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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 […]

What’s the Antimatter

Monday, June 10th, 2013

The other night my daughter borrowed the movie Angels & Demons and wanted to watch it with me. Part of the plot hinges on the theft of a container of antimatter from CERN, the particle physics laboratory outside Geneva, Switzerland. I think she wanted to get my reaction to the physics. Antimatter is in some […]

Call me Ishmael part 2

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

(continued from Call me Ishmael) Ethnicity Names almost automatically preserve information about ethnicity. A given name might be used in many countries but its precise form might be unique to an ethnic group. Surnames often have very local origins or are dependent on the language spoken by the people who created them. A “Smith” is […]

Content or Context?

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

I remember hearing a story years ago of a man who sat in an archive, in Spain or perhaps Portugal, sniffing documents. He was trying to detect the subtle, lingering sent of vinegar. Why? Long ago people attempted to prevent the spread of disease by sprinkling mail with vinegar. A letter might claim “we are […]

A Word from their Sponsors

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Do you have any ancestors that seem to be the end of the line? Forebears that resist every effort to discover enough to go back any further? Try working on someone else. No, I don’t mean give up. I mean work on someone who seems suspicious, someone who seems to be associated with your ancestor. […]

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