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While the Shutter is Closed

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Sometimes one hears that the census is like getting a snapshot of a family taken every ten years. The time between “exposures” does change from place to place but many countries have settled into the once per decade pattern. In the U.S. state censuses can sometimes be used to cut the time that the shutter […]

Painting Your Ancestors into a Corner

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Some ancestors make life easy on us. They can be found in record after record. Their names are clearly written and spelled in a way that makes sense. They seem always to be recorded with enough extra information to really be sure that they are who we think they are. Some ancestors seem to refuse […]

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. […]

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. […]

What Goes Around Comes Around

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Do you know where your data originated? Do undocumented writings support what you have found elsewhere or has been handed down in your family? Should you wonder where that data originated? Could it, in fact, be your data? Has research circled around and bitten its own tail?  Biting Its Own Tail I was chatting genealogy […]

Supporting Statements

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

I was tempted to title this post something like “Feeling Geeky” but that didn’t seem to be specific enough. There are so many things in genealogy that one could write about when feeling geeky. This is just one of them but it is one of the most important. Statements and Support Every statement made in […]

Thinking about the Thingamabobs

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

The story of one part of the life of an ancestor of mine comes from his son’s obituary. It is the brief but interesting story of a long pioneering journey. It is also clearly wrong. Not so wrong as to be worthless, there are plenty of good clues but there is, for example, an obvious […]

Sketching Sketchy Sources

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Ever wish you could just glance at a record and get an overview of what it means? Or for that matter, what about looking at several documents and see how they might fit together? Or clash? Or see that there is a real puzzle to solve? The more data one accumulates the harder it can […]

Hinting at the Facts

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting. —Henry David Thoreau Reading old genealogical works can be an almost mystical experience. Not mystical with a capital “M” as in a […]

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