Life in Possum Holler

Saline County, Arkansas, United States
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24 January 2009

Alliance theory: Kinship Studies » Blog Archive » Alliance theory

A great summary of Claud Levi-Strauss's influence on kinship studies

21 January 2009

Kissing Cousins

Lab Notes : Kissing Cousins by Sharon Begley, posted 30 December 2008.

I keep teaching and lecturing about the fact that there is no good reason not to marry a cousin and, in fact, humankind has obviously been doing it since our origins. As this article mentions, if you want to know more about how this taboo works, read Martin Oppenheimer's Forbidden Realtives. Anybody who raises livestock knows that back-breeding, or breeding back into a common line, accentuates good genes more often than not if the gene line is fairly clear of obvious genetic defects.

What were Polynesian Mormons doing in 19th-century Utah?

Have you ever heard of a group of Hawaaians converting to Mormonism and moving to Utah? Me neither. But there's a fascinating article about it in Archaeology magaine, November/December 2008,Vol. 61, No. 6: 55-59. The author is David Malakoff and the title of the article is: "Hawaiians of Skill Valley." You can read an abstract of the article at the magazine's site.

18 January 2009

150 years of history - Olympia, Washington

150 years of history - The Olympian

by John Dodge, published 18 January 2009, in The Olympian

Genealogists and historians need to remember that doing the history of a place can be just as significant, and as intriguing, as doing one's family. This is a great example of that.

Mentally Ill Folks Harder To Research

Mentally Ill Folks Harder To Research

By Sharon Tate Moody, Tampa Tribune Coorespondent, 18 January 2009

I think Sharon was lucky to find the information she did about someone who was institutionalized. This has come up more than once in my own research and quite often seems to be a dead end--so many records for asylums are not available or extant. But you can never assume there is no information; often, as happened to Sharon, researchers are able to find some records on an "insane" person.

Also it helps to remember that the meaning of "insane" was different before modern times. A person who was committed until the middle of the 20th century could be retarded or have Alzheimers or post-partum depression, or be an alcoholic . . . or like my own great-grandfather, have pellegra, which often results in its victims having delusions. I also get the impression that someone, especially a female, who just didn't "act right" (according to her family or husband) might be labeled "insane."

So, as Sharon writes, these people are harder to research, not impossible.

Year Without a Summer; Wikipedia Entry

Year Without a Summer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Year Without Summer

Terre Haute News, Terre Haute, Indiana- by Tamie Dehler.

Most of our ancestors were farmers. When I research my ancestors and their communities, I try to find context for their lives. Try to imagine what life was like for our ancestors, trying to farm, in the growing seasons of 1816 and 1817. I know that about this time one of my family lines migrated further south. Did this crop-killing weather and the financial ramifications have anything to do with their decision to relocate and/or to start over? The article indicates the problems were pretty far south in the US; it would be great to find some comtemporary newspapers or journals to show us exactly where and how this extraordinary weather had an impact.