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Myth and Meaning

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Can You Ever Really Return?

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

I was just looking back over the post I wrote almost exactly a year ago. I had taken a twenty mile bike ride with my daughter and written about how the speed we traveled and the nature we saw made me think about how my ancestors would have seen this part of the country as […]

Immortality, Genealogy and Technology

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Two things happened to me the other day that prompted some thinking. I heard an ad for a BBC radio play about a fictional meeting between Thomas Edison and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Edison wished to record the aged Tennyson reciting some of his famous poems, such as The Charge of the Light Brigade. Tennyson wavered […]

Life, Death and Genealogy

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

This week, true to the name of the blog, I’ll be meditating. It has been a busy week. I’m working on several projects, gave a talk and have three more coming up that need preparation. I attended a genealogy get-together at our library, have an article for a quarterly to write and on Wednesday I […]

Personal Provenance

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

I’m taking a break from thinking about the nature of research this week to think about something else. Where do things get there value? Part of the value of something clearly comes from the value of the raw materials and the cost of the labor that went into making it. Part of the value of […]

Quirks of Fate

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Do you ever think about the occurrences that made you possible? It would be a very, very long list. What if you just concentrate on the odd ones—things with really low probability or very extreme outcomes that are just plain out of the ordinary? What strange things needed to happen to make you possible? I’ve […]

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 […]

Cleaning my Desk

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

I just ran across a scrap of paper as I cleaned out some boxes. I’m not sure when I wrote it, though it was sometime before moving back to the U.S. from Sweden a couple years ago. At the time, I was intending to start this blog at some point after the move and I’m […]

Genealogy Without Documentation Is…

Friday, September 18th, 2009

You may have run across a phrase something along the lines of “Genealogy without documentation is mythology.” It is a nice catchphrase and it certainly is out to make an important point but I must admit that I don’t care for it all that much. Myth First, I think our catchphrase is rather disparaging to […]

Humans as Storytellers

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Human beings tell stories. We can’t help it. That is how we order our world—in narratives. We tell stories about ourselves, our family and our friends. Some stories lose their interest after days, months or years while others become favorites we tell our whole lives. It is those that become the stories children hear over […]

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