Monthly Archives: March 2017

DNA: A speeding genealogy locomotive

Published March 21, 2017

In courtrooms across the country, they call it the “CSI effect,” after the popular “Crime Scene Investigation” franchise of TV shows that create the impression that for every crime there is scads of forensic evidence waiting to be analyzed by cutting-edge scientific tools. In the family history world, it’s the “DNA effect” and it shows …

Back to the beginning!

Published March 16, 2017

Thursday night I had a chance for an “old home night” by paying a brief visit to the Berks County Genealogical Society in Reading, PA. The speaker for the evening was going to be the first president of the society, Laurel Miller, who was the person who taught me so much during my formative years …

“Roots & Branches” rarely wades into political waters and, actually, even though the column will mention some folks in government, it’s merely for example and not meant as political. When Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson called African-Americans brought in bondage to North America “immigrants” with hopes and dreams, he created a bit of …

When a “name” means nothing

Published March 10, 2017

It’s a compliment when other professional genealogists come to you for advice … especially when you’re able to answer the question! Rich Venezia, one of the very best genealogists for Italian research, occasionally come to me (virtually) for advice on records written in German cursive script that he encounters in client searches. Such was the …

Take back the SSDI!

Published March 7, 2017

Just about any time to you want to find an appropriately cynical quote about something that has gone awry, the late H.L. Mencken will come to your rescue. In the case of what genealogists call the Social Security Death Index (but to its producer, the Social Security Administration, is known as the “Death Master File,” …