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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 […]

Urban, Ethnic America, The Irish Way

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

In American genealogy, unless you only have Native American blood, you will eventually run up against an immigrant. At least you probably hope to reach back in time however far as is needed. We all have roots elsewhere. Culturally, we even have roots in places where our ancestors never lived. Many of those physical roots […]

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 […]

Times Change

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Purely by coincidence I happen to be researching a family connected to the Salem Witch Trials. Honestly it has nothing to do with the approach of Halloween. I’ll confess that I’m writing about them now rather than later because of Halloween but that is another matter. I’m not going to write about the gory details […]

September 11

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Today we look back on a moment when America and much of the world went into shock. Just about everyone old enough to have understood remembers what they were doing and where they were when they heard the news. I was living in Sweden then. Because of the time difference it was late in the […]

A Visit to the Old World

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

A neighbor and I just took a small herd of kids to one of my favorite living history sites, Old World Wisconsin. I’ve probably been there more than a half a dozen times over the years and like any good bit of living history, you learn something new every time if you keep your eyes […]

Interview with Dad

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Back in March, I wrote about a wonderful conversation I had over the phone with my dad. I was looking at a Sanborn map that showed the neighborhood where he was born. I had a few questions about it for a presentation I was preparing and thought I would give him a quick ring. I […]

Reconstructing the Post-War World

Monday, April 25th, 2011

This is the last of a three part look at the Civil War 150 years after it began. The first part was The Census Goes to War the second part can be found at Seven Score and Ten. The aftermath of the war brought a wealth of genealogical information in the form of pension applications. […]

Seven Score and Ten

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

(This is the second part of a three part series. You can find the first part at The Census Goes to War.) I admit that I am fascinated by the Civil War. The scale was so far beyond anything America had known before. In the two days of the Battle of Shiloh, more Americans fell […]

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