Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday Serendipity (August 24, 2013)

Saturdays often allow a more leisurely approach to life than work days. I can more easily post links to some blog posts or other materials I have discovered during the week, or even to those discovered during a Saturday morning coffee and extended surfing of the blogosphere/internet.

Here are a few discoveries from this week that I recommend for inclusion on your reading list.

1.   Judy at The Legal Genealogist has the latest report in the very important legal dispute over Myriad Genetics' claim that they have a patent that prevents other companies from offering significantly lower prices for tests to determine the presence of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that seriously increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women.  Two companies (including the parent of Family Tree DNA) are fighting back and have filed answers in federal district court in Utah to challenge Myriad's claims.  Everyone should follow this litigation.  In my humble opinion breaking once and for all Myriad's monopoly on this gene testing is crucial to women's health.  

2.  Heather at Leaves for Trees posted a piece here  musing about the reasons for blogging and whether continuing is justified.  She posted a synopsis of the many comments she received here. Both posts and the comments are worth reading for the dialog about reasons for genealogy blogging. 

3.   Do you have any gods in your genealogy?  Apparently there have been more than a few family trees that have made such claims.  Check out Editor Lynn Betlock's Note titled "Divine Origins" in the NEHGS Weekly Genealogist newsletter for August 21.  Lynn provides some links so you can see if your tree connects to these gods too.  

4.  Speaking of gods, have you seen the recent print about the legality of using certain names for children in the U.S.?  There is of course the urban legend that Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane fame named her daughter "god" back in 1971.  And then there are the examples of naming a child Adolph Hitler, Lysterine, Dweezel or Moon Unit.  But in Tennessee one apparently cannot name a child "Messiah" -- or at least Judge Lu Ann Ballew has said so.  This is the case even though there hundreds and hundreds of "Messiahs" in the U.S. according to the Social Security Administration and enough of them to put this name it in the top 400 baby names for 2012.  Read about the naming of babies in the U.S. and some other countries here

5.   If you talked to many of your parents, grandparents or even great grandparents and asked them where they would shop to get tools, clothes and especially home appliances like washers and refrigerators, odds are they would have said something like, "Oh, we always go to Sears Roebuck for things like that."  Well, not so much anymore.  Read here about the continuing problems of what for many of our ancestors was the Walmart of yesteryear.           

6.   We are approaching 100 years since the beginning of World War I -- the war that was supposed to end all wars!  We will be reading a lot of WWI stories beginning in 2014, but you can read one now about a British man who went to France to see the spot where his great grandfather won the Victoria Cross.  Go here to read the story and see some photos including the arresting one of soldiers at Riqueval Bridge.      

7.  Do you have any idea where the oldest community of free African Americans in the U.S. (circa 1790) might have lived?  You can go here to find out and hear what is being done to research the community.  

8.   And here is an article I stumbled across from back in July 2011 that explores what could be an increasingly perplexing question about what exactly is a family tree and how do people fit into that tree these days.  For example, if a woman agrees to help her sister who cannot have children and bears a child that her sister and her sister's husband then adopt, where is the baby placed in the family tree?  In one place or two?
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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  1. Thank you for the mention, John. I can't wait for all the wwi stories we can look forward to starting next year!

  2. Interesting idea, that where "the oldest community of free African Americans in the U.S. (circa 1790) might have lived" was in Talbot County, MD. Not sure how one would define "community" with regard to size, and I don't have a good idea on this point, but there certainly was a prominent cluster of free African-Americans in Northampton County, VA, around 140 years earlier than that, according to published County Court records.

  3. Good point Geolover!

    I am not sure what working definition the project in Talbot County is working with, but I think any early evidence of free African American communities is of importance and who ultimately gets to claim "first" is probably not the most important thing we can learn from these inquiries. Thank you for reading the post and commenting!