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While the Shutter is Closed

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Sometimes one hears that the census is like getting a snapshot of a family taken every ten years. The time between “exposures” does change from place to place but many countries have settled into the once per decade pattern. In the U.S. state censuses can sometimes be used to cut the time that the shutter […]

Nature vs Nurture

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

I’m getting ready to give a talk about understanding the use of DNA in genealogical research. It is one thing to just jump right into DNA. It is another to wrap your head around it. One thing I’ve realized is that I need to point out that there are two types parental role. There is […]

The Attrition of Facts

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

When I studied ancient history in this university many years ago, I had as a special subject “Greece in the period of the Persian Wars.” I collected fifteen or twenty volumes on my shelves and took it for granted that there, recorded in these volumes, I had all the facts relating to my subject. Let […]

Blessed are the Indexers

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Everyone loves a good index. Occasionally, we love to hate them but still have to confess that they are vital. These days when we think about an index, we usually think of a searchable database. When they are accurate they are wonderful because they allow us to find information based on a few things that […]

Genealogy on Little Cat Feet

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on. -Fog by Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems, 1916 Often in genealogy, one takes great, generation-long strides through the records. If there is census data, perhaps our strides that are merely a decade long. In small […]

950 Hours, Almost One Hundred Years Ago

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Just about every year at this time, I write something about the First World War. The anniversary of the end of that horror is the reason that Veterans Day falls on the 11th of November. Last year, the last living veteran of the war died. Next year, July 28 will bring the one hundredth anniversary […]

Watching for Bumps in the Road

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

One of the tricky things to deal with in any research is evidence that leads you astray. There are some things in genealogy to avoid some such problems. We try to understand how records are created and how imperfections might sneak in. The misinformed and distraught informant used to create a death certificate might not […]

Goals

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Sometimes in genealogy, life gets in the way.  Sad I know, but true. This will be a short post in honor of this week’s “living” a.k.a. flood recovery, a gas leak resulting in gutting the kitchen, two grade school band concerts, one little league practice, one soccer practice, one choir practice, one soccer game, four […]

Puzzles and Panoramas

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

One of the most common analogies for what genealogists do involves jigsaw puzzles. We say that we find the pieces and carefully fit them together to prove facts about people’s lives and the relationships between ancestors. Sometimes we even throw in the nasty little fact that the pieces that we find might not all belong […]

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 […]

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