January, 2007

The Dream

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood . . . . That’s a powerful line in one of the greatest oratories in American history–“I Have a Dream,” delivered by the …Continue reading →


The Basques

So I was watching Gunsmoke again (TVLand, check local listings), an episode called “Manolo.” In a settlement of sheep-raisers just outside Dodge City, a young man refuses to fight his father in order to establish his (the young man’s) manhood, as is the custom in their culture. As a result, the young man is effectively banished (indeed, with his consent) …Continue reading →


Fred Gets His Mail

Update: The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, reports: A letter that never made it to a 3-year-old Westmont boy 52 years ago finally is on its way. Frederick Zane Yost, now of Daytona Beach, Fla., soon should be able to open the missive mailed to him from Johnstown on Oct. 26, 1954, thanks to a family who lives in the home …Continue reading →


Yo, Fred! You’ve Got Mail!

When I saw the following, I had to try to solve the mystery myself: Pa. man receives letter postmarked October 1954 1/7/2007, 4:55 p.m. ET The Associated Press FERNDALE, Pa. (AP) — Brian McAteer got a big surprise when a letter arrived at his home a couple of weeks ago: Not only was it not addressed to him, it had …Continue reading →


Privacy, Public Records, and Genealogy

The beginning of a new year typically brings the effective date of new laws in many states. In the current era, many of these laws are intended to address privacy, identity theft, and security issues. Nobody will be surprised that on such important issues, legislators sometimes overreact. On the other hand, there are sometimes unintended consequences of well-intended laws. This …Continue reading →


The Genealogy of Language

What language did your ancestors speak? Are you sure? If you were transported in time and space to meet an ancient ancestor, how well would you be able to communicate? Would it matter that the ancestor supposedly spoke “English”? What is “English” anyway? Do Creoles speak pidgin? What does Mickey Mouse have to do with the development of language? I’ve …Continue reading →

January 2007
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