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Professional genealogist David McDonald of DeForest, Wis., combs libraries, haunts courhouses, scours parish registries and tramps through cemeteries in the search for information about families’ past. “People want, as much as ever, to know who they are,” McDonald says. (Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT)

Digging deeply into family roots

Genealogists – those who accurately can trace a line of family descent through generations – are sometimes misunderstood. It’s easy to confuse them with services that sell generic information about last names and even coats of arms with dubious scholarship.

(Albuquerque Journal Illustration By Cathryn Cunningham)

Larger down payment boosts yields

Investing a larger amount up front ultimately results in incredible yields — and with no risk

Jason Prosser picks up his son Zachary, 3, from day care, in SeaTac, Wash. Prosser and his wife are one of many middle-class couples struggling with accelerating costs for critical services such as health care and housing. At the same time, their income has been stagnant for the past three years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Middle class pinched by costs, income

Prices accelerate for essential services, while employee paychecks struggle to keep pace with inflation

Kingdom Scene Endeavors Vice President Julie McWilliams, left, and President Zach Fay pose with characters from Lightgliders video game. (David Nicklaus/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT)

Positive values at play

Kid-tested online virtual world, financed by investors, aims to entertain while gently delivering often-absent influences into young lives

Health costs a boomer wild card

An ailing parent can create a double whammy of expenses for retirees with their own issues

Aldo Lavaggi said that thanks to the tiny cost of his tiny house, he “earns more than he spends,” as a folk musician and can afford to splurge on a wide variety of other things. (Nina Glinski/Bloomberg)

Tiny houses big with consumers seeking economic freedom

Doug Immel recently completed his custom-built dream home, sparing no expense on details like cherry-wood floors, cathedral ceilings and stained-glass windows – in just 164 square feet of living space including a loft.