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The Tale is in the Tellings

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

“…as daylight began to dawn…a bloodcurdling yell of a large band…on ponies and firing at everyone that showed his head…” Poring over newspapers sometimes turns up something exciting. In this case, the news was not exactly fresh. It was not news. It was a recollection of something that had happened over thirty years before. It […]


Sunday, July 1st, 2012

The word leverage can be used in many ways. It means one thing in finance, another in social relationships. The original sense comes from engineering. It is simply the way in which a force can be made more effective through he use of a lever. At its simplest, a lever is a rigid rod that […]

Believe it or Not

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

“An eastern exchange remarks that Kansas first had border ruffians, then Indian massacres, then tornadoes, grasshoppers, prairie fires, drouth, potato bugs, the exodusters, horse thieves and prohibition and it only lacks a nice small-pox epidemic to complete the set.”
  I read that in a Kansas newspaper published in 1882. Perhaps it is not the most […]

Ignorance is Bliss

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

What is more important in research, what we know or what we don’t know? Learning something new in genealogy always leads to more questions than it answers. There is always more that we don’t know than what we know. Every bit of information leads to the hope that more details can be discovered. Finding a […]

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 […]

Old Time Compassion

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Genealogy can surprise us. We often get quite different perspectives on the people in our personal past from what we might have gotten had we lived in their day. I think it would be an unusual genealogist that didn’t at some point wish that they could journey back in time to meet an ancestor. Often […]

Learning and Imagining

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” -Albert Einstein That is an intriguing quote. When you first encounter it, that quote doesn’t have the feel of  something that a scientist, a pursuer of knowledge, would say. Surely, dreaming of polka-dotted unicorns is not what he was putting above knowledge. It isn’t really. There is more to […]

The Finding-Knowing Gap

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Across my office on a bookshelf, I have a book called The Knowing-Doing Gap. Not surprisingly, it is about the difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it. It is a book about management, not about genealogy but I was reminded of it the other day. What reminded me was a thought or […]

Researching the Undead

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

In a big project that I’ve been working on, there has been a large cast of supporting characters. People who weren’t goals of the research but who were necessary to the research. Now, as I work on the book that is based on that research, I’ve realized that I have left a few people hanging. […]

Path of Least Persistence

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

The next time you meet someone who is fairly new to research, try to notice what mode they are in. You just might be able to help them out a bit. By “mode,” I’m thinking of the classic optimist/pessimist difference that is contained in the old question about the glass—is it half-empty of half-full? Almost […]

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