This is the oath of office taken by the newly commissioned second lieutenants at the University of Arizona today, including my nephew. It was an honor to be invited and I am very proud of him. It was a long four years for him and his classmates and the 13 young women and men who took this oath today have just signed an undated blank check, made out to all of us, for an unknown sum, up to and including their lives. Please thank and support the service personnel and veterans in your life.
Congratulations and a heartfelt personal thank-you to the National Writers Union, the Authors Guild, the American Society of Journalists and Authors and a number of individual writers for their courage, tenacity, and relentlessness in pursuing a class action lawsuit on behalf of freelance writers ripped off by publishers of electronic databases. Publishers fought what became known as the Literary Works in Electronic Databases Copyright Litigation for nearly two decades but these stalwarts never gave up. Justice was ultimately served, both sides settled (the writers actually won), and last week we received very welcome checks in the mail.
Here is why: Many readers don't know that nonstaff writers (and photographers) sell a specific "right" when they deal with a publisher. (Staff writers & photographers are paid a salary and the work they create is "for hire" and thus owned by their employer, who can then republish it at will.) I freelanced in the 1980s and 1990s and typically sold "First North American Serial Rights," meaning permission to print something I had created - one time only, in North America only, and in that magazine or newspaper (a "serial" publication) only. Publishers of integrity, when doing a reprint, would contact me and offer a stipend for permission to run the piece again somewhere, maybe in a book, a collection, another paper or magazine, or a European publication. Not all of them had integrity - I had to sue a print publisher once, threaten a lawsuit against two, and write a demand letter to yet another to collect my agreed-upon fee and expenses - after they had used my work. With the advent of the Internet, print publishers began licensing the content of their publications to electronic databases or creating such commercial databases themselves. This brought them more revenue but they did not ask the authors (creators of the content they were reselling) for permission or pay them for the right to publish their work again. This was patently a violation of copyright law - a polite way of saying "stealing" - carried out by very big names in American publishing. (Click on the blue link above naming the litigation to see who the defendants were. You will recognize most of them.)
Genealogists - professionals and hobbyists alike - who write and publish anything (an article, a family history, a book, a web site, a blog, and so on) are authors in the sense this lawsuit describes. Imagine being a lone author and going up against the electronic universe. That's where a class-action lawsuit and guts was able to carry the day. So, thank you National Writers Union, Authors Guild, American Society of Journalists and Authors, U.S. Constitution, and our American legal system (expensive, but priceless.) And if you have ever wondered why I credit every source at the end of each writeup, and why I put warnings all over this site about not downloading and reprinting any image that is not personally owned by you or in the public domain, this is one reason why. It's theft, and from an ordinary person, like me and like you.
Raise your hand if you have DNA...... Seriously, there is such a thing as DNA Day (probably invented by the DNA kit manufacturers) and today is it. Enjoy.
If you've ever wondered what happens to old Easter bunnies, look no further than Spain. ("Friskies with Chicken & Bunny"). I bought this in 1989 so perhaps Spanish cats have moved on. My excuse for posting this picture was that someone told me recently that there was a Basque province in France (Spain has adjacent Basque provinces) and one of them was named "Soule." She wondered if anyone was pursuing the idea that George's surname might be a place name, indicating his family's place of origin. The area was under English administration from 1261 to 1449 due to royal marriages and the 100 Years War. Soule Kindred of America is one of the organizations using DNA evidence and genealogical sleuthing to look for George's origins. At their last annual meeting the project was described as being limited to Britain with outreach to the Netherlands (which was ruled by the Spanish king specifically in the 1500s.) Do any of you "purebred Soules" out there have DNA evidence that links you in any way to Basque Country?
Mom (1925-2017) and Dad (1924-2018) passed away less than 3 months apart. This is them circa 1948/49, I think when they were engaged and possibly at the New Bedford, MA airport, pretty much a grass strip at the time. I have been told that Dad, a commercial pilot and co-owner of a flying school, built the first permanent structure at the airport and I know that he lived at the airport when he met Mom. He was born and grew up within walking distance of the airfield and loved cars, airplanes, and us. Dad was a descendant of Mayflower passengers Francis Cooke, Thomas Rogers, Peter Browne, William & Mary Brewster, George Soule, Richard Warren, John Alden, William & Priscilla Mullins, and Edward Doty if my latest supplemental is approved. [UPDATE: It was! Thank you, GSMD!] He was also a descendant of William Phillips, a founding purchaser of Taunton. Phillipses fought (and sometimes died) in King Philip's War, other colonial wars, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WWII, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and the Cold War. Mom was a descendant of johnny-come-lately Famine Irish (1840s-1860s) who also served (and died) in the Civil War, WWI, and WWII. Thank you for being great parents, Mom & Dad, we love you very much.
Their weekly on line newsletter announced that the NEHGS consultation fee will go from $70/hr to $85 (+21%) for members and from $90/hr to $105 (+27%) for nonmembers. Ouch. Those who book the appointment before January 1st will have the 2017 rate honored, though. If you were thinking of asking for something like that for Christmas (or purchasing it for someone else), do it quickly!
Just passing along the message I found in my spam folder today.... The GSMD is asking those in a holiday giving mood (not just on GivingTuesday) to remember the Silver Books project. Their goal is $15,000. It takes a lot of work to get those written, researched, printed, and distributed but they are the source everyone must use to prove their 1st-5th generations, and in some cases, their 6th-8th. Here is the link to show your support: www.themayflowersociety.org/givingtuesday
Today's newsletter had a big ad, essentially, for a new website the NEHGS has set up for people who might be amenable to either joining (in order to use their databases to prove Mayflower descent) or hiring them to do some or all of the work involved. The site is Mayflower.americanancestors.org.
I tried it using both Firefox and Safari and found it very quirky. The images jumped all over, making it impossible to click on some of them. The big map where viewers are invited to "pin" their picture, name, and pilgrim requires a LOT of clicking. I didn't see a feature to list everyone in a particular state, whereas there WAS a feature to click on to see a list of descendants from a particular pilgrim. I guess the purpose is to make people feel good about themselves or feel connected, but it's not a great way IMO to reach out to someone for help with joining. I checked my own state, which had 4 people listed, only 3 of whom belong and the 4th must belong in another state. (If the person has a pink flower next to his/her name, he/she has proven descent to the GSMD's satisfaction and become a member.) Sometimes people think that a particular distant relative has joined and this would be one way to look for him/her except that you'd have to know which pilgrim they pinned to the map and then search by pilgrim, or know state of residence and start clicking on the markers one at a time. Data is all self-reported, too, so there are bound to be some misidentifications. (And how will they fit thousands (even dozens) of people onto a 3" long map of the US?)
On the plus side, NEHGS points out the databases that anyone can use for free, something not everyone is aware of. Overall, I would give it a halfhearted "somewhat interesting, but I hope you didn't spend a lot of my membership money on this." See what you think.
First of all, a thank-you to the Tempe chapter of the Arizona Family History Society, which invited me to speak there yesterday evening and gamely sat through an hour and a quarter of Intro to Pilgrims 101 and How to Fill Out a Mayflower Application 102. I appreciate the invitation very much. A special thanks to the person who brought the Mac adapter (I had left mine with the cat by mistake) so my laptop could talk with their projector.
The other item is another one of my complaints about weebly. (I know, I shouldn't complain because it's free, but they do want to keep their customers and advertisers.) Either they randomly changed the default fonts from one day to the next (for no apparent reason and without warning) but the latest entry came out in a different fault, and all "bold," with no ability to turn off the boldness. I tried making a new box elsewhere on the page but the same thing happened. I even tried typing her writeup inside the box containing another person's writeup, then cut-and-pasting it into her box. Doing that made only the title and words in italics bold, but it was still a different font. Sometimes weebly's weirdnesses turn out to be a software error, so weebly, if you are reading this, please fix Catharine Townsend in the Howland-Tilley section.
PLEASE NOTE: The new Part 2 covers ONLY the first four children of Billington son Francis (Elizabeth, Joseph, Martha, and Mary.) It does NOT contain anything about the next four: Isaac, Rebecca (who may have died young), Dorcas (Billington) May, and Mercy (Billington) Martin. I see no place where the buyer is informed of this - it is not on the cover, the spine, the title page, or mentioned in any of the front matter (introductory material.) The Doty silver books Parts 2 & 3, the Alden books Parts, 2-5, the Samson books Parts 2 & 3, and the Vol. 23 Howland silver books Parts 1, 2, & 3 all specify which child of that pilgrim is covered in that book. Perhaps someone thought that because Elizabeth, Joseph, Martha, and Mary were grandchildren of the father of the Billington clan, John, there was no need to state anything about the coverage of this book. Only one of the two Billington sons is known to have left children, so technically all books are about descendants of John's son Francis. Let's not stand on technicalities, though, particularly paternalistic technicalities. Fifty percent of the people who buy, consult, or receive this book as a gift are going to feel cheated. I know I did, madly flipping between the two volumes, trying to help an applicant over the phone, and wondering why I couldn't find her ancestor. The introduction mentions Rhode Island Billingtons and the writeup on the GSMD's shop-online page states "The book covers the Billington surname in Rhode Island" and "Part 3.... will include the Billington surname in Maine." Maybe the info about which grandchildren were covered in this volume was left off the title page in the excitement over this geographical oddity - that (apparently) the first 4 grandchildren moved south and the last 4 moved north. Lineage is what gets someone into the Mayflower Society, though, not where her/his ancestors lived. Hopefully Part 3 will appear soon (though I doubt it) and correct the oversight on its title page. Maybe the team could throw in a sticker to put on the Part 2 title page with the missing names, and change their advertising to be genealogy related, not a geography lesson.
The author is an Arizona research historian who enjoys the challenge of looking for Mayflower descendants, hers and anyone else's.
- Tallies (per Pilgrim)
- Fuller, Edward
- Fuller, Samuel
- How do I find my Pilgrim ancestors?
- Share your images
- Mayflower Faces BLOG (last update 5.12.18)
- Findagrave Mayflower Descendants
- Mystery/Fun Photos
- Suggested Reading
- Descendant Index: A - C
- Descendant Index: D - I
- Descendant Index: J - P
- Descendant Index: Q - Z