Posts Categorized: Uncategorized

German-language Bibles and their impact

Published October 16, 2017

I mentioned in passing a month ago in this column the wonderful presentation that Patrick Donmoyer, director of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, made at a genealogy conference at Kutztown University. The lecture was centered upon the evolution and meaning of German-language Bibles published in Europe and America and had some interesting takeaways for …

A few years ago, I received an e-mail from an author named Ann Marie Ackermann who was living in Germany and needed some research done at the Pennsylvania State Archives. The assignment was intriguing: Gottlob Rueb, the man for whom she was searching, had killed the mayor of a town in southern Germany before fleeing …

There are times in a genealogist’s life when you may well feel like you are not only documenting past ancestors but find yourself in “the history” of others in your family. I encountered this recently when I received a welcome e-mail from my cousin Ron Machmer. Of course, I’ve written a bit on the Machmers …

The generations living today are undoubtedly the most documented people “in” history. Well, at least for the moment, but not necessarily “for” history. Of course, I’m thinking about the ubiquitous “lunch shots” posted on Facebook but, seriously, is there anyone who doesn’t have a question they’d like to ask of a deceased friend or relative? …

Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society conference

Published September 18, 2017

Coming up on Oct 14, your “Roots & Branches” columnist will share the speaking stage with Sharon Cook MacInnes of Ancestor Tracks at the fall conference of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society at Wyndham Garden Hotel in York. MacInnes will present “Keystone Records in the Keystone State” and “Migration Patterns of Germans in America.” She’s a …

Clean up that cemetery!

Published September 14, 2017

A number of years ago, I received an e-mail from Ted Kinnari about a cleaning solution that did a great job of taking crud off tombstones without harming them. He was nice enough to send me some samples, with I used on an ancestor’s blackened memorial. After letting the D/2 do its job – it …

Column No. 1,000: Looking back … and ahead!

Published September 11, 2017

This is the 1,000th weekly “Roots & Branches” column. If you do the math, you’ll figure out that this also means the column is entering its 20th year of publication in various newspapers. That 20-year mark brought to mind a 2013 article from the online magazine The Verge that was evocatively titled “Who am I? …

Foodways and family history

Published September 5, 2017

I’ve heard folkways involving what you eat called “foodways.” And as someone who definitely lives b my stomach, the foodways of my youth take on some extra importance. Of course, whne I talk about “the food of my youth,” the first thing that should be said is that I was widely said to be “sneaky,” …

Indexing, once solitary, now draws a crowd

Published August 27, 2017

You know you’re due for another one of those feelings of “how long you’ve been doing this” when seeing two articles about “crowd-sourced” indexing appear in one edition of the Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter hits you with a wave of nostalgia. That’s because I remember genealogy indexing before crowd sourcing. Before computers, even. I remember …

Making August ‘Family Bible Month’

Published August 22, 2017

OK, so I’ll admit that I sometimes get weary of the seemingly infinite designations such as French Fries Day or Quilt Week or Fruit Fly Awareness Month. Now, no offense is intended for the many more serious designations, and I do have to say that a recent electronic newsletter from the folks at Just a …