From the Blogs, January 4

04 Jan 2013

Following are some recent blog posts and stories that I found interesting and informative. I wanted to share them with you.

Harold Henderson is a friend and colleague who serves with me on the board of the Association of Professional Genealogists. He writes Midwestern Microhistory: a Genealogy Blog. This week he discussed a perpetually difficult topic. He talks about The “True Source,” and includes not only some of his own thoughts, but links to posts by Elizabeth Shown Mills and Michael Hait that also discuss the topic.

Discovery News discussed the topic of the late King Louis XVI and the kings of France. Louis, you will remember, was guillotined during the French Revolution along with his wife, Marie Antoinette. Many were said to have dipped their handkerchief in his blood. Unfortunately, during the revolution mobs not only destroyed their bodies, but those of other, long-deceased royals, leaving no way to test DNA. New testing, involving a mummified head and a piece of cloth inside a dried gourd, may now allow scientist to identify living relatives of ancient French royalty.


Louis XVI DNA.


Randy Seaver points out an important problem that plagues many online databases: incorrect dates. The problem arises from modern-day transcribers who do not understand the significance of the difference between the Gregorian and Julian calendars, and how dates incorrectly interpreted can provide false information to researchers. He provides a great example, and a warning in Watch Out for Early Dates in Ancestry’s “Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620–1988” Collection.

Americans, Brits, and others may find it difficult to believe, but there are countries, such as Denmark, Germany, and Iceland, where one has less freedom when naming one’s children. In Iceland, for example, the state maintains the Personal Names Register, a list of 1,712 male names and 1,853 female names, that one must use. The only other option is for the parents to petition a special committee for an exemption.  A 15-year-old girl is now suing the committee because the denied her mother the exemption for her name, and she continues to this day with no first name. ABC News reports on the story in Icelandic Girl Fights for Right to Her Own Name.

Finally this week, Judy Russell has another important discussion about copyright. This week, someone asked her counsel about publishing a book using her pen name. She wants to know what the implications are for copyright when publishing under a pseudonym. Fortunately, there are none. Copyright is protected whether using an actual name or a pseudonym, which will come as a great relief to Allen Stewart Konigserg and Julia Elizabeth Wells (Woody Allen and Julie Andrews). Read more in Copyright and the Pen Name.