All posts by Jeff Record

A Kingdom of No Ends

The truth is, I’ve rewritten this post about five times. Who really wants to lead with an image of a German royal in official Nazi dress? What could a guy like this possibly have to say? Lately, though, I have been looking for something bigger in the "unusual..

Continue reading

Crossing Barriers: Barbara May Cameron

Screenshot of Google's "Doodle" May 22, 2023

Perhaps you can relate: the other day, when Google flashed up their daily doodle with an homage to a lady by the name of Barbara May Cameron, I was prepared to ignore it completely. I don’t usually pay much attention to..

Continue reading

Truth in Oral Histories

Image courtesy of James Deeter

As a student of family history, I've learned that “old white guys” like me generally know next to nothing about African American ancestry. This isn’t to say that we can’t follow a census record, collect a newspaper clipping, or attempt..

Continue reading

Saving Grace

Sometimes it starts with that picture in the attic. It falls out of its black corners and yellow cellophane as if to say, look at me, I’m here for a reason—challenging you to rediscover its past, to make the voice of its subject heard.

I think it must have happened..

Continue reading

James Dean: Of Winslows and Wishful Thinking

Few cinematic icons have endured in our collective consciousness as well as James Dean. Nearly seventy years after his death, his short and quixotic life has caused many to study not only his life and legacy, but also the possibilities of his ancestry. Indeed, with..

Continue reading

California Dreamin’: Looking for Connections to Cass Elliot

Even the smallest bit of nostalgia can set me off down a new genealogical rabbit hole. The other day, when I heard Cass Elliot singing Make Your Own Kind of Music1 in a car commercial on television, I knew right away that I was in trouble. Wouldn’t it be incredible to..

Continue reading

Tracing a tall tale: was Elvis really in the building?

Blue moon, you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own...

The myths and stories in any family history are tenuous things. Often self-serving, they mesmerize us—trapping us in visions of the past filtered through glossy hindsight..

Continue reading

An alter-ego's tale

Groucho Marx:"Well, whaddya say girls? Are we all gonna get married?"

Woman: "All of us? But that's bigamy!"

Groucho: "Yes, and it's big-a-me, too."

Researching the collateral relatives of my great-great-grandfather John Henry O. Record has brought a host of..

Continue reading

All these lines

Every time when I look in the mirror/All these lines on my face getting clearer. ~ Aerosmith, 1973

Like a thief in the night, old age has claimed me. I’m not sure when that ignoble laird decided to vandalize me, but it’s certain I wasn't paying very close attention. I..

Continue reading

Road lines

True love comes in the strangest ways.

It was, for me, not exactly love at first sight. There were those who said I was wasting my time with her; that she didn’t come from good lines and that her family was nothing but a bunch of hot heads or, worse, nouveaux riches...

Continue reading