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Passing 

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

I took another week off from blogging last week against my instincts, but it felt like the thing to do. My father’s fading came to an end. He passed away just before Father’s Day. I had thought I would have one last Father’s Day with him, but that was not to be. Of course, even […]

Fading

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

It had been a long time since I have missed my regular weekly post, if I ever have, but last week I missed. There is a reason. Life, or rather the end of life, takes priority. Four and a half years ago, my father realized that his memory was just starting to fade and wrote […]

Gaps in the Curb

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

Just yesterday I was driving home from a presentation and I passed where an aunt of mine once lived. Now you can only guess that people once lived there. The house is gone and nothing has replaced it. The land is covered by grass and a scatter of trees but, on closer inspection, the empty […]

Forgetting

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Recently, a project of mine ended before it even began. The person who was to be the beneficiary, and from whose memories the project was to begin, only wanted to forget. It happens, of course, but it’s a sad thought, to be brought up in a way that one only wants to forget. No one […]

The Forgotten Plague

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

By the dawn of the nineteenth century, the disease had killed one in seven of all people that had ever lived. That is a statement that will catch one’s attention. I heard it at the opening of a recent edition of American Experience. The disease in question is tuberculosis, or, as we often read in […]

Funhouse Mirror Memories

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Nearly all genealogy begins with memories—your memories, your cousins memories, your great aunt Gertrude’s memories. Someone’s family recollections peak someone else’s interest. Grandma gets interviewed. A notebook is filled with Uncle Ralph’s stories about his relatives when he was growing up and then when word gets out that you’re working on the family history, an […]

Memory’s Moorings

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

A remark in a recent program on PBS caught my attention. A woman who was born into an Amish community showed a picture of herself as a child. It should not exist. In her community you were not supposed to be photographed but she went to a school with non Amish students and so the […]

Memory Palace

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Every once in a while I hear someone make a comment about how they can only name people along a few generations of their ancestry even if they have researched a dozen generations. I find that there is something mesmerizing or perhaps meditative about turning a family tree over in one’s mind, running through the […]

The Genealogists’ Memory

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

A person’s memories are not created instantaneously. There is a process of assimilation. We think of our memories as if they are created by a recording device—formed instantly, perfectly and unalterably. That isn’t the way it actually works. Forming a memory starts in an instant but it can take a lifetime. Our collective memory works […]

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. […]

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