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You Never Know Who Is Hiding in those Details

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Yesterday, I was looking at a roll of microfilm. All I was trying to do was locate a will and get a list of grandchildren that I thought I would find there. This will I knew would be buried in the minutes of town council meetings. Eventually, after stumbling upon a few useful tidbits in […]

Making History

Monday, September 27th, 2010

History is a fluid thing. The past is whatever was once the present—whatever once happened. The past does not change but history changes. New evidence is found. Old evidence is reevaluated, old biases are removed and new ones often take their place. We may overemphasize something to correct for all the years it was ignored. […]

Researching to the Oldies

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

I think almost every genealogist has or will have at least some interest in the lives of ancestors that goes beyond learning the facts necessary to find the next ancestor. For me their music is one of those aspects of their lives that holds a special fascination. I’ve always loved old music. One CD I […]

What’s Hiding in a Place?

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Though we think of hope as something for the future and memory as something of the past, they are entwined and entangled. Our dreams are imprinted by our past and our memories are shaped by our desires. Hope springs eternal, so the saying goes, and eternity is not only the future, it also includes the […]

Migration Routes for City Dwellers

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Being a “modern person” means many things. One of them seems to be being as independent as possible of the forces of nature. That is nothing new, after all you could say that putting a roof above your head is a separation from nature and people have been doing that for a very long time. […]


Monday, June 21st, 2010

It seems that whenever my family travels, I find some tie to our family history. When my wife mentioned wanting to see something of Minnesota, I said, “Fine, I know just where I want to go.” Luckily our children all enjoy historical buildings and living history. This time my place of pilgrimage was Fort Snelling. […]

A Memory Trip Down Any Lane

Monday, June 14th, 2010

A few days ago, I was chatting with an architect and he mentioned how useful Sanborn Maps are for historical preservation. I said something about having looked at them and we chatted a bit more and I started describing some details that I’d seen in the maps. Eventually, I could tell something suddenly clicked. He […]

Memorial Day

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Memorial Day has just come and gone. I took my kids for a bike ride to the nearby cemetery. There, four of their great-grandparents, one great-great-grandparent and several of their great aunts and uncles lie buried. The main family plot is easy enough for me to find but one of my uncles is buried elsewhere […]

Family Stories, Ethnic Traditions and Easter Witches

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

This last Thursday, my children did what they always do on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter). They put on old skirts and aprons. They each put their hair up in a kerchief. They each got a basket, a toy cat and a broom. With a little makeup they became “Easter Witches.” Then they did […]

That Flash of Recognition

Monday, March 29th, 2010

I suppose everyone has had the experience of learning something new and suddenly that little fact seems to pop up everywhere. That experience has just happened to me again, so I’ve been inspired to write about it. A few posts back I wrote about This Republic of Suffering, about death and dying in mid-nineteenth century […]

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