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It’s 10 p.m. Do You Know Where You Are Researching?

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

When I lived in France and before I had kids, I had a large map of Europe that I mounted on a sheet of corrugated cardboard. I had it hanging on the wall and every time I visited a new place, I stuck a pin into that spot. To add a bit of information, I […]

Sign Here Please

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Today when we think of autograph books, we think of a fan holding a book in one hand and a pen in the other, arms outstretched toward some celebrity. Having one of those once owned by your grandmother might tell you something about her tastes at one stage of her life but it wouldn’t really […]

Leave No Document Unturned

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

The other day a client whose Swedish ancestry I’ve been investigating asked me to take on a project researching in Norwegian records. Norwegian research isn’t something I’d done before except for a document here or there but with that full disclosure, I said I would take a look. Getting into new records is always interesting. […]

Records Evolve

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Records evolve. Some records are created to preserve specific information. These certainly change over time. Go far enough back in time and death records might not give the cause of death, something you expect to see today. Other records are created to gather statistics. These, it seems, evolve much faster. If one simply wants to […]

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 […]

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