“If they tear down all the old Utah barns, how will we know it’s us?” In Memoriam: Charles S. Peterson, Historian

In Memoriam: Charles S. Peterson (1927-2017), Utah and Western America historian. He edited the Utah Historical Quarterly and served as Director of the Utah Historical Society.

Dr Peterson encouraged me to get my advanced degrees in history–English History with a minor in Colonial American History–even though my ultimate goal was to become a professional genealogist. His wise council to me at that time, changed my focus and enabled me to accomplish exactly what I had hoped to do.

And his love of local history influenced my determination to include the local history which underlies every genealogy that I have traced. His teachings became an integral part of my own professional career. I recall with great fondness his love of Utah’s barns and his question,”If they tear down all the old Utah barns, how will we know it’s us?”

My discovery: the building of barns–their style and materials–indicates the cultural and local background of the builder. And I have used this important evidence again and again in my professional work. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com 

PS Stay tuned–the Western European Conference still has two more days: The Netherlands and Switzerland.

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