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Who Did They Think They Were?

Monday, April 6th, 2015

I’m in the planning stages of a new presentation about questions of identity in genealogy. With that in my mind, I found a copy of LAS News (from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at The University of Illinois) waiting for me in my mailbox. I flipped to the first article, Thinking Outside the […]

Mad Men

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Even if your ancestors never worked on Madison Avenue, some of them may have written an advertisement or two, and put a touch of their personality into their writing. In 1774 a pair of men took out ads in the Pennsylvania Packet. They didn’t know each other. It was just coincidence that their ads were […]

Strix Noctua

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

A few years ago I proposed that the pushmi-pullyu should be the official mascot of genealogy. There is something that happens to me over and over again, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. In its honor, I’ve delayed this post until night has fallen. It has also made me realize that genealogy also needs […]

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.” […]

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