the the British coast by night, operators stood ready at their dishes, waiting to detect their approach and call out the fighters. The early raids proved unstoppable but eventually the British pilots learned to bring […]

A Genealogist’s Halloween II

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

This is year two of this story. If you didn’t read last year’s or if by some chance you’ve forgotten it, you should read the original Genealogists Halloween first. Ring! Ring! (Actually a “Monster Mash” ringtone is heard) “Hi Jenny, Are you almost ready?” “Yep, I’ll be over in a minute. I just need to […]

The Genealogists’ Alphabet

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Sometimes the past doesn’t need to be so distant to seem far away. Cleaning out things that the kids have outgrown turned up one of those typical alphabet books that for kids that can’t yet read. The kind of book with one letter per page that starts out— A is for apple, red and tasty. […]

Discoveries

Monday, October 13th, 2014

This is a day when we think about the discovery of the New World. It is a good time to think about the meanings of discovery. There are probably places where the question “Who discovered America?” could provoke a fight or at least start a heated argument, because there are several possible answers. Paleo-Indians The […]

Are Answers “Out There”?

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Whenever we have a problem, a logical thing to wonder is if the solution is “out there”? Depending on the problem, that question can be deeply philosophical and here we can really only skim the surface. Back in my days as a grad student in physics that was something that would come up in late-night […]

Failing Fast

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Trying to fail may sound like a truly odd concept. Trying to do it fast probably sounds even more bizarre, but there is a point to it. When a problem itself is even remotely interesting, the solution is often not something that is easy to find. Many documents might be needed and little shards of […]

The Future of our Present Past

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

It can be wise for the family historian to think a little about the future of the past they are reconstructing in the present. You can read the letters that were once in a box in grandma’s attic. You can look at the photographs found in your uncle’s desk drawer. Those things could be a […]

The Contemplation of Things

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

I was reminded of a wonderful quote this week. I was watching a PBS documentary about the photographer Dorthea Lange who had a copy of it hanging in her studio- The contemplation of things as they are without error or confusion without substitution or imposture is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest […]

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