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Connected

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

When everything is connected to everything else, for better or for worse, everything matters. Bruce Mau I ran into that quote a few days ago. Bruce Mau is a designer and architect, not a genealogist, but this is one of those concepts that genealogist need to consider. We often think about researching an ancestor. We […]

Crumbs & Threads

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

I think there is a certain beauty in hanging by a thread. So often research fades out. We try harder and harder to find just that little bit more about that one mysterious ancestor. We might turn up a crumb here and a crumb there. Nothing dramatic but a few minor, if pleasant, details of […]

A Face in the Crowd

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Oftentimes we research honed in on a single person. That is the genealogical norm. True, many of us have multiple ongoing bits of research but we are still researching individuals, one here, one there but individuals nonetheless. Any one person comes into focus sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Sometimes that way of working takes us nowhere. […]

Working at Cross Purposes

Monday, July 27th, 2015

I’ve been reading the book How Not to be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, by Jordon Ellenberg. Toward the end of the book, he briefly picked up one of my favorite themes, working to disprove hypotheses.  He started of with a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald- The test of a first-rate intelligence is the […]

Uncertainty 

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Being unsure is a pretty common thing in genealogy. It is an inherent part of research to be uncertain and to work to reduce the uncertainty. One of the things that can go wrong in research is to forget to have doubts. Usually the uncertainty we have is because we suspect we might have the […]

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 […]

Meaning and Intent

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Genealogists deal with information—gathering, analyzing, transmitting and preserving. Often that information isn’t in an easy to use form. Maybe it’s in a foreign language written in Gothic script. The ink has faded. The words are abbreviated and just for fun let’s say it uses an outdated calendar and archaic place names. The meaning you give […]

What Time Was It? Surprise!

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

The bombers were enormous. They left their bases in Germany and set their courses for London. As they advanced toward the the British coast by night, operators stood ready at their dishes, waiting to detect their approach and call out the fighters. The early raids proved unstoppable but eventually the British pilots learned to bring […]

Discoveries

Monday, October 13th, 2014

This is a day when we think about the discovery of the New World. It is a good time to think about the meanings of discovery. There are probably places where the question “Who discovered America?” could provoke a fight or at least start a heated argument, because there are several possible answers. Paleo-Indians The […]

Are Answers “Out There”?

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Whenever we have a problem, a logical thing to wonder is if the solution is “out there”? Depending on the problem, that question can be deeply philosophical and here we can really only skim the surface. Back in my days as a grad student in physics that was something that would come up in late-night […]

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