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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Winter's Waning

The winter of 2015 has been one of the most severe and challenging of winters in New England history. During the month of February we experienced a long period of heavy snow and bitterly cold temperatures, shattering all-time regional records for snowfall and intense cold. Fortunately, with the advent of March, we have seen a lessening of the severe cold and snow that incapacitated the Northeast and are looking forward to milder temperatures and a melting of snow.

Reading is my antidote to winter weather, and I have been engrossed in several excellent reads in recent months. I have been reading Hugh Dorian's The Outer Side of Ulster, a fascinating memoir of social life in Donegal in the 1800's, edited by Dr. Breandan MacSuibhne and David Dickson. This excellent volume provides context into the lives of my Donegal ancestors in the early 1800's before they emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1837. I am also reading James Donovan's A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn - The Last Great Battle of the American West, a well-researched and thrilling account of the events leading up to and including General George Armstrong Custer's fateful encounter at Little Bighorn in 1876. On the lighter side I am enjoying several works of historical fiction, including Diana Gabaldon's Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber from the Outlander series, Philippa Gregory's The White Princess, The Kingmaker's Daughter, and The Lady of the Rivers from the Cousins' War series, and Ralph Peters' Cain at Gettysburg.

As a genealogist and historian I anticipate the approach of spring with a return to outdoor activities and travel, as well as attending upcoming genealogical events. In celebration of St. Patrick's Day the New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS) and the Ulster Historical Foundation collaborate in an all-day program of lectures and discussion of Researching Your Irish Ancestors: Strategies for Success on March 21. NEHGS is also offering an online course led by Marie Daly entitled Irish Genealogical Research: Sources and Methods, offered on March 18, March 25, and April 1. The New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (NERGC) will be holding their biennial conference in Providence, Rhode Island from April 15 through April 18. As I plan my activities for warmer weather I am delighted that spring through autumn in the Boston area offers many opportunities and experiences for walking tours and historical explorations.

For additional information about educational events at NEHGS please visit http://www.americanancestors.org/education/. For additional information about the NERGC conference in Providence please visit http://www.nergc.org/.

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