The Society has, hanging on its walls, a reproduction of the famous thirteenth-century Hereford Mappa Mundi, the original of which is in the collection of Hereford Cathedral in the west of England. A mappa mundi – from Medieval Latin mappa (cloth or chart) and mundi (of the world) – is any medieval European map of the world. Approximately 1,100 of these maps are known to exist today, of which the Hereford Cathedral version is the largest. In fact, it’s the largest medieval map in the world. Continue reading A mappa mundi
We have a tendency to envision our ancestors as upstanding members of society. In some cases, they were. In others, they were anything but. I first stumbled across Belle Gunness while researching the Midwestern ancestry of a client, and I’ve been disgusted and oddly intrigued by her ever since.
Belle Poulsdatter was born circa 1860 in Norway. She emigrated to America and settled in Chicago, Illinois, where she married Mads Anton Sorenson in 1884. The couple had several children, two of whom died under unusual circumstances. Then, Mads Sorenson died suddenly on 30 July 1900. Continue reading A Midwestern femme fatale