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Going, Going…Saved

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

The Web has a problem and virtually anyone who has spent time online on two different days has run into it. It’s a problem that is big enough to have recently been the topic of an article in the New Yorker. The problem goes by many names but my favorite is the most evocative—”link rot.” […]

Finding Your Way Home

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Often in genealogy we are trying to “find our way home” in a rather poetic sense. It is the broad where-are-my-roots sense. “Home” is our ancestors’ names, ethnicities, religions, and cultures. In short “home” is everything that went into making our ancestors who they were and, in turn, might have contributed something into making us […]

Delete Your Database

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

No, not really. Don’t actually delete your database. Think about it instead. Scientists call this a thought experiment. Go ahead, put some effort into it and really imagine it. Imagine that it is gone. Now what? A few thoughts come to mind. The first thought might be about backups. If you don’t have one, then […]

The Genealogists’ Alphabet, part C

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

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 are for kids that can’t yet read. The kind of book whose genealogist version might start— A is for ancestor, with whom your engrossed. B […]

The Christmas Truce

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

There has been a bit in the news lately about what happened on the Western Front 100 years ago. That one front alone would eventually cost 12.5 million casualties, but The Great War was only a few months old in December of 1914, and, at least from the soldiers point of view, it wasn’t clear […]

Breadcrumbs

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Record keepers have always had a specific problem—names often aren’t enough. We tend to think of a name as the same as, or at least a label for, an identity. Clerks, ministers, sextons and anyone else whose job included keeping track of people knew differently. A census enumerator did not care that there were ten […]

The Genealogists’ Alphabet, part B

Sunday, December 14th, 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 are for kids that can’t yet read. The kind of book with one letter per page that starts out— A is for ant, watch it […]

Meaning and Intent

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Genealogists deal with information—gathering, analyzing, transmitting and preserving. Often that information isn’t in an easy to use form. Maybe it’s in a foreign language written in Gothic script. The ink has faded. The words are abbreviated and just for fun let’s say it uses an outdated calendar and archaic place names. The meaning you give […]

The Mind’s Eye

Monday, December 1st, 2014

My family and I took a trip over the long Thanksgiving weekend to visit friends. Nothing unusual about that. As  often happens when we travel somewhere, I realized that we have a family connection to the area. The connection was made by a family that I seem to be following. We’ve visited them in Illinois, […]

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 […]

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