Saturday, July 09, 2011

Turn over a rock and...

kw: genealogy, writing

For the first time since writing a dissertation, I spent the whole day writing. I was composing mini-biographies of selected ancestors, going into the production of a book-length document. In most cases, once I got into each person's records, there was a conundrum or two to solve. In one case, a few sources indicated a certain wife and mother, but the dates were funny: she was 20 years older than her purported husband, and supposedly gave birth at ages between 55 and 70. Even if you shift the birth date by twenty years, having children at age 50 was pretty darn rare in the 1600s. Women who tried, mostly died. Also, the records indicate the man's wife was widowed while the children were somewhat young, but she was in no way feeble. I had to conclude that I do not know the name or dates of the woman. In another case, nearly every account cobbles together events from the lives of a father and his son to produce one generation where it seems certain there were two.

This kind of work is interesting and gratifying. The day went by like nothing.

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