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Doing Odd Jobs

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

I sometimes imagine certain things that can only be called genealogists’ blessings. This week one of them has turned up over and over. It would go something like this- May all your ancestors have had truly odd occupations. Having a deeply strange occupation or even just a slightly unusual job can make the difference between […]

Researching FANs

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Summer is, perhaps, the right time to think about fans—except that the kind of fans that I’ve been thinking about aren’t for keeping cool and they don’t cheer at the ballpark. I don’t even mean entering names from my pedigree into a fan chart. I’m working with a different kind of fan for a client. […]

Sign Here Please

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Today when we think of autograph books, we think of a fan holding a book in one hand and a pen in the other, arms outstretched toward some celebrity. Having one of those once owned by your grandmother might tell you something about her tastes at one stage of her life but it wouldn’t really […]

(In)dependence

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

A few years ago about this time of year, when independence is an important word, I wrote a post about data independence—the idea that only independent data improves our knowledge. When data all derives from the same source it is dependent. More dependent data does nothing to help us move our research forward. I’ve been […]

Leave No Document Unturned

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

The other day a client whose Swedish ancestry I’ve been investigating asked me to take on a project researching in Norwegian records. Norwegian research isn’t something I’d done before except for a document here or there but with that full disclosure, I said I would take a look. Getting into new records is always interesting. […]

War Diary

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

We got an email from Germany this week. It said that after 2 1/2 years of work, they had finished the graphic novel that contains part of my children’s great-grandfather’s diary from WWI. The goal is to interest young people in their history, something that we as family historians deal with often. It tells the […]

Washing Hogs

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

I didn’t start out to write a two part post but this post has become part 2 of last weeks about the nonfiction contract. What inspired this post, and last week’s as well, are a couple of recent run-ins with some nineteenth century “nonfiction.” Clearly standards were different over one hundred years ago and the […]

The Nonfiction Contract

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

We research our ancestors to learn the facts about them, about their lives, their times, the places they lived, their occupations, and travels. The list, as they say, goes on. First we gather documents that are clearly relevant. Then we gather documents that are more subtly related to our ancestors. Though we may never finish […]

Travel

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

It is a long weekend in the U.S. The one that traditionally starts the summer. For many it is a weekend for getting into the car and driving, sometimes down expressways, sometimes down smaller, winding roads. As a child one of the things that fascinated me about driving vacations was how once one returned to […]

Records Evolve

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Records evolve. Some records are created to preserve specific information. These certainly change over time. Go far enough back in time and death records might not give the cause of death, something you expect to see today. Other records are created to gather statistics. These, it seems, evolve much faster. If one simply wants to […]

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