Tag Archives: genealogy

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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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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Respect Pt. 1: The Real Big Brother…& His Little Brothers

Men of the world descend–as is now widely known and almost universally accepted, thankfully–from a shared ancestor dude who lived and died in Africa some 200 thousand years ago. Crazy, huh!

In a very real sense, those men who are still in Africa, and many in America who are the great-great-great-(& them some, in many cases)-grandsons of men who were stolen from Africa are the actual big brothers of allllll the rest of us.

If you conceptualize it collapsing time it’s easier to grasp the familial, sibling (& then uncle, nephew) type dynamic of relationships: they are our elder brothers, the ones we (should) look up to etc sorta just by dint of the fact that they’re the ones who have been here, doing this whole living thing longer than we have. It’s a good thing.



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Posted by on August 15, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Roots, now!


Obviously I’ve been excited since I heard that Alex Haley’s Roots had been re-adapted for TV and would be airing starting this coming Monday May 30th.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.16.22 PMIt ties in with everything I care about as it pertains to collectively educating ourselves and using what learning and education (and learning about history) offer to unravel things like prejudice so we can–collectively–get on with the hard work of making this world a better place.


Roots the TV series circa January 1977 framed my worldview; I watched it then at all of 6 years old as I began 1st grade at an integrated school in Denver.


Roots the book had a greater impact on me than anything I’ve ever read.


720x405-121715-celebs-underground-tv-show-still-macon-7And have you been checking out that new series “Underground” on the WGN Network about slaves in Georgia and the Underground Railroad? Excellent, really excellent stuff. The show’s produced by the recent pop music phenom John Legend. And one of the executive producers is Akiva Goldsmith. Is the name not immediately familiat to you? He won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “A Beautiful Mind”, but of greater relevance in many ways to the topic at hand and of this as well as my past two posts, is that he was also a producer of the much-overlooked historical period piece I wrote about previously: Jonah Hex. And indeed, the same  production elements that I cited as groudbreaking in Jonah Hex are absolutely being deployed in this show “Underground”: contemporary, fast cutting (editing) style of visual pacing and contemporary music tending towards the more dissonant and dark side of the tune; these things help the productions feel immediate, rather than  historical, which to me, is the goal. Screen shot 2016-05-28 at 3.00.37 PM

And then Roots! Comin’ back. Crazy! And awesome. The production team, acting team, everything seems top notch and I can’t wait.

Then, to boot, I found out the other day that a cousin of mine is appearing in it! (He’s a fine actor and a guy of depth. He was also in Dallas Buyer’s Club.) How cool is that?! Very. It’s very cool.

Screen shot 2016-05-28 at 2.58.13 PM

I mean, this production: Laurence Fishburne as Alex Haley, Forrest Whittaker as Fiddler. And annointing this iteration, in the role this time as a producer is LeVar Burton–who of course catapulted into his career as Kunta Kinte, Haley’s African ancestor back in the 70s…only to go on to enlighten millions of kids’ minds with Reading Rainbow and then to go …where no one Screen shot 2016-05-28 at 2.57.49 PMhas gone before in Star Trek the Next Generation. The Point is, it’s top brass on this deal, and I’m stoked for my cousin to get to be part of such a high-profile project.

LeVar Burton

And here’s another very cool thing:

My best and oldest friend’s grandfather–a man who was also the closest thing I ever knew or had to a grandpa since I didn’t know either of mine–I discovered a few years ago is related to Roots author Alex Haley. Check it out:

TO HALEY 2 copy

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Posted by on May 27, 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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