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A Place is not Just a Place

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

One of the thoughts that occurs to me regularly is how tricky the word “place” can be. We use it without really thinking about what lies underneath. It seems like such a simple concept. I’m in one place as I write. You are in another as you read. Those places have names. They have latitudes […]

If April Showers Bring Mayflowers…

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

It is that time of year when children’s thoughts veer from pumpkins to Pilgrims to prancing hooves in rapid succession. Genealogical research won’t put a jack-o-lantern or a flying reindeer into their family trees but what about a Pilgrim? Through a child’s eyes, the level of reality is about the same and, even to many […]

Bait and Switch

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

I state the utmost force of the wild Yankees, as they are called, at 200 men They “came to her house and threatened to set fire to it. Being afraid for her life” she fled. When she returned “she found the roof tore off and the house plundered.” They “told me that my half hour […]

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 […]

Oh My! Oh Maya!

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Once again the world has failed to end on schedule. Now I guess I’d better write a blog post. I love calendars, I’m not equally fond of the end of the world. I love using calendar peculiarities to solve genealogical problems, I don’t like the thought of my data being engulfed by a sea of […]

Veterans

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Today we mark the anniversary of the end of The Great War, also known as The War to End All Wars. Before the the 1940s, it was The World War. Today we think about veterans. We think about the men and women, living and dead who served their country. As genealogists, we should be quicker […]

Observations on Mysteries

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

The title for this post is stolen with pride. I’ve been reading Believing is Seeing (Observations on the Mysteries of Photography), by the director Errol Morris. I knew I had to read the book after hearing several interviews with him that touched on his almost maniacal pursuit of the correct order of a pair of […]

Before the Titanic there was…

Friday, April 27th, 2012

There has been a lot of news lately about the hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Today, April 27, is actually the anniversary of the worst maritime disaster in American history. Worse even than the loss of life that night in 1912. Yet almost no one remembers it. Almost no one took notice […]

Personal Provenance

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

I’m taking a break from thinking about the nature of research this week to think about something else. Where do things get there value? Part of the value of something clearly comes from the value of the raw materials and the cost of the labor that went into making it. Part of the value of […]

Ancestral Steampunk

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

In the attic I have a small metal device that I inherited from my grandparents. It is a square box, open above and wider than it is tall. On top, there is a cage on hinged rods that run from the middle of the box to one side of the cage that allow the cage […]

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