ABCs of Family History: B

B… is forĀ boat. Boats are synonymous with the classic immigration story, which teaches us that immigration is more than just physical movement – it’s an emotional journey where identities evolve and family narratives are rewritten. As such, it’s important for the family historian to look to passenger lists and other boat records to understand the […]

ABCs of Family History: A

A… is forĀ ahnentafel. Yes, it’s German. Literally translated as “ancestor table,” an ahnentafel is a simple yet compact way to depict one’s family history. And it can be done without diagrams or the typical family tree structure. This makes an ahnentafel the preferred way to present genealogical information when schematics are limited or impractical (e.g., […]

Cause of Death: Senility?

Lately I’ve been obsessed with death certificates. Apparently, I’m not alone. A recent family history trend involves mapping causes of death within a particular line and noting patterns. Whether it be cancer or heart disease, such patterns pave the way for more detailed family medical histories. As you probably know, death certificates often use archaic […]

Named After A U.S. President

The other day I noticed an interesting trend in my family tree: ancestors named after U.S. presidents. For example, there is my third great uncle George Washington Crum (1853-1942). Today, however, I want to focus on my fourth great uncle Andrew Jackson Allred. Andrew Jackson Allred (1831-1899) Andrew Jackson Allred was born on February 12, […]

Discovering Mental Illness In Your Family Tree

People are generally reluctant to discuss the less desirable aspects of family history. This is particularly true when it comes to mental illness. First of all, the topic is incredibly complex, and most of us do not fully understand the ins and outs of mental health. Secondly, we fear the genetic implications of mental illness. […]