Genealogy

Genealogy

Tartan Scarf

I was thinking what I could do to treat myself right now. I’ve been a good and obedient citizen during the pandemic. I knew immediately–all winter, every morning when I put on a coat and scarf to go out, I think it’s odd that I don’t have a tartan scarf. At my age. Imagine. My…

Genealogy

I Was 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…

Genealogy

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…

Genealogy

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…

Genealogy

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…

Genealogy

More Gunns

I’ve written about the Gunns before: Recovering the Gunn Lineage (Jan. 31, 2019), so we already know I’m an admirer of Alastair Gunn and his work putting the Gunn lineage on a firmer footing. I still haven’t done the work of cleaning up my own notes. Some day. Soon. I promise. I saw recently on…

Genealogy

More Oral History

Here’s another story to illustrate the malleability of oral history. We should not trust our family stories, but always look behind them for ways they might have been elaborated over time. This story comes from Mircea Eliade, a Romanian historian. “Sometimes, though very rarely, an investigator chances to come upon the actual transformation of an…

Genealogy

Naming Conventions

One of the canards of genealogy is that professional genealogists always prefer the earliest recorded name. The idea is that name is the most authentic. More or less true, but not quite, not always. William Shakespeare, for example. You think you know his name? His baptismal record, the earliest in a scant collection, calls him Gulielmus…

Genealogy

Almost Métis

I used to think my dad’s ancestors were Métis. They’re not, but I ended up with a seemingly permanent interest. The Métis are a Canadian group, a mixture of Anglos and Indians from the area between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains. Not all mixed-race people in Canada are Métis, just the ones where…

Genealogy

Anglo-Saxon Genealogies

“Germanic pre-Christian ideas of ancestry wouldn’t necessarily be totally intuitive to a modern person looking back.“ This is a favorite topic of mine. I rarely pass up a chance to point out others who agree with me. Here, Simon Roper. The old, poetic genealogies handed down by our remote ancestors “were probably not completely reflective…