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950 Hours, Almost One Hundred Years Ago

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Just about every year at this time, I write something about the First World War. The anniversary of the end of that horror is the reason that Veterans Day falls on the 11th of November. Last year, the last living veteran of the war died. Next year, July 28 will bring the one hundredth anniversary […]

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 […]

Household Archeology

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

A week or so ago and in a round-about way, I got a question about a memorial plaque found in the ceiling of an old house during renovation and it got me thinking about the things we find that tell a little story or present a little mystery about the the places where we live. […]

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 […]


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 […]

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 […]

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