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If April Showers Bring Mayflowers…

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

It is that time of year when children’s thoughts veer from pumpkins to Pilgrims to prancing hooves in rapid succession. Genealogical research won’t put a jack-o-lantern or a flying reindeer into their family trees but what about a Pilgrim? Through a child’s eyes, the level of reality is about the same and, even to many […]

Checking Stories and Finding Pasts

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Yesterday was the second annual “Exploring Your Swedish Roots” at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago. I was one of the researchers who helped people with their Swedish research problems. I always enjoy events like this. In a way it was almost an athletic event. Every half hour, for five hours, a new research problem […]

Nudging Destiny

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

I sometimes wonder if things that people know about their past when growing up or even the way that they are named influences them later in life. I know that being named for ancestors and hearing stories about them played a role in my becoming a genealogist so it must happen to other people as […]

A Genealogist’s Halloween

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Ding Dong! (latch clicks, door opens) “Trick or Treat!” “Oh, aren’t you cute! A broken microfilm reader! And what are the rest of you?” “I’m really inaccurate search results!” “Oh, yes I see! And look, you’re a gedcom file that includes King Arthur and Hercules. Wow, now that is scary!” “Who else do we have […]

Who Aren’t You?

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Sometimes we like to think that genealogy tells us “who we are.” I think it might change who we are. I think it can connect us to history. I think it can help us understand the members of our families by revealing something of their formative experiences but I don’t think it tells us who […]

Heathcliff meets Sherlock Holmes

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

What we present to others, especially non genealogists, are usually the  condensed results of research. They would probably not want all the gory details so instead we give them the dry bones, which aren’t necessarily any more palatable. What is it that we should convey? What is it that holds interest? The Medium is the […]

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 […]

GeneADHDlogy

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

“Hmm…I wonder if this the right family. It could be. Better check these new names and see if they clarify things…I’ll start with Reginald, that’s an unusual name.” “Oh, what’s this? Ronald…Could that be Reginald? Better check that!” “Wait, which window did I have that first document in? Ok, found it.” “Here is a Donald […]

Identity

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Genealogists deal with people’s identities all the time. We don’t normally deal with the physical reality of those people. We don’t deal with the he-is-right-there-in-front-of-me type of identity. We deal with little bits of information here and there. If we have it right, some data overlaps between sources and other data that isn’t found anywhere […]

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 […]

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