I recently installed PhpGedView, an open source genealogy application, and am learning to use it, with some help from Terrell. Yvonne and I got heavily into genealogy research back when we were living in Syracuse, probably 7 or 8 years ago now. But then we got sidetracked by, you know, finishing our graduate programs, and put it aside & haven’t picked it up again until just recently.

In the last few days, though, we’ve been making spectacular progress on our genealogical research… largely, I think, due to the fact that Ancestry.com has increased its holdings dramatically in the past 8 years. It also helps that we have some relatives who have done some genealogical research of their own — in Yvonne’s case, one relative has done a huge amount of work.

Anyway, Yvonne has found that one of her ancestors — her great great aunt, I think — wrote a book, A Steele Tribe of Virginia. And moreover, the author, Eva Belle Steele, worked at Duke. And moreover, the book is in the Duke library’s collection. Small world. And I’ve put in an ILL request for another book about a different branch of Yvonne’s family. That book was in the Syracuse library’s main branch, and come to find out it’s one of only 7 copies in existence. We had no idea how good we had it back then!

Anyway, as cool as this is, it kind of bums me out that none of my ancestors ever wrote a history of their families. In my family, we get a lot of “We left the old country to get away from all that, why would we ever want to talk about it” from my grandparents’ generation. So I’m able to track my ancestors back to their immigration to the US, between the 1880s and 1920s, and then all trails go cold.