Tag Archives: family tree

Historical Imaging 2



This follow-up post presents the historical imaging I’ve done focused on maps and location. Actually, I’d say that it’s most correct to say that this is imagery driven not by simply the “location”, but by the agenda of attempting to locate a thing; to impart a sense of how and where the thing in question is located–oriented–to the viewer.

To locate a thing so that it fits with the audience’s world.

Obviously this can’t always work.

It turns out (of course) that usually at least some sort of context is necessary. For images of a place (whether from a map, an aerial photograph or other rendering, crude diagram in the sand…whatever!), for it to mean a ding dang thing, your intended audience much of the time needs to have at least some basic geographical knowledge.

But that said, it’s a very interesting and multi-faceted challenge to try and make an image conveying a sense of place if you consider your audience consisting of people who don’t know…don’t really care. lol

When & Where… & when, again?

  1.  Basic “when & where” map for an individual or familyMD2MA-1
  2. Tighter focus on the “where” (central Massachusetts in this case; a father and son located)
  3. Placing the very specific in the macro
    1. Farmstead of 4x-great-grandad that served as homebase for 3 generationswashcozoom1
    2. City unfamiliar to coast-dwelling typesLOUISVILLE 1 copy2
    3. When the exact part of a foreign place is important (for some reason)Jura copy
    4. Using cool maps cooly. For this one, the only context necessary is that this is the east coast of Ireland, just south of Dublin and that north is to the right.
      Wicklow 3D2 copy
    5. Tighter focus–after you’ve given some context
      1. Tober Townland was directly referenced on the map above, so now  you can zoom in there to see detail. The inset maintains the tether to the broad knowledge base you’re attempting to access.TUBBER1 copy 2
      2. southwestern Wisconsin, a couple miles off the Mississippi River & 5 or 7 miles from Illinois, showcasing an original land grantee whose descendants carried on in the location; 4x-great-grandkids remain in 2017.T DUSTIN LAND copy
      3. Various specific spots within a larger, but still relatively small (and not commonly  nown) location, the Dordogne in southwestern France. In the upper right of this one is Jumilhac, the castle seen in the last post.
      4. one place, Haverhill, Massachusetts and vicinity…

        image2212 copy

        … variations on perspective

        HAVERHILL SALEM copy

      5.  One place in detail: Foley, Minnesota

        FOLEY copy

Foley sits nearly smack dab in the middle of the state, among the flat, flat fields 15 miles east-northeast of the mini urban hub of St. Cloud and the bend over which it presides of the still quite wide Mississippi River. The tiny hamlet FLC LHC FOLEY copyof Foley has given the world doctors, lawyers, Indy 500 participants, lumber, all-night jazz dances in barns once upon a time, and been home to retired farmers, aspiring capitalist fashionistas, former religious zealots & their kids, descendants of royalty and lots and lots of regular people who very well might’ve been born in other countries or been the kids of those who were.

Rockefeller had a gas station here (like 10s of thousands of of other places in these United States); women turned out nearly to a 100% here in 1924 the first occasion they GnG OGG FOLEY copywere permitted to help choose the President. Foley is a stand-in for whatever your little town is, or was. Our Town is the most performed play (or close to it) in America because 100s of millions of us came from our towns like this. “I didn’t, but my mom did”,–we’re all from it together.

These small towns, whose children and grandchildren have flocked and flown out to the gothams and metropolitanias  were in their way, factories of the ever-new, ever-renewing people, of us all–factories of Americans.

The sprawling and ever interconnected suburbs and ex-urbs where so many millions of us now reside and have for some time–they are built by the developers and they are inhabited by the dwellers on the model of the myriad iterations of “Small Town America” like Foley, Minnesota. It was in these places that generations of people learned and were taught how to be Americans. Despite the regional differences that might inculcate one attitude or another toward or about other people, the style of day-to-day interaction and pacing and level of attentiveness to the people around you, it’s all very similar in this small town substrate of our collective sense of ourselves and how and who we are.

It is from this America that in many critical ways we came. And it seems to me worth knowing in order to figure out into what America we are, might, or can decide to be going.

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Posted by on March 25, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Historical Imaging



Showcasing images I’ve created, composited and/or altered in order to make historical situations, places or circumstances more readily accessible to as many people as possible.

This grew out of my effort–shared with anyone who gets intricately lost in making family trees–of trying to find relevant imagery to use for people of whom no pictures exist (e.g., anyone who lived before the 1840s). But not just relevant, you really want to push it further and find images that are interesting, too. Or at least I do. And accurate, for instance, to the time when a particular ancestor or historical personage might have actually lived or been at a given location. So from these endeavors, the following sampling of images.

First Example

This is Château de Jumilhac, a castle south of Limoges in southwestern France. In the course of working on a friend’s family tree, I learned some of his ancestors had been ChteaudeJumilhacleGrand copyinvolved in actually building it back in the 1200s. (!!) They’d been among its lords, too, for 150 years or so. After first thinking, aha! whatta sweet image to use for that string of ancestors, I learned as I read more about them and it, that the conical rooftops (that will surely strike Americans as quintessentially “fairy-tale”) were added hundreds of years after his family had been on the scene in the depths of the actual Middle Ages. Well I couldn’t use a historically inaccurate image, so I did something about it.

ChteaudeJumilhacleGrandOLD copy



This is much closer to what it would have looked like to the de Bruchard family as they knew it.




An older photograph also lent itself to easy changing:


















So the examples here are each within a category:

  • People & Location
  • Now to Then
  • Obsolete Professions
  • SketchUp 4 Teaching History
  • Now to Then 2 (showing elements)

People & Location

  1. Swedish origin spot of my great-grandmother and 3 generations of her people


South-central Sweden, Vastragotaland.


2. Recent Dukes of Argyll at their seat, Inverary Castle, Scotland

DUKE 11 1


Now to Then

  1. View from the Mayflower

2. Castle Hornby

On the left, as seen around 1900 (& today); on the right, as it was when my ancestor lived there (incidentally, just about the last–my most recent–ancestor to reside in a castle…500 years ago!)


Obsolete professions

Two variations


SketchUp 4 Teaching History

  1. Construction of the White House (the Executive’s Mansion) in the 1790s in Washington, D.C.

These are views of a multi-layered SketchUp model I’ve built of various stages of the White House’s construction. Here we see the foundation as it was originally laid down in 1791-2. The layers reflect the actual materials, orientation and configuration learned from researching primary source material (such as reports of the crew who laid the new foundations in the 1950s as to what they found as well as reports of Thomas jeffereson, architect Benjamin Latrobe and others involved in the early days of the building). The close-up is the northwest corner, seen from just a few feet south and west of it.


Here’s the southern facade, seen from the southeast, depicted as the Limestone facing began to be mounted on the brick walls.

And the same face seen from the southwest, a little further along in the process:












And here’s the north (properly, the front) as it neared completion. (The portico that we know today  was not added until the 1820s).


Now to Then 2 (showing elements)

Here you can see various elements that went in to the image at the very top of the page (the black & white 1800s looking street).

That’s Liverpool, England. Specifically, Vauxhall Road, looking across it from near where my gr-gr-grandad, a guy named Edward Dunn, had a business in the 1870s, to the intersection with Blacklock Street, toward the site of Vauxhall Gardens, a housing project that was destroyed in WWII during the Blitz just before Xmas 1940.




Composite of contemporary shot (made B&W) with old shot.






Composite of two images; the corner building has been added to the street shot. I then added this with the B&W version of the current corner seen in the shot above this to get the image seen at the very top of the page.

This is the current shot, unaltered.




And the combo with the building destroyed by Nazi bombs in WWII is below again for easy comparison.





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Posted by on March 23, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Gracing the top of the page today are renditions I made of three of the oldest armorial bearings from some men of the early Clan Campbell.

Top left are the arms of none other than Cailean Mór Cambel himself–Colin, as it’s rendered in English–the man considered the projenitor of the majority of Campbells, including the line that came to be senior, thus the line which gives the clan its chief. In 1280 CE King of Scots Alexander III knighted Cailean, and the next reigning king appointed him chief (Baile) of Loch Awe, the highland area Cailean’s dad or grandad had first established themselves in around 1220. And as every good pupil of Campbell-ania knows, in the First War for Scottish Independence he sided with the Bruce (Robert, Earl of Carrick) in Robert’s ultimately successful push to be King of Scots. And though he died 10 or so years before it all worked out for Robert, Cailean’s son Nial (Neil)  maintained the support his father had spearheaded, and these combined efforts certainly helped secure this branch of the family’s fortunes. Neil was the first to bear the patronymic, “Son of Great Colin”, or Mac Cailean Mór, the title borne down to the present day by the eldest male line descendant, Chief of Clan Campbell, the 13th Duke of Argyll. It was these original arms of Colin’s that later got “differenced” into the form most Campbells & those who love us recognize, and which is seen as part of the arms that appear above, top right.CRAIGNISH LINE1

These are the arms of one of the Lords of Craignish, and strictly speaking–as it’s seen there–it wasn’t contemporaneous with the other two. More on that later, but the reason it’s up there is because it’s the oldest branch of the clan, or “cadet”. A certain Dougal was the younger son of an early Gillespic; Dougal’s older brother was Duncan, father of the man who gained the nickname which named the family. On this page further below you’ll find a map putting Craignish in context (hint: it’s west of Loch Awe, sort of nestled in the ragged western coast of Argyll).

The middle shield up top holds particular intrigue and unknowns. The man who bore these arms was Sir Arthur Cambel, Captain of Dunstaffnage Castleminic. He was 1st cousin to Sir Colin who bore–at the same time–the arms up top left. The 1st cousin from Colin’s older uncle. Sir Arthur and his line enjoyed the seniority accorded these days to Colin’s male-line descendants, the House of Argyll. Arthur’s line does survive today, though. How the junior line came to be in the position of dominance doesn’t seem to be known too well, or discernble from the extant documents or other evidence. But from what can be gathered from the fantastic, exhaustive and very well-written, witty and enjoyable History of the Clan Campbell, by Alistair Campbell of Airds, it seems like it could have been more situational and emergent than the result of devious acts, or ruthless glory hunting and ambition.


A New Chart of Early Campbells

Immediately below this paragraph is a chart I’ve done of these earliest attested fellows who came to be called Cambels…and later Campbells. (That first link in the last sentence, by the way, goes to a page that has a hi-res image and transcription of the actual first record of a Campbell: father of the above-mentioned Colin, it is Gillascoppe Cambell in 1263). On the chart below I’ve put maps I made in Google Earth for some of the people showing their stomping grounds, and some of these are highlighted separately below the charts. And as always, remember to click the chart and then click it again in the new tab so as to see it large in all its glory.

(If you’d like this one or any of them printed, please contact me for info; you’ll get free shipping on most.)


2. A more typical or traditionally style chart, with boxes around each person.


2a. What the above chart would look like in a fancy old frame, printed on parchment colored paper. (Available, btw, as any of the charts here can be; frame not inlcuded; if you’re interested in getting one the charts, contact me.)


“Out of the mists…”













Sir Colin’s arms










Arms of Sir Arthur, whose line became known as “of Strachur”; the senior line, acknowledged as such in ~1290, but whose fortunes …changed.







And the arms of the Campbell Lords of Craignish, the 1st cadet branch to sprout, back in the 1200s.

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Posted by on March 3, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Brothers Pt. 3

AFRICA L2R copy 2

Welcome to the third part of this little spree of posts on Y-DNA and the worldwide lines of descent of the men who’ve been the agents and embodiments of its dispersal. Here are links to Part 1 & Part 2.

In this post I’m sharing more detailed charts I’ve made showing these descents, first of which is a slight revision of the first one I posted showing the African “trunk” of what I’m calling the world’s brothers. The main difference is simply that it’s oriented left to right instead of top down; I’ve also added some brief explanatory notes on it. Again, all the charts I post should be clicked on and then opened again at their max size.


And next is the branch that came from “CT Little Brother” in the chart above. CT is the working designation of the Y-DNA haplogroup of the men who first left the garden-like cradle of Africa about 72,000 years ago, and from whom 90% of the world’s men descend.

ASIAN1 copy

Next we have “The Rest” of us, the Brothers. It’s worth noting that almost all of the migrations demonstrated in these charts were back in the Old Stone Age (Paleolithic period).


And last for today is this amazingly elegant & simplified version of the big picture from a great site called The Genetic Atlas:



Posted by on September 3, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Brothers Pt.2

ydna basx.png

I made this chart to just show the basics of what’s up with Y-DNA to give context for anyone who wants or needs it to yesterday’s post.

And the map below puts it in a geographic context. Always click on images like this map or charts so you can see them larger, more easily and in detail. Cuz it turns out that the degree to which we humans are just such a mix is truly astounding. This migration route maps only begins to hint at that.

More later today! Watch this National Geographic documentary if you haven’t seen it.


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Posted by on August 16, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Of Richard III and the Once and Future Plantagenet Y-DNA


If you’ve clicked here from my Richard III Y-DNA article on Global Family Reunion’s blog, you’re welcome to skip ahead, just a little further down the page to where you see a picture of an artistic model of DNA on the left and a photo of an actual chromosome on the right.

If you’ve arriving from anywhere else: hey there! Thanks for clicking in. The following briefly explains what you’ll find.

This post is serving as a means to share additional details about the amazing discovery of the remains of England’s King Richard III (1452-1485) and the scientific study from the University of Leicester in the UK that announced this item of historical as well as genealogical interest to many around the world. I wrote an article about it which is living happily ever after on the blog of the Global Family Reunion, linked through the previous words.

The Global Family Reunion, if you haven’t yet heard about it, and didn’t just click on the link in the previous paragraph, is an event scheduled in Queens, New York City the 1st week of June this year (2015), aimed at drawing the attention of as many people as possible to the incontrovertible fact that all 7 billion of us human beings are literally related to each other. As such, it’s really the 1st GFRpop-media event intentionally aimed at trying to impart to people exactly what the value-adds of genealogy ted1and family history are. It’s the effort, not of some nutty genealogy freak who’s been in the archives so long and just wants to waggle a finger at people showing off his own status, or pedigree, or anything like that. Nor is it some stuffy historian who wants to “teach the world” something. And that’s probably what makes it potentially actually appealing to lots and lots of people. GFR is the effort of humorous intellectual pop-writer A.J. Jacobs. Click here to read my rundown on how he got this idea. And do click on their site, too, to find out what’s going down at the event (Henry Louis Gates, Jr., host of the PBS family tree show “Finding Your Roots” will be a speaker; so will former US President Geo H.W. Bush; and the founder of FamilyTreeDNA…games for the kids…etc.) In addition, if this is your 1st time at this site, Roots2Now, you can browse or search around as there are lots of posts on my own family tree (Ireland, Italy, Campbells, Bilderbacks, new Swedes & older Swedes) as it merges with other people’s and historical convergences etc. Well-tracked & thus widely shared ancestors get more attention than others since they literally do represent the places where our paths connect with those of strangers…and sometimes people much closer!


The Skipping-to PlaceMEEKSLUCKY2

Actual-X-and-Y-chromosomes-side-by-sideSo since the basic rundown is living happily at the GFR blog, I figured I’d use my page to share some of the more detailed aspects and charts that I hope help maintain clarity or bring some where it seems to get muddy.

For all this potential interest to historians and dynastic genealogists the findings on the Y-DNA might be engendering, that part of the skeleton’s genetics was not going to be able to help determine if the skeleton was Richard III or not. Another equally unique and highly y-and-mitospecific bit of the skeleton’s genome got the spotlight in contributing some very solid data by which it can be reasonably concluded thaty-and-mit2 indeed skeleton=Richard III. And that bit–publicized a year ago–was the mT-DNA, or mitochondrial DNA, which, opposite from the Y-DNA, we all get from our mothers, and only mothers pass it to their  kids. Thus, it enables a view to people’s’ female-line ancestry. Like Y-DNA there are around 20-something kinds that anyone’s will fall into.

The goal, as with the Y-DNA, was to find relevant living relatives.

Anne_of_York_and_Sir_Thomas_St._LegerNeville,CecilyIn this case, since Richard III had the mT-DNA of his mother, Cecily Neville (1415-1495), the idea was to follow the line of her daughter’s descendants, ie, of Richard’s big sister, Anne, Duchess of York (1439-1476), though, to be more specific, it would have to be only a line of continuous female to female descent to the present day, and if no such line existed, then they would have to investigate if Cecily had sisters who had daughters, or if her mother had sisters who had daughters, etc. I take the time to mention this because Anne (pictured to the left) in fact died giving birth to her only child who would live, which happened to be a girl. But that girl, Anne St. Leger (1476-1526, & pictured lower left) had lots of kids, including daughters-plural. One of them, Katherine Manners (1511-1550) also had a ton of babies, and yes, more than one girl who grew up to in turn then do more or less or the same.


M IBSENAnd sure enough they traced down the lines and managed to track down two living people descended in the female line from Richard’s big sis Anne. It’s extremely worth pointing out, btw, that these two people–see to the right–are regular people, ie, not royalty, recently-aristrocratically-inclined or even at the “old money” part of the cycle by which most of royalty’s descendants end up not the least “royal”. I’m also descended from Anne of York through her daughter Anne and granddaughter Katherine Manners, but my DNA is totally irrelevant, since I’m descended from one of W DULDIGher sons, not to mention multiple generations of male to female and back descents. But I digress!

Richard III’s mT-DNA and that of the living relatives DID match. The “uber”-grandma was a woman named Katherine de Roet Swynford (1350-1403). The details are culled from the study.


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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Such Stuff as Kings Were Made of…ReDux 2



Yes, the news is finally here* on the Y-DNA of England’s King Richard III.

Last week (Dec 2) the team at the University of Leicester in the UK released its findings and details of the study it undertook on the skeletal remains found there two years ago under a parking lot of a man who’d died in the Middle Ages and had been, allegedly, when he walked the earth none other than Richard III, last king of the Plantagenet dynasty; a man infamous thanks to his portrayal by Shakespeare in the play of the same name. [King, T. E. et al. Identification of the remains of King Richard III. Nat. Commun. 5:5631 doi: 10.1038/ncomms6631 (2014).]

The richly sourced and detailed study concludes with about as much certainty as is possible that they are the remains of England’s King Richard III (1452-1485). His whole genome has been examined, and among other interesting things about that, some doubt has been cast–perhaps–on some of the historical royal succession.

Chart showing the ruling descendants of Edward III and the lines to Richard III and the living DNA donors.


John of Gaunt

Ostensible ancestor of living male-line descendants whose DNA was compared to Richard III’s.



His ostensible son, John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset.


Click here TUES DEC 23 to find the scoop on the Global Family Reunion’s blog.


the 4 living guys: R1b-U152

Richard III: G2a-P278

*(Yes, many of us out here were actually waiting with baited breath for this news item that to many must sound like it’s among the most esoteric, most meaningless bits of irrelevant trivia ever. But it’s not. If human life is defined by, or at least given shape by the fact that as pattern-recognizers we make meaning through narratives, personal & cultural, then this news serves to elucidate a key tangle of plot point in the narrative of how the world got to be the way it is just now.)


Posted by on December 9, 2014 in Uncategorized


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