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A crawlspace discovery reveals a slice of life from the roaring '20s!

Posted by Ian Lamont on

A crawlspace discovery reveals a slice of life from the roaring '20s!

An eagle-eyed electrician who was checking the wiring in a crawlspace in our house recently made a fascinating discovery: A book of check stubs dating from the roaring 20s! Above, dated January 3, 1926, is a six dollar payment to the gas company. The convoluted abbreviations refer to balance brought forward, deposits, the check amount, and the balance carried forward. Some readers may recognize the following recipient from January 31, 1927: Filene's was a famous department store in downtown Boston, glamorous and always stocked with the latest fashions. After a long day browsing the aisles, one can imagine the shopper coming home in...

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Family history and extreme weather

Posted by Ian Lamont on

Family history and extreme weather

This weekend, a hurricane is blowing through New England. Even though it was only a category 1 storm, it is a rare enough occurrence in these parts that everyone paid attention. The last hurricane to have a major impact in Massachusetts was Sandy back in 2012. In New York and New Jersey, Sandy was a terrifying monster that wrought death and destruction across a wide area. Our kids, however, remember Sandy as the storm that brought down giant trees in a park near our home outside of Boston.  Extreme weather events can create lasting memories in children. Growing up, do you remember...

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Memorial Day: Remembering WWII "Hell Ships" and Tuskegee Airmen

Posted by Ian Lamont on

Memorial Day: Remembering WWII "Hell Ships" and Tuskegee Airmen

Before the pandemic, my town held an annual Memorial Day parade featuring veterans and other community groups. I hope the parade will return next year, but today we can still remember those who served. When I was a kid, I participated in the parade as a scout and remember talking to one of the U.S. Army Air Force vets from World War II in the march. He told me he served on a bomber crew over Europe, and remembered missions where fighter cover was provided by the Tuskegee Airmen - the all-black squadron who escorted bombers over Nazi-held territory.  Their...

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Why "Finding Your Roots" is great TV ... and great genealogy

Posted by Ian Lamont on

Why "Finding Your Roots" is great TV ... and great genealogy

One of our favorite programs on TV is Finding Your Roots, the long-running PBS history/genealogy series hosted by Professor Henry Louis Gates. It would be a fascinating program if it were just about genealogy. In our opinion, what really makes it shine are the wonderful interviews with well-known people who go into the interview not knowing what's going to come out about their families' pasts. It may be touching, troubling, funny, or revealing, but are usually a combination of all of these elements. Moreover, the personal stories of long-forgotten ancestors not only connect modern-day interviewees with their family history, but...

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EasyGenie's origin story

Posted by Ian Lamont on

EasyGenie's origin story

I was thinking the other day about how to tell EasyGenie's "origin story," or how we were founded. On this website, I note EasyGenie was started in 2016. That's when we launched our first starter genealogy kit printed on acid-free paper, as a complement to the genealogy guide we had published the previous year (the award-winning Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes by professional genealogist Shannon Combs-Bennett).  But the more I think about it, the more I realize EasyGenie's origin story goes back much further.  Between 1982 and 1985, my mother had the foresight to make three audio recordings with my late grandfather, a U.S....

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