Recent Posts

Read a Random Post




Urban, Ethnic America, The Irish Way

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

In American genealogy, unless you only have Native American blood, you will eventually run up against an immigrant. At least you probably hope to reach back in time however far as is needed. We all have roots elsewhere. Culturally, we even have roots in places where our ancestors never lived. Many of those physical roots […]

A Line to Draw the Time

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Timelines can be a great tool for genealogy. Timelines of general history give a quick overview and put events into their proper sequence. They can point out things in the sweep of history that may have influenced an ancestor. They can provide a quick-to-grasp framework for further understanding. Making your own timelines can crystallize thoughts […]

Daughter’s of the Union

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

I think that one of the most important “techniques” in genealogy is the study of history. Often that means studying both time’s nooks and crannies and its large semi-explored regions. After all, our ancestors may have been swept along in vast historical currents but they were also specific people, with specific backgrounds, living in specific […]

Only a Few Bones

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

“…they burned the house to the ground! With the people inside! It was terrible!” When he was a teenager, John Phillip Colletta’s Grandma Ring told the him the tale of the death of her own grandfather. It was a gruesome tale of a small but deadly slave uprising, murder and arson. It also wasn’t strictly […]


Sunday, November 1st, 2009

On a family trip over the Columbus Day weekend, I thought I’d bring along a good book that didn’t relate to genealogy or even history. It turns out that I failed miserably. The book was certainly fascinating but it also kept me thinking about the Personal Past. The book was Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. On page […]

Memphis, 1878

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

I just finished reading one of those books that can open the eyes to a bit of history that is not so well known. The title of the book, The American Plague, refers to the disease yellow fever. Like many diseases that no longer torment us, we don’t realize the justifiable horror that our ancestors […]

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 […]