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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. […]

Tall Tales

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

When I started being interested in my family history one of the things my aunt taught me was that sometimes family stories turn out to be wrong. It was an easy lesson for her to teach. The family story that had most fascinated me was something that she proved to be untrue. That story had […]

Rest in Peace

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

This is, even now, not an easy post to write. When I wrote a genealogical obituary for my Aunt Melva, I was saddened but not surprised that her time had come. No one expected my father-in-law to be proclaimed terminally ill or that he would be gone so fast. Our youngest daughter had traveled to […]

Conserving Ancestors

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

A few weeks ago I was looking at a photograph with a client. It isn’t your ordinary snapshot. It measures about one foot by three feet. It is also about one hundred years old. It also had a problem. It has been rolled up in a cardboard tube for decades and is now both a […]

The Two Deaths

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

The other day I ran across a new concept that I’ve thought about many times before. I suppose the right way to put it is that I heard it put in a new way. I also heard it in French and that always seems to make a thought sound profound. (Unless, of course, French is […]

The Tale is in the Tellings

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

“…as daylight began to dawn…a bloodcurdling yell of a large band…on ponies and firing at everyone that showed his head…” Poring over newspapers sometimes turns up something exciting. In this case, the news was not exactly fresh. It was not news. It was a recollection of something that had happened over thirty years before. It […]

“Family Time” the Genealogist’s Way

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Have you ever noticed how differently we perceive time? Every circumstance implies its own meanings for “a long time ago” and “recently.” Every human activity has different ways of measuring time. A cosmologist might consider a billion years to be a brief period. For a particle physicist a nanosecond (one billionth of a second) can be […]

DNA 2.0

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

For years now genealogists have been interested in genetics. DNA testing can help us solve genealogical puzzles. It can tell us about unknown relatives. It can give us insight into ethnicity. Sometimes it proves that there is something wrong in our paper trail. Sometimes it shows that our research in the records is likely to […]

Rated G or Rated OMG

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

I find that family stories often take multiple forms as they are preserved. It reminds me of one of the truly strange things that one learns in physics—that a subatomic particle can take more than one path to its destination. It seems truly bizarre. Yet it is fairly easy to show, though it does require […]

The Genealogist’s Memory

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Sometimes things just come together and force a post to be written. Last week I wrote about some stories of a man’s descent from some famous members of the Putnam family of Salem Village. None of those stories turned out to be true in the sense that he was not descended from any of the […]

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