Follow Friday: Old Medical Terms & Stunning Peeks Into History

So I started my genealogy blog last Saturday. In that week, these are the things I found that surprised, impressed or amused me, and I thought I’d share…


As someone obsessed with words and their colorful meanings, I was enamored with Old Diseases: Early Medical Terms in Historical Newspapers on Having recently come across “dropsy” in a Census Mortality Schedule, I was fascinated to take the included quiz and test my knowledge of old diseases. (Conclusion: I could never graduate from 19th Century Medical School, though I probably do hang about in graveyards about as much as those guys did.)

10 Things You Didn’t Know about John Hamm’s Roots – As a ginormous Mad Men fan, this post caught my eye on my Twitter feed. When I clicked it, I found out not only that John Hamm gets most of his hotness from Germany roots, but that there’s a whole series of this. Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (yes, her real name) has written on the genealogy of favorites of mine like Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow. And her book, which is on my GoodReads wishlist now, is Hey America, Your Roots are Showing. (I can’t buy it this week, though, since I’m on my strict genealogy budget.) Who doesn’t want to er.. root around inside the heritage of famous Americans? I’ll take that over the Kardashians any day of the week!


Black Ripley – I recently spent a whole car ride talking with a friend about her memories growing up in my home town. Because she’s black, she remembers everything I do, plus this whole other world that I didn’t really ever enter. And I was fascinated. (And nosy!) Black Ripley reminded me of that conversation. It’s one blogger, Tiffany, attempting to collect untold stories of African Americans in her husband’s hometown of Ripley, TN. The whole blog is fabulous, but a great starting point is #1 of “10 Things You Didn’t Know about Black Life in Ripley, Tennessee.” I highly recommend it – and I hope more bloggers in small towns follow in Tiffany’s footsteps. (Again: I’m nosy!)

Clue Wagon – So in trying to familiarize myself with the world of genealogy blogging I followed a lot of internet rabbit holes. Eventually I stumbled upon one called Clue Wagon where the first thing I noticed was a saucy looking lady next to the phrase “My name is Kerry. I like dead people.” And into my Feedly it went. (I’m an easy bookmarker.) It didn’t hurt that Kerry had a section on her blog called “These [posts] Got Me Into Trouble. Oops.” Also, since most of my family history experience (limited!) has been dealing with sweet little old ladies, it was nice to stumble on one who – I have a feeling – isn’t. (And I mean that in the best way.) Awesome blog. Keeping it.


Wow. So if I weren’t all about tracing my own family tree, I would hire Jeff High of Inspirational Genealogy to do it. I’m all about genealogy because of stories and he actually puts your family story into just that… a story. Check out some of his sample work at Inspirational Genealogy. His multi-page family history reports come with narrative, images, and even a quiz! (The scholarly approval-seeking geek in me can never resist a quiz.) I’ve never looked into professional genealogy before – so who knows, maybe they’re all like this – but I’m super impressed!


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