Recovering the Gunn lineage

I don’t have any known Gunn ancestry but I got interested in them a lifetime ago. Someone at the Family History Center in Salt Lake City suggested the Swanstroms, if they were originally Scottish, might have been Gunns. Actually, I think the idea was that the Swanstroms absolutely, positively had to be Gunns for a … Read more

Siting a New House

“A place for a new house was chosen carefully. In Central Serbia, it was believed that the best place to build the house on was the one which a flock of sheep chose as it’s resting place.“ Read More: “New house“, Old European culture (Jan. 16, 2019).

Syncretic Religious Practices

Listening to Benebell Wen on religious syncretism. If you don’t already know, this is a thing. There’s this: “The fixation with reconstructing the past and correlating authenticity with history or even specific [sic] the color of your skin or even your DNA is a fascinating conversation . . . .” Syncretic Religious Practices | Bell Chimes In #4 at … Read more

Post-Christian America

My sense from talking to our customers is that there is trend toward post-Christian America that is likely to be vaguely pagan, but not exactly pagan in the way my generation (Boomers) might think of it. “I’ve become interested in books and arguments that suggest that there actually is, or might be, a genuinely post-Christian … Read more

Jews in the New World, II

We’ve seen this idea, now very common, that many Hispanos in the American Southwest have crypto-Jewish ancestry. The evidence for this exotic ancestry is weak. The story seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon, and there is some reason to believe it might have its roots in the 19th and 20th century Seventh Day Adventists. … Read more


Having just finished writing about tomatoes, I couldn’t find a place to sneak a quick bit about cantaloupes. Talking to Mom yesterday, she was reminiscing about how much Daddy liked salt on everything. And he didn’t much like sugar because when he was growing up he drowned in sweets from his German mother. That’s why … Read more


Laura and I don’t like tomatoes. Is it genetic? Probably not. It does, however, puzzle Mom. Mom loves tomatoes. She told me yesterday that when she was pregnant with me she craved them. Her dad would buy them for her. She learned to eat them in sections, so they didn’t drip. I joked that maybe … Read more

Jews in the New World

An article in The Atlantic caught my attention. We’re going ’round again with conversos and crypto-Jews, and once again the fantasy is just as stronger or stronger than the proved reality. In 1492 Ferdinand and Isabella ordered all Jews in Spain to convert to Catholicism or leave the kingdom. Those who converted became known as … Read more

Gollop, of Strode

I was pleased and surprised tonight to check Feedly and discover an article by Stephen Plowman. Now there’s a familiar name. The article is Armorial Bearings of Gollop of Strode. Another familiar name. Like many Americans with ancestry in Colonial New England, I’m descended from Capt. John Gallop (c1593-1650), an early settler at Boston. His … Read more


“In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.” ― Eric Hoffer