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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 […]

The Census Goes to War

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

As the anniversary of the start of the American Civil War draws near, I thought I might write a post or two about the traces that war left in our documents. Why exactly the war was fought is, like many historical questions, more complex than people generally assume. Yet it is hard to escape the […]

A Measure of Confusion

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

One of those bits of reverse culture-shock that I have experienced since returning to the U.S. after twenty years abroad has to do with measurement. After years of only needing to think about the metric system’s factors of ten, it was time to try to remember all the factors of 3, 4, 6, 12, 16 […]

Taking Walks with the Census Taker and my Dad

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

I’ve been preparing a new talk about maps and one of the things I will discuss is using Sanborn Maps. I have the images for my father’s home town from a few years before he was born. I also have the census that was taken a few months after he came into the world. Censuses […]

Presidents’ Day

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

I started out to write a post about George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s families in honor of Presidents’ Day. I soon learned that just defining what is meant by “Presidents’ Day” is not so easy. Presidents’ Day The Federal holiday this Monday is officially called Washington’s Birthday, remembering his birthday of February 22nd. Oddly, when […]

A Tale of Three Blizzards

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Like many people in the central United States, I’ve spent the last few days digging out. Clearing two feet of snow is a workout. This storm was a few inches short of being the worst in Chicago’s history. That title still belongs to the Blizzard of ’67. One weather forecaster made an interesting observation in […]

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