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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 […]

Devils in the Details

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Last week, I was starting to investigate a client’s family story. It was remembered as a case of manslaughter, though not in so many words. It was supposedly committed by a man who married into the family that I was researching. It turned out to involve death threats, a brutal, premeditated murder and the prospect […]

It Is Almost 1940

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

It is not without some trepidation that I sit down to enter the world of 1940 census blogging. So much has already been written that I’m somewhat afraid of boring the already over-informed. On the other hand, I love to explore the census and to write nothing before April 2, simply seems wrong. In Case […]

Tax Time

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Like so many others in the U.S. I’ve been working on my taxes. It is that time of year. As a family historian, my mind naturally drifts to a time before TurboTax, stacks of receipts even before real tax forms. When Congress approved the first ever income tax during the American Civil War, it was […]

You Never Know Until You Ask

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Last week I asked a cousin if she had some pictures that had belonged to her mother, my Aunt Melva, who recently passed away. My cousin’s husband said, “Oh I have those scanned and put on CD. Do you want one? I can get it to you next week.” Yes, I certainly did want one. […]

Is it Ever as Simple as it Looks?

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Human beings are complicated. We all know that. We’re well aware of the complexity of our own lives, of our own times. We often think that life was simple and uncomplicated before. Part of it is that we were all children once and after we’ve blocked out the hard parts of growing up we’re left […]

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