The novel I couldn’t write

As I began piecing together the narrative that now runs through this site, I had pondered aspects of presenting the story as a large-scale novel. It’s an idea I long ago discarded. Any structure itself would be problematic. Trying to span eight to 12 generations quickly sprawls out of focus. How many characters can you […]

I know they wouldn’t have approved

Trying to flesh out the personalities of our ancestors can be difficult. Given our obsession of collecting birth dates and the like, I’ve sometimes wondered just what astrologers would do with the data. They would say their findings would be limited by our lack of a precise hour and minute of birth, but that wouldn’t […]

Arising in ministry or perhaps other business

Sometimes our genealogical findings help advance a larger understanding. In Quaker history, with its emphasis on lay ministry (there was no paid clergy), some individuals were encouraged to travel as ministers throughout the Society of Friends. These journeys could take up to two-and-a-half years, spanning both sides of the Atlantic. In my research, Robert Hodgson […]

Once details begin to connect

It’s easy to overlook details that don’t fit the picture as you see it, but don’t rule out their importance. Over time, you may find they point you in a whole new direction and open some unexpected vistas. With Orphan George, for instance, I’d been sent some Chester County tax records as well as two […]