Over the course of the summer of 2011, we traced the path of mom’s Ensminger ancestors across Pennsylvania from the original settlers’ farm in Lancaster County, to York County where the first generation of American Ensmingers were born, where two generations of Ensmingers fought in the American Revolution and two later generations fought in the Civil War, to Carlisle and finally back to Butler.


Let me assure you that when the everyday, average person shows up at the records department of the county courthouse, they are NOT met by the head of the history department of the local university, who has prepared a scroll documenting 17 generations of family members.

I believe there are many people today who come from the same place I did, not really knowing their family history and not sure where to start. I hope that the story of my mom’s search for her father’s family will serve as motivation for others to begin their own research.

Ancestry.com is a great resource for finding copies of Federal Census records, and for other similar records. But the site offers much more — access to millions of other Ancestry members and their research. As I’ve learned over the past two years, many of those members are extremely generous in sharing their knowledge and advice to others. And as it turns out, some of them are long-lost relatives.

Go to any company event, from an informal happy hour to a company-wide celebration, and try to find a camera. You won’t see one; people don’t use them anymore.

It’s sad to think that, 100 years from now, our descendants won’t experience the thrill of reading a letter or postcard from the early 21st Century.

You can only make so many batches of blood orange sorbet, or plates of blood orange and arugula salads before you find yourself wondering how to best preserve these wonderful and short-lived fruits for year-round enjoyment. Which brings me to Blood Orange Marmalade.