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Researching at the Veil

Monday, September 7th, 2015

A veil can be a piece of cloth used to hide a face. It can also be anything that conceals or obscures. “Beyond the veil” is defined as a hidden, mysterious place. I can’t think of any aspect of genealogy that doesn’t interest me, but there are some that hold a special fascination. One is […]

The Genealogists’ Alphabet, part G

Sunday, August 30th, 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 children that can’t yet read. The kind of book whose genealogist version might start— A is for appendix, written by the family sages. […]


Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

When everything is connected to everything else, for better or for worse, everything matters. Bruce Mau I ran into that quote a few days ago. Bruce Mau is a designer and architect, not a genealogist, but this is one of those concepts that genealogist need to consider. We often think about researching an ancestor. We […]

Crumbs & Threads

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

I think there is a certain beauty in hanging by a thread. So often research fades out. We try harder and harder to find just that little bit more about that one mysterious ancestor. We might turn up a crumb here and a crumb there. Nothing dramatic but a few minor, if pleasant, details of […]

A Face in the Crowd

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Oftentimes we research honed in on a single person. That is the genealogical norm. True, many of us have multiple ongoing bits of research but we are still researching individuals, one here, one there but individuals nonetheless. Any one person comes into focus sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Sometimes that way of working takes us nowhere. […]

Working at Cross Purposes

Monday, July 27th, 2015

I’ve been reading the book How Not to be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, by Jordon Ellenberg. Toward the end of the book, he briefly picked up one of my favorite themes, working to disprove hypotheses.  He started of with a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald- The test of a first-rate intelligence is the […]

Pluto Genealogy

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

Part of the very recent history of my family is my oldest daughter’s love for planets when she was little. Every night I read to her from my old National Geographic planet book. When that wore out, she insisted on being read to from the pages that were still held together by broken bits of […]

Backwards and Forwards

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

As I gradually get back to normal after the last few months (see Fading & Passing), I thought I would return to my regular weekly posts, though perhaps in a shorter format for a while. Genealogy is done backwards in time, from known to unknown. That is the way we ought to research, starting from […]


Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Being unsure is a pretty common thing in genealogy. It is an inherent part of research to be uncertain and to work to reduce the uncertainty. One of the things that can go wrong in research is to forget to have doubts. Usually the uncertainty we have is because we suspect we might have the […]

Contrafactual Genealogy

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

The other day I heard a program that discussed whether or not contrafactual history was “real” history. Some argue that history should only be concerned with what actually happened. Playing with “what if” questions might be fun, but it is fiction, not history. Others contend that analyzing other possibilities, paths that never got a chance […]

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