In many families someone doesn’t quite fit the mold. After meeting my mother, a colleague asked, “What milk man brought you to the house?” He captured what I had always felt, that I was the family oddball, the outlier. Many children feel that at one time or another, but I had only to look in… Continue reading Outliers: Family History May Explain Why You’re the Oddball
I am preoccupied with the final editing of Gypsy and the Bird Man, a cultural family history. I wrote about my mother’s fund raisers and realized my memory lacked specifics. Then I remembered an online source that might help: http://www.Newspapers.com. Over the decades my least favorite part of research has been finding news articles. First… Continue reading Secondary Sources: Newspapers Online
Going to an archive or special collection? Learn the common practices.
Photographs are a Primary Source: evidence taken at the time of an event. They are wonderful for raising questions to provoke further research. But one has to be careful not to jump to conclusions. This photo is of my paternal ancestry, descendants of the Lisys who came over from Bohemia right after the Civil War.… Continue reading Photographs: Truth and Deception
You may have photographs like the one below. I found it at an antique store to use with for my students. What can you learn about the person? The clearest clue is the photographer’s studio location, Hutchinson, Kansas. From the hair style, lapel design, and the stiff collar, I put the date at early 1900s.… Continue reading Photographs: Finding a Life
While researching the family history for a friend, I hit a dead end on one line. The name was “Robert Kearney,” hardly a rare or unusual name. The name was on his daughter’s baptismal certificate. I found documents with “Robert Kearney,” but none pointed to the man I was searching. The dates did not line… Continue reading Confusing surnames: Spelling