Veterans Day (For Mike)

The word veteran derives from a Latin term for “old,” but on this particular Veterans Day, I can only think of youth. Of holiday meals and summer picnics in childhood, when the Gehrzes would gather and I’d get to see my cousins from Wisconsin for a few hours. And of one of them in particular, six years younger than me, … More Veterans Day (For Mike)

Best of The Pietist Schoolman: The Petersons of Pierce County

This weekend my mom’s side of the family is gathering in Ellsworth, Wisconsin (“Cheese Curd Capital of the World”!) to celebrate my Grandpa Peterson’s 90th birthday. In honor of the occasion, let me reprise the first of my three-part series exploring some family history (and themes of immigration, urbanization, education, social mobility, and assimilation) via … More Best of The Pietist Schoolman: The Petersons of Pierce County

Uncle Jim

Not many Americans share my last name — a few dozen, if that — and yet it sometimes feels like I can’t go anywhere without bumping into someone for whom the name Gehrz rings a bell. That’s partly because it’s a distinctive name: people can’t spell Gehrz (no, it’s not Gerhz, Gehrtz, or Gertz) or … More Uncle Jim

The USA in 1940: The Petersons of Pierce County

For genealogists and U.S. historians, this has been an exciting month, marking the full release of records from the 1940 U.S. Census. (Such data are treated as confidential until seventy-two years after the census. The aggregate statistics can be found here.) My colleague Diana Magnuson happens to be a census historian and could tell you … More The USA in 1940: The Petersons of Pierce County

Bennie and Mabel

A series of posts taking you day-by-day through a proposed travel version of my course HIS230L World War I. Read the introduction to the series here, or the previous post here. Tuesday, January 15, 2013 – to Paris Between 1840 and 1914, as many as one million Swedes crossed the Atlantic Ocean to seek economic … More Bennie and Mabel