- Maps provide another layer of knowledge
- Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009
- I'm a visual learner.
I learn best when I can picture the topic under discussion. When I want to learn about places I turn to maps. Maps provide visual tools that enable me to learn about a locality.
- Nicknames can offer clues to past culture
- Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009
- Nicknames complicate our searches. We come to know nicknames based upon shortened versions of given names, and we can usually "translate" such familiar diminutives. For example, we know that Peggy may (or may not) be short for Margaret, Molly for Mary, Chuck for Charles, and Kent for Kenneth.
- Memorial stones don't always offer solid proof
- Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009
- We make a lot of assumptions about our ancestors and their burials — oftentimes we’re wrong.
- Dual citizenship may be possible for Italians
- Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009
- The Totaros are now dual citizens of Italy and the United States. Lorenzo Totaro and Maria Guiseppa Labanca, Italian citizens born in Terranova di Pollino, Basilicata, immigrated in the 1890s and married in New York City Dec. 27, 1900.
- Time and tradition can burnish the facts
- Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009
- Sometimes researchers in different places have different ancestors who share a claim to fame. Can we determine which, if either, claim is valid?
- New York's 400th party is our party too
- Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009
- New Yorkers are having a party, and we're invited. The state celebrates 2009, and here's why: 400 years ago Henry Hudson captained a Dutch East India Company expedition up the river later named in his honor; Samuel de Champlain discovered the lake that bears his name; and 200 years ago Robert Fulton advanced transportation technology when he first traveled up the Hudson in his steamboat. You can follow anniversary events at the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Web site.
- Words matter; wield them with precision
- Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009
- "She's wonderful, she's marvelous, she's fabulous, she's beautiful."
So sang Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits as he was "Leaning on a Lamp Post" in 1966. Noone wasn't the first fellow to pine at the lamp post and wait for a certain little lady to come by. Noone's words reveal more about his vocabulary than they do about the object of his devotion. George Formby originally composed the song in 1942 for the musical, "Me and My Girl." Formby's more sophisticated phrasing follows: "Oh she's resolutely dutiful and super-strong and beautiful." His words conveyed more.
- Editing makes a difference
- Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009
- How do we know when our work is complete?
Our field's top genealogists preach about letting one's work age before performing final edits. That advice has helped me catch many sentences, paragraphs, and articles that do not say what I thought they did. When I don't take the time to edit work properly I usually regret it. Under the best circumstances I perform several types of edits before I call a written piece "final."
- Centenarian has seen a number of changes
- Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009
- Catharine Ryan of San Francisco will celebrate a century of living on Aug. 31.
- Tally marks can point us in right direction
- Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009
- Census takers named heads of household only in U.S. censuses from 1790 through 1840. They indicated members of each household by tally-marks according to age grouping, sex, and whether they were white or free blacks. We can use these census categories to follow families and migrations and estimate date ranges of death for parents and ranges of birth for male and female children. Joseph Allen, father of Leah and Mary Allen, demonstrates how tally-marks matter.
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