Sunday, July 29, 2007

How much to say?

When I first saw the initial theme (family photos) for the Aug 1 Carnival of Genealogy, I noticed nothing wrong with it. Which is strange, since I have written over the years several blog posts involving copyright issues.

For example

1) When Google was sued for copyright violations,
2) The debunking of Poor Man’s Copyright by Snopes and myself.
3) Elvis Presley entering the public domain in Europe
4) Martha Reeves’ complaint to the FTC about Ebay
5) And my own violation of copyright law regarding photographs back in 2003

So I should have spotted the issues involved, but others did.

So the theme got changed to moral/ethical and legal issues we’ve experienced involving genealogy or genea-blogging.

I haven’t been researching my genealogy or genea-blogging very long. But I can think of one issue I’ve faced. I’m putting together a family website with all of the information I’m gathering from my research. It’s password protected so only family members will be able to access it. However, in listening to a tape recording made of Relative A who passed away several years ago, he made a comment about a dispute he had with Relative B. A dispute he claimed caused him to cease speaking with Relative B.

Relative B is still alive. I’m not sure he knows why Relative A stopped speaking with him – for if he did know, I suspect it was a dispute that could easily have been worked out, as I think Relative A was unfortunately misinformed.

I’ve decided there is no good that can come of putting the information on the website. Or of telling Relative B, since the dispute can no longer be resolved, and it’s even possible Relative A exaggerated a bit on the tape when they said they had ceased speaking with Relative B. It’s possible Relative B never knew Relative A was upset, and if so, I have no desire to inform him now.

It’s on the tape. Several others have copies of the tape if they wish to listen to it. It’s not like I’m burying the information. And it’s the only family dispute of this nature that I am aware of. I knew Relative A well, and the idea he would cease speaking to anyone over anger is surprising – but as I said, if he wasn’t exaggerating, I think he was misinformed about an action Relative B took.

Obviously, I also faced an issue of how much to say in this post.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Through marriage

On a mailing list a couple weeks ago, we were discussing who had famous relatives. I brought up my questionable oneworldtree genealogy of course.

In the past day a couple newcomers added to the thread. One said he was related through marriage to Mary Todd Lincoln.

I thought about the obvious joke “You’re married to Mary Todd Lincoln?”

But came up with a better response.

“Through marriage I’m related to Jesus. My second cousin, once removed, is a nun.”

Well, she is.

I went to high school with her niece; If she shows up at an upcoming reunion, I'll ask her about her Uncle Jesus.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Apparently a poet is putting up a new form of poetry around Manhattan. He is calling himself “Nick Beef” which is a reference to an empty grave next to the grave of Lee Harvey Oswald.


(Click to enlarge)

The words in Beef’s dieku above aren’t just references to chess pieces but to actual moves that can lead to a checkmate.


more dieku (including one that attacks my 10th cousin)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I may not like, Bush, but...

I don’t believe that the sins of a First cousin, five times removed should be visited on someone, even if they happen to share your name.


I certainly don’t believe that the sins of a tenth cousin should be visited on someone. As that describes W’s relationship to me, according to One World Tree. (Have I neglected to mention this before when talking about Chaucer?)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Not-So-Random Five

Five names from various census databases at
Some may think the names sound somewhat familiar.

Louis Malfoy
Scotland, 1871
Age: abt 12

Arthur Weasley
US, 1920
Age: abt 25

Peter Voldemior
US 1900
Age 56

Septima Snape
England 1891
Age 24

Harry Potter (father named James)
England, 1901
Age: abt 1

Update: Changed a couple of the names because I liked them better.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


If you found the information about my family surname interesting, you might find these blog posts interesting as well. Apparently there’s a “Carnival of Genealogy” where bloggers who blog about genealogy post thematically twice a month. Who knew? (maybe me). My favorite of the bunch so far is Cow Hampshire’s post on the surname: LNU. At first glance it looks like an unusual surname, but it is really quite common!

It seems my blog is the only one of the bunch that is Genealogy only part of the time. But that doesn’t seem to be a problem. Probably because I am writing posts in this category during the rest of the month, too. At the beginning of the month the theme was on Independence Day, which was the impetus for my post on Independent Thinking.

So some of you who have followed some of the above links and learned the theme for the next carnival, may be expecting that in a couple weeks you will see a family photograph of some sort on this blog. I’ll try not to disappoint.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Now, that's impressive!

Last Tuesday (6 days ago) around 7 am (Central Daylight Time) or 1 pm (British Summer Time) I went online and ordered a marriage certificate from the British General Register Office. (The marriage took place in 1902 in the Great Synagogue of London, for those curious.)

It arrived today. And that, in itself, is impressive, because it took over two weeks to get documents from the Missouri Archives, and you know, I’ve driven to Jefferson City and back in one day. And I received a postcard from the Missouri Archives that initially told me it could take up to 8 weeks. It didn’t, but it could have.

So a six day turnaround from London is impressive. But that’s not the most impressive thing.
The receipt that came with the certificate says the “Despatch Date” was July 16th. I double checked my calendar. Yep. Same-day mail.

Now, someone is going to point out that London is six hours ahead of me. But, OK. Let’s say it was 8 am in London, and 2 am here in St. Louis when they mailed it. For it to be sitting in my mailbox at 5 pm when I return from work is STILL BLOODY IMPRESSIVE! There was an ocean to cross!

Saturday, July 14, 2007



The Dudelsack was once perhaps the most widespread bagpipe in Europe. German-speaking people today still often apply the name generically to all bagpipes, though the correct word is “sackpfife” (literally, sackpipe). An ancient instrument, it is seen - sometimes in considerable detail - in a large number of early paintings including some great masterpieces. At some point, probably in the nineteenth century, it seems to have all but vanished. There exists today only one early specimen, in an Austrian museum, and there is some controversy about how old all or parts of that pipe are. Nevertheless it has been possible to reconstruct the Dudelsack through a combination of study of early paintings and music, and today it enjoys a great revival evidenced by many players and numerous makers. - Source

I have ancestors who were named Dudelsack. They were from Poland/Russia, and not Germany, but as the snippet above indicates, the musical instrument was widespread. I’m not sure if it means they were musicians, instrument makers, or whether someone resembled a bagpipe in a appearance. They changed their name when they entered the US.

It’s a pretty rare name. In the US 1920 census, there were 2 Dudelsacks. Jacob, and his wife, Ida. On the ship manifests from the 1880s-1910s, 30-40 different Dudelsacks arrived in the US. It appears only Jacob kept his name. Jacob must have been extremely proud of his ancestry. I have no idea if I’m related; he appears to have come from Austria, and my Dudelsack ancestor didn’t.

The other possible reason for the ‘disappearance’ is that all the Dudelsacks who arrived in the US suffered massive spelling errors on the various census. It’s not an easy name to spell. At, my ancestor is listed under ‘Dudersack’, and a possible brother under ‘Dudelsuck’. In the 1920 census, there is one family of Doodlesseks in Massachussets.

Monday, July 9, 2007

For a Reform Jewish amateur genealogist, this is the ultimate test of one’s religious education:


With the help of this guide, I succeeded.

Line 1: Here is interred
Line 2: Reb Moshe Leyb, son of
Line 3: Ahron Kruvant.
Line 4: Died five days into
Line 5: the month of Tishrei
Line 6: in the year 5672.
Line 7: May his soul be bound in the bonds of life.

5 Tishrei 5672 = Sept 26-27, 1911.

No indication at all of when he was born. Birth dates aren’t as important in the Jewish tradition.

Those of you who have always wondered what my middle initial “C” stood for…the picture above gives you a huge clue.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Friday Five

In a similar vein to the five I came up with last week, here are five more names from various census reports.

1900 Census - Valjean Churchill – Montgomery PA – Age 2
1850 Census – Javert Miller – Stamford CT – Age 9
1870 Census – Cosette Byron – Rome OH – Age 4
1930 Census – Fantine Borges – Tampa Fl – Age 21
1881 Census – Victor Hugo Hitchcock – Leicestershire England – Age 5