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No More Mr. Nice Pilgrim

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Last week I wrote a bit about Mayflower passenger George Soule. One thing that I mentioned was that he wrote a will that names his children. He did his genealogical duty. What I didn’t mention was a very interesting detail of his probate. George gave, or had already given, something to each of his surviving […]

Fingered by the Index

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

I don’t remember when I first read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. Whenever it was, I have read it many times since. I won’t go into much of it here, it would be well off topic. Suffice it to say that it deals with a vast sweep of the future and the decline of a great […]

Royal Heralds and Simple Harolds

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

I never thought that I would ever use the heraldic visitations. Heraldry has that sort of “gravitational” attraction that always makes me somewhat uneasy. People have been known to make up heraldic arms for profit. Some think that there are “family coats of arms” and that everyone has one. People claim or are misled to […]

Mortgages, Magnetism and Shoes

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Any documents that can show names, dates and places can be used for genealogy. Some may provide better genealogical evidence than others but where there are names, dates and places there is possibility. A Mortgage I’m now staring at one less used document type, mortgage papers. The man I’m investigating loaned some money. It gives […]

Up Close and Personal

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

There are many, many ways to gauge the value of a genealogically interesting document. There are many terms as well—primary, secondary, original, derivative… What is often missed is that it is almost always impossible to use one of these terms for a whole document. Every statement made in a document is different. Some are in […]

Accounting for the Past

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

This week I used an unusual source. A 130-year-old personal bank book. It might not seem to be a likely piece of genealogical material let alone a treasure trove but one should never leave a stone unturned. Sometimes things were saved simply because they were never thrown away. Other times they were saved because they […]

Fear and Loathing in Logs Vegas

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Today I thought I would write about what is clearly the single most exciting topic in all of genealogy. What would that be? What have I written so much about? That’s right, checklists and research logs! What, I ask, could possibly be more exciting than those? Either I’ve gone hopelessly insane or I’m not being […]

A Tale of Twenty-Two Documents

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

One of the biggest problems in genealogical research is deciding how much is enough. We all deal with it. How much dedicated searching before you decided that a record simply doesn’t exist? How long do you spend on a difficult to read document? How many documents relating to the same fact are enough? I know […]

Writing the Fine Print

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Every genealogist knows, or should know, that keeping track of sources is a must. Each fact should have a source. There is something hidden in that last statement. It assumes we have a clear idea of what a “fact” is. Do we? Slicing and Dicing How small can a fact be? Is someone’s name a […]

“Scribe succeeded scribe…”

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

I’ve been considering writing a post about the joys of old newspapers. If I had a dollar for ever chuckle I’ve gotten from ads for “Mrs. Bailey’s Liver Pills” and their myriad competitors in the apparently vast liver pill market, I would be a very rich indeed. Of course, there is so much information about […]

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