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The C.O.H.O.R.T. – A Historian’s Archive

Community, Oral Histories, Observations, Research, Technology

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Genealogy

Ellis Island: The American Experience

Ellis Island is an interesting case study when discussing the American collective memory. Collective memory often refers to how a group of people remember something.1 In this case, we are discussing how the American people remember a certain national event or place and attach that memory to the national identity. Those memories of specific events and places shape how Americans view themselves and their country in the greater sphere of the world. There are very few places that exist in the United States in which so many Americans share a meaningful and often direct connection to as they do with Ellis Island. Few other places can claim such a hold on millions of descendants of Americans within the last century. As a public history space, Ellis Island also embodies the ideals of the “American Dream” and our identity as a nation of immigrants. At the same time, this identity is often collectively ignored in recent decades of political conversations. This personal and collective memory is what makes studying Ellis Island and preserving it so important. Continue reading “Ellis Island: The American Experience”

The Unknown Face: Identifying Historical Photographs and their Subjects

On a recent visit to Arizona to see my dad, he bestowed upon me the greatest gift I could have asked for: his entire collection of family photographs and documents. I have been researching my family tree for over four years now, taking all of those family stories and well known family members I had heard about my entire life, and began putting dates, locations, and other details to each one. Since informally earning the title of family historian, I believe my dad felt comfortable placing them in my care so that I could discover even more about our family. Each photograph is like a little clue, something that brings me closer to the truth and brings life to each ancestor I have researched and spent years finding and learning about. While this particular post focuses on one photograph in that collection, I know as I delve further into the entire collection, the more it will open itself up to me to share new information with you in the future. Continue reading “The Unknown Face: Identifying Historical Photographs and their Subjects”

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