History

Tolkien on History

“And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge.” ― Galadriel in J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Historiography

Eliade on Oral History

One more piece on oral history. I think this is probably the first place I encountered the basic idea that oral tradition tends to “improve the story”. Sometimes, though very rarely, an investigator chances to come upon the actual transformation of an event into myth. Just before the last war, the Romanian folklorist Constantin Brailoiu…

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…

Culture

Sublette County Wyoming

A video about the scenic beauty of Sublette County. That’s where my grandmother was born and raised. So many familiar names. Big Piney, Marbleton, Daniel, Cora, Pinedale, Boulder. Someday I’m going to take a couple of weeks to explore. Bridger Productions, Sublette County and Pinedale Wyoming, YouTube <youtube.com>, Nov. 12, 2012, retrieved Aug. 17, 2020.

Culture

South Pass City

Another Wyoming video. This is drone footage of South Pass City, one my favorite places. It’s a ghost town on the old Oregon Trail. I lived here in a past life. When I was a teenage boy in Grand Junction I had some very vivid dreams about dying here as a teenage boy in the…

Culture

Eden Bar

Here’s a very short video of the exterior of the Eden Bar in Farson, Wyoming. I must have driven by it a million times as a kid and a dozen times as an adult. It never stood out for me. I wouldn’t have thought I ever noticed it. I wouldn’t have thought of it without…

History

Farson Dig 1940

I don’t think I knew the Eden Point was named after Eden, Wyoming. I wondered, of course. My mom knew, though. Of course she did. She grew up at Farson. Here’s a video clip from a 1940/41 archaeological dig at Farson. The Pennsylvania Museum (University of Pennsylvania) conducted the dig at a site they named…