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One Document to Rule Them All

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

The title of this post you might recognize as being stolen from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring but the subject matter is actually stolen from biology. Scientifically describing a new species is an exacting endeavor. Ideally, one has an entire specimen of the new organism that can be used for study […]

Information and Connection

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

A few weeks ago my daughter’s biology teacher asked if I could give my presentation on DNA for her honors classes. It required putting a bit of a different spin in things and it got me thinking. The talk is meant to give genealogists a basic understanding of DNA so that they have the background […]

The Genealogists’ Alphabet, part D

Wednesday, February 25th, 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 aunt, who got you interested in […]

Rootstech & FGS

Monday, February 16th, 2015

I’m just back from working three days in the ArchivDigital booth at the combined Rootstech / FGS conference in Salt Lake City. Billed as likely to be the biggest genealogy conference ever held, the attendance didn’t disappoint. Already on the first day, one could hear rumors about the attendance in hotel elevators. At first people […]

How Odd

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Sometimes it can be good to look at lots of data even when you only want to understand just a little. If you look only at the 55-year-old widower and his 20-year-old son in the 1841 census of the UK, you wouldn’t think twice about the ages. Look beyond the family that interests you and […]

History Super Bowl

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Earlier this week I listened to a podcast about Thucydides. Another one of those names that isn’t going to actually appear in anyone’s family tree (he died about 2400 years ago), but what was said about him, and his older contemporary Herodotus, got me thinking about genealogy anyway. As founders of history we can see […]

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 you’re engrossed. B […]

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