Posted by: downtothesea | January 10, 2010

SNGF: My Genealogical Superpower!

A bit belated, as this is Sunday, but how could I resist this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun prompt at Genea-Musings?  Especially since I then read Amanda Acquard’s SNGF post that featured an image of her superhero alter ego created at a cool graphics site, called The Hero Factory!  What a hoot!

Here’s Randy’s prompt:

Do you have a genealogical “superpower”? (i.e., a unique research ability or technique that helps you track down records or assemble conclusions that others can’t?) If so, what is it?

I have two genealogical superpowers–lucky me!  Pay close attention as The Mighty Spectacled Splinter (who brandishes a branch of her family tree to beat down any evil genealogical brick walls that stand in her way) flagrantly toots her own horn…

First, I have a preternatural ability to remember names I have seen in print.  This is an offshoot of my odd capacity to recall text I have read as if it was a photograph and “reread” it within my mind’s eye.  I wouldn’t say I have a true photographic memory, as eventually I am no longer able to recall the image, but good heavens is it ever helpful in the short run, especially for genealogical purposes.  As an aside, my dad readily recalls the scores and plays of every baseball game he’s ever attended, so clearly I get this handy-dandy trait from him.  Thanks, Dad!

Second, I have a knack for deciphering handwriting and recognizing a specific individual’s hand.  In my former job as a retail manager, I could go through hundreds of return slips and pick out the ones with the same handwriting in order to figure out who was making fraudulent returns under a number of different names.  Because of this ability, old census records are a snap for me, even despite poor-quality microfilm.  Crappy photocopies of handwritten wills?  Not a bother!  Hastily-recorded WWI draft cards?  Pshaw!  This is one genealogical superpower I am deeply, DEEPLY grateful to have.

Hark!  What is that sound?  Is it the faint cry of a source that hasn’t been fully analyzed or a defenseless photograph waiting to be scanned?  Fear not, for the Mighty Spectacled Splinter cometh!  Up, up, and ahnentafel!



  1. I enjoy reading your blog; to express my appreciation I have awarded you the Happy 101 Award which can be picked up at

    (Thanks for the link above, too!)

    • Wow! Thanks a million, Amanda! 🙂

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