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A Ripple that Spread on this Side of the Pond

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

I just ran across a year-old copy of American Heritage magazine. It is a history magazine not a genealogy magazine but history and genealogy continuously impact each other. What has happened affected and was affected by the relationships between the people to whom it happened. In this particular issue (winter 2010) there are thirty-five articles […]

A Line to Draw the Time

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Timelines can be a great tool for genealogy. Timelines of general history give a quick overview and put events into their proper sequence. They can point out things in the sweep of history that may have influenced an ancestor. They can provide a quick-to-grasp framework for further understanding. Making your own timelines can crystallize thoughts […]

When Witches Said neither “Trick” nor “Treat”

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Now that my Star Wars and Harry Potter characters have gathered their last preHalloween harvest of candy corn and caramels and are fast asleep, I find my mind turning to a time when ghosts, goblins and witches were a much more serious business than my children’s Halloween costumes or a snaggletoothed grin on a jack-o-lantern. […]

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 […]

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