Yellacat Ranch Under a Western Sky

AuthorJustin Swanstrom

Writer - Historian - Genealogist

Denver’s Territorial Acknowledgment

I wrote about Canadian territorial acknowledgments a few weeks ago. I wondered about doing them in the U.S. Turns out Denver City Council already does one. Embarrassingly, it also turns out I was at the meeting (via Zoom) when they adopted it (October 26, 2020). I made a mental note to come back later and get the text, then forgot all about it. So, here it is. The Denver City Council honors and...

Led to Genealogy

I’ve never been quite sure whether I started doing genealogy in 1967 or 1968. What I remember is that it was an article in Reader’s Digest. It was at my aunt’s house in Heber City, Utah. I spent summers with them, so it had to be summer, probably before Labor Day when I usually went home to go back to school1. I waited until my parents came to get me, then asked my mom a zillion...

Territorial Acknowledgment

I’ve been think about the territorial acknowledgments they do in Canada. They open events and assemblies, particularly in urban and institutional spaces, with an acknowledgment that the land in that area is the the traditional homeland of the ___ people, and that it was ceded under the ___ treaty (or not ceded). We could use something like that in the United States. This is in my mind...

Catoneras, An Indian Princess

One of my ancestors on my dad’s side was an Indian princess. Well, sort of. If you know me I know that I’m a rigorist in these matters. There are no Indian princesses because the “Indians” didn’t have royal families. And, the vast majority of these claims are hokum anyway. But Catoneras is one of those rare exceptions. Jan Cornelissen Van Tassel and his sons attested...

Can People Have Names?

Yesterday’s post about names as performance got me to thinking. Somewhere on the periphery of memory I seemed to recall a paper about a medieval debate whether people can have names. And, sure enough, I found it: Rachel Anna Bauder. Naming Particulars: A Thirteenth-Century Debate on Whether Individuals Have Proper Names. PhD Dissertation, University of Toronto, 2016. (The original link at...

Name Performance

Are names performative? That’s a new idea for me. I came across it while reading a book by Abu El-Haj about the politics of Israeli archeology: The author “specifies for the first time the relationship between national ideology, colonial settlement, and the production of historical knowledge. She analyzes particular instances of history, artifacts, and landscapes in the making to show...

Garden Church of Eden

I always loved the Episcopalian church in Eden, Wyoming but I always thought it was called Garden Church of Eden. Guess not. I did a Google search and quickly found it’s really called Oregon Trail Memorial Church. I wonder if the name might have changed. My grandparents Harry Swanstrom and Vivian (Luce) Swanstrom didn’t belong to any of the local churches, although they contributed to...

Farson History

Here’s a brief article about the history of the Eden Valley. Staff Writer. “Eden Valley Wyoming; An Early History.” Wyo4News <wyo4news.com>. Nov. 5, 2017, retrieved Jan. 2, 2020. “The majority of the settlers came into the Valley in 1907 when a large scale irrigation project under the provision of the Carey Act funded by John M. Farson, Sons and Company came to the...

Harke Luce

Recapping: Harke Luse was named on a list of men able to bear arms at Scituate, Massachusetts in 1643 (Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, ed., Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, in New England (1857), 191). Beyond this nothing is known. Everything else stated in various sources in speculative. Charles Banks’ Theory Banks speculated the name “Harke” might have been a copyist’s...

New mtDNA Test

I decided recently to have a Full mtDNA test at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA). This is something I’ve been putting off. I had the HVR1 test at Oxford Ancestors in 1998, and another at FTDNA in 2007. In between, I also donated a blood sample to BYU. Those results ended up at the now defunct Sorenson Molecular Genetics (SMGF). I don’t have enough matches to make this more detailed test useful...

Yellacat Ranch Under a Western Sky
Justin Swanstrom

Justin Swanstrom

Made in America. Retired attorney. Bookseller at Shining Lotus. No Nazis in Valhalla. He/him.

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