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Genealogy Day

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Sure, we already have Family History Month in October but as my kids have pointed out to me lately, to be cool now, your activity needs to have a specific day with a funny connection to what it is supposed to celebrate. For example, earlier this month, grammarians celebrated grammar day on March 4. They […]

Hinting at the Facts

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting. —Henry David Thoreau Reading old genealogical works can be an almost mystical experience. Not mystical with a capital “M” as in a […]

Oh My! Oh Maya!

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Once again the world has failed to end on schedule. Now I guess I’d better write a blog post. I love calendars, I’m not equally fond of the end of the world. I love using calendar peculiarities to solve genealogical problems, I don’t like the thought of my data being engulfed by a sea of […]

Home Away from Home

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

The other day I heard a book mentioned. The title was At Home in the Universe.  There are two books by that title and I have no way of knowing which one had been mentioned but it struck me as an interesting title. Home can mean many things, where you grew up, where you live […]

Culture Time!

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

How we mark time can be a very cultural thing. Today we think of June as the month for weddings. In the Irish parish registers that I have been reading of late, the weddings just pile up one on top of the other, but not in June, in February. Then nothing for weeks. Lent had […]

“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 […]

The First Sunday After… What?

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Last week I finished blogging about the Civil War but Easter occurred last week and I gave a talk about calendars. Here are a few thoughts that lead to why Easter matters so much to our calendar and why you may not really know when an ancestor was born. We live with three basic celestial […]

Happy (Old) New Year

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I assume that everyone doing British or British Colonial research is getting ready for New Year’s Eve. It’s time to uncork another of those pre1752 bottles you have hidden away, put on your homemade tri-cornered party hat and get together with fellow genealogists. Ok, maybe not, but the fact that New Year’s Day is coming […]

Auld Lang Time

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

New Year’s Eve is the proper moment to contemplate time. There is nothing logical in this. There is no great discontinuity in anything but our calendar as the clock strikes twelve but the feeling is right. All the better if eyes are bathed, as mine are now, in the ancient light of far away stars. […]

Ye Olde Google Maps

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

I was just catching up on the Sunday paper (yes, it is Wednesday, I’ve been a bit busy). The Chicago Tribune ran a story entitled Google Maps inexplicably mixes Chicago’s past, present. It turns out that there are more than a few anachronisms lurking in Google Maps. Some of the places labeled on Google’s version […]

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