Author Archives: michaeljdouma

A Brief History of the Phrase “If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t Much”

It’s a phrase frequently employed in media coverage of Dutch Americans. It appears on kitsch t-shirts and coffee mugs. Even Dutch King Willem Alexander said it a speech in Michigan in 2015. “There’s an old expression here,” chuckles Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University in Grand […]

Interview on the Historically Thinking Podcast

Took a trip over to Charlottesville a few weeks ago to hang out and talk about my new book: Episode 114: Creative Historical Thinking, or, Thinking Outside the Box

Dutch Americans in Alienated America

In the 2016 presidential election, Dutch-Americans and the Mormons were outliers. Both voted heavily Republican, but were also strongly against Trump in the primaries. Why is this the case? Timothy Carney, in a new book, Alienated Argument: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse (Harper Collins, 2019) argues that Dutch-American places like Oostburg (WI), Orange […]

An African American Migration Mystery (part 3)

Continuing now with my third post on the topic of African Americans in Washington County, N.Y.  In the previous posts, I challenged the 1810 census reading of 2,815 “other persons not including Indians not taxed” for Washington County. More specifically, I challenged the idea that these were all free blacks and I suggested that perhaps […]

Where did 2,500 missing African Americans go? Or were they never there in the first place?

In a previous post, I questioned whether there was a large African American migration to Washington County NY in the first decade of the 19th century, or if this was actually some kind of census anomaly. Could over 2,500 free African Americans move into and out of a rural county in one decade and be […]

1827 was a vertical year

In my book, Creative Historical Thinking, I consider why people conceive of time in different shapes, and what effect this might have on how we shape chronologies, how we write and think about history, and how we communicate with each other. Spatial representations of time can be idiosyncratic, but they also have a social, collective […]

Historians “Show Your Work”

I never liked it when a math teacher told me to “show my work.”  What do you mean, “Show my work?”  “I answered the problem in my head. There is nothing to show.” Sometimes, however, showing your work as a historian can be a useful exercise, especially as a form of pedagogy. Students need to […]

Virginia Tech Presentation

Last week, I drove down to Blacksburg Virginia to give a presentation about my new book, Creative Historical Thinking. The program that invited me did a short write-up. Here are some pictures. How to date a picture by counting the stars on the flag. This one is a trick though – sometimes frugal Americans carried […]

Update: Hampshire (and Mineral Counties) Population Hisotry

In my previous blog post, I mistakenly pointed to a demographic disaster in Hampshire County between 1860-1870, ascribing this to the effects of the Civil War. Boy was I wrong. A wise reader pointed out that Mineral County formed out of Hampshire County in 1866. To remedy my mistaken analysis from last post, here are […]

Hampshire County WV – Historic Population Data in Charts

(edit: a wise reader pointed out that Mineral County broke off from Hampshire County in the 1860s, thereby throwing off all of my data analysis here. For an update, see my next blog post)       County-level census data is available through IMPUS and the National Historical Geographic Information System.  I’ve decided to use […]