Wordless Wednesday

An abandoned school house in the Palouse, taken when I was in high school.

Look closely and see if you see anything interesting in the windows.


Gustavus Gessner is another relative of the Rudolph Gessner I wrote about in the Seattle Genealogical Society’s recent Bulletin. This is an example of how popular his family was in Ohio and the Civil War years.

Grand Army Blog

Yesterday the New York Times’ Science page featured an article about J. David Hacker’s recent study that has revised upward the long-accepted casualty count of 620,000.  This is well-deserved publicity for Hacker and for Civil War History, the leading scholarly journal in our field.  Hacker’s study reminds us that numbers are politics.  The quest to determine precisely the social impact of the Civil War is nothing new, however — something Hacker readily admits.  Such estimates consumed blue-coated ex-soldiers in the late nineteenth century, and as such Hacker joins distinguished company, including Union veterans Thomas Leonard Livermore, Thomas Brown, and William Fox.

Ex-prisoners of war were particularly determined to right the record books.  Perhaps nobody was more committed to the project than Ohio Union Ex-Prisoner of War Association President Gustavus Gessner, who maintained meticulous records of the dead by corresponding with other rebel prison pen survivors. Gessner became particularly…

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Review: History for Genealogists

Judy Jacobson’s History for Genealogists: Using Chronological Time Lines to Find and Understand Your Ancestors is an expansion of the time line concept that I wrote about in my 2009 article, Estimating Dates. The first part of Jacobson’s book provokes questions about where your ancestors were, what were the conditions there, when they left, why, and how they went. The overall focus is toward how a United States genealogist might work, however, so you might consider this if you live elsewhere. A number of discussions include military and other violent upheavals, persecution and crime, and disease. One chapter considers people who didn’t leave records for several reasons, including some early cultures in North America, such as the Melungeons. The chapter on how they might have gone considers transportation methods and the next chapter considers North American migration trails.

Almost half of the book consists of lists of events around the world, including Asia, the Asian Pacific Islands, and the Indian subcontinent. The events are organized by major land-mass and chronologically, although there is overlap between them.

The copy in hand is 5.5″ × 8.5″ although the Genealogical Publishing Company website advertises it as 8.5″ × 11″. With the smaller version, set entirely in a sans serif face (Arial/Helvetica), the text was harder to read. The footnotes are even smaller and missing proper italics on the titles mentioned. Make sure you get the larger size.