Recording maiden names in genealogy

The so-called “genealogy standard” is to use birth names for everyone, even in cultures where it doesn’t make sense. The “encylopedic standard” makes more sense. As a mental shorthand, I think of it as “best known as”. For example: Cokayne [formerly Adams], George Edward (1825–1911), genealogist, born at 64 Russell Square, London, on 29 April 1825, … Read more

Maiden names and aliases

“In England, as well as in France and other continental nations, down to the seventeenth century, married women and widows not infrequently retained their maiden names, generally, however, with an alias ; and in certain parts of Scotland and Wales, such persons still sign by their maiden name in legal documents, even though described in them … Read more

Toba Eruption

I don’t follow closely, but one of the truisms of human genetics has been the impact of the Toba Eruption. DNA studies seem to show modern humans are descended from a smaller than expected number of people. We seem to have lost some of the genetic diversity we would be expected to have. One possible … Read more

Rachel (Roberson) Horne

Rachel Roberson has consumed a lot of my genealogical research time. She is supposed to have been Indian, or perhaps part Indian. I’ve wanted to find some answers but now years of research have given me so much information it seems almost impossible to say anything helpful. She was Rachel (Roberson) Horne (1847-1944), my grandmother’s … Read more

Were They Pawnee?

According to a tradition current among some of my cousins, my great great grandmother Rachel (Roberson) Horne (1847-1944) was Pawnee. I don’t think so. Nothing else points in that direction. I asked my grandmother Evelyn (Horn) Miller one year at Powwow about our Indian ancestry. She said she had always assumed they were Pawnee. A … Read more

When Grandma Ran Away

Grandma Vivian (Luce) Swanstrom ran away from home when she was 25. Her parents had great ambitions for her, but she had other ideas. They sent her to finishing school in Denver, but she didn’t like it. She came home to the ranch at Big Piney after the first semester, and refused to go back. … Read more

Jewish Khazars

Are Ashkenazi Jews descended from the Khazars? It’s a hot question. Many people, both Jews and non-Jews, have thought so, but nowadays it has become anti-Semitic to say it. I’m not exactly sure when it became taboo to question scientific research. At one time, many years ago, I thought Arthur Koestler made a slam-dunk case … Read more

Online trees

Are online trees worth it? I’m not so sure. I was a volunteer curator at for many years but ultimately left because of the breathtaking incompetence of some of my fellow curators (as well as a pervasive homophobia). The strongest and most vocal users are often those peddling fantasy. It wouldn’t have to be … Read more

Genealogical Standards

Reflecting on genealogical standards. This is an area that could use a lot of work, maybe get some modernization going. I’m not optimistic. Seems like genealogists as a whole are not a self-reflective bunch. The rules are the rules and we’ll burn you as a heretic if you don’t agree. I’m not sure entering place … Read more

Land Back: Settler FAQ

A lot of people are saying #LandBack. The idea seems to be settlers should give back the land their ancestors stole. I hear about it more from Canadians than Americans, but the idea is circulating in both countries. I’m listening, politely I hope, but I’m not really sure about what I’m hearing. How far do … Read more