I've long been a fan and user of the physical Allen County Public Library, and this venture looks like a great way to share information.

I love the thrill of the chase... the way new information can transform everything I thought I knew, including what before were meaningless details... re-learning history from the bottom up... telling the stories... getting to put them all in some systematic order... and the chance to share the facts and the fun.

So many relatives, so little time!

Now then, if you have any idea where my great-great grandfather Robert Henderson came from before he was a carpenter and joiner in Edinburgh in 1826 -- or whereabouts in or near Oldham, Lancashire, my wife's great-great grandfather William Scholes was born circa 1814 -- then we can really get down to business!

Publications and Blog

The Flint-Thrall Letters (2002)

From England to St. Clair via New Orleans: William and Mary Gedney Flint (2003)

From the First Industrial City to the Wisconsin Frontier: William Scholes (2005)

Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog [1] (2008)

1966 Reunion of the Pittsburgh Central High School Class of 1911 Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly 34(4):26-36 (2008)

Family stories

Most of us will be remembered by just one story — and it may not be the one we’d want people to be telling in the 2100s!

Most of the people featured here lived in the northeastern quarter of what is now the US, and before that in England, Wales, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland. Some were Puritans, some Catholics; some were pacifists, some were soldiers; some could read and write. Some lived in towns; most did more physical labor in a day than we do in a week, just to grow enough food to live on. Some lived for a century; others just long enough to give birth and die. And of course most of them left us no stories at all . . .

Scholes ancestor stories

Anthony De Hooges Crosses the Atlantic in Four Months

William Van Natta New York and Pennsylvania, 1791-1853

Thomas Mozley writes to his fiancee from Milwaukee, 1846

William Scholes Goes Back to the Land (Wisconsin, 1849)

After the war: a Boren-Cochran mystery

Elizabeth McCullough Black Linhart, 1838-1915 Pennsylvania

Bassett ancestor stories

Saved by the Rope: John Howland, 1620

William Bassett 1595??-1667

Anne Marbury Hutchinson vs. Governor Winthrop

John Easton, peacemaker: Rhode Island, 1675

Rev. William Bliss, Rhode Island 1770s

William Berry, Revolutionary War POW

Rev. Russell Greene Burdick, New York and Wisconsin, 1805-1875

Thrall ancestor stories

Thomas Gunn on Three Frontiers, New England 1635-1681

For His Own Good: Nathaniel Winchell, Connecticut, 1683

Swiss Family Joss from Münsingen to Chicago

Simon James, ghost wrestler

Simon James 1770s-1820s

Edith Flint, St. Clair County, Illinois, 1873: Women Should Vote!

Will's Childhood: Scenes from a Southern Illinois Parsonage 1880-1900

A Good Deed Rewarded: St. Clair County, Illinois, 1901

Henderson ancestor stories

Anna Dorothea Adrian (Sweden 1770-1834)

The Short Hard Life of Judit Svensdotter, Sweden 1790-1829

Reconstructing Nils Gall 1787-1859

Thomas Davidson, auctioneer (Scotland, 1792-1865)

Letters from Elin: Illinois, 1919-1920

Aleck Henderson 1874-1957

Favorite genealogy books

I've never found a family history book that read like a novel -- family trees have too many branches and too many characters for a single story to flow. But these come close, and they offer great models for telling our shorter family stories.

Ancestors: A Family History, by William Maxwell, the New Yorker editor and author. One of the great novelists of the 20th century offers a warm appreciation of his ancestors without himself catching the genealogy bug. "I wish I had somehow given him [the family genealogist] a chance to say what it was that he hoped to gain for himself as he went about collecting facts having to do with births, deaths, and marriages of several generations of self-respecting, not very well-educated, for the most part devout men and women nobody has ever heard of." Ancestors: A Family History

Family, by Ian Frazier. Chapter 2 answers Maxwell's question as well as I've ever seen it done. And Frazier gives good history. "In the early United States, after the Revolutionary War, Protestant sects proliferated like diet colas." Family

Distant Relations: How My Ancestors Colonized North America, by Victoria Freeman. Not in the class with Maxwell and Frazier as a storyteller (but then who is?), the author grapples seriously with the terrible things her New England ancestors did to the Indians. "In all their wild imaginings, the one thing the Europeans apparently never seriously considered was the possibility of the peaceful long-term co-existence of two sovereign, if very different, peoples." Distant Relations: How My Ancestors Colonized North America

The Sea Captain's Wife: A True Story of Love, Race, and War in the Nineteenth Century, by Martha Hodes. A genealogy detective story masterfully paired with a reconstruction of the life of a nineteenth-century working-class woman -- a great read and a great education in the forgotten nine-tenths of America. The Sea Captain's Wife

Forgotten Fatherland: The Search for Elisabeth Nietzsche, by Ben MacIntyre. Just plain weird. Forgotten Fatherland

wOrK iN pRoGrEsS

Mary Mead and Eliphas Thrall children and grandchildren 1767-1933

Lewis Bassett and Dorcas Hoxie children and grandchildren 1776-1951

--Hh219 15:19, 14 April 2007 (MDT)