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Happy Constitution Day!

On 17 September 1787… They are words for the ages. They begin: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the...

The 31st state

Recording California The Preamble was short and sweet: Whereas the people of California have presented a constitution and asked admission into the Union, which constitution was submitted to Congress by the President of the United States, by message dated February...

Patently fascinating

A patent war anniversary He was a journeyman machinist in poor health, whose wife was taking in sewing to help support the family. And he wanted to make things easier for her. So Elias Howe, Jr., of Cambridge, Massachusetts, came up with a design that was the first...

More on dower

Some nuances this time In The Legal Genealogist’s experience, it never fails. Answer one reader question with basic information, and the “well, what about…” questions come rolling in. You’d think I’d have learned by now to add in some of the...

Tarheel dower

Researching dower in North Carolina Reader Marcia is puzzled. “I have been doing family history in North Carolina and dealing with Dower and other goodies,” she writes. “When she got the land as a dower right did the widow own it outright?” Great question, because a...

Doing as he was told

Thank you, Phoebe King Ensminger Burn It was 100 years ago today that Harry T. Burn did what he was told. He listened to his mama. And the result of doing that simple thing was historic in every sense of that word. It was precisely 100 years ago today that Harry T....

Original sources

Of original causes These are powerful times in which we live, and part of the power of the moment comes from the tidal wave of history that is sweeping a lot of misconceptions out with it. One of those misconceptions: the Civil War was fought by southern states to...

Taking notice

A lesson from Arkansas law It is one of the most basic elements of the law. You can’t do something about an issue if you don’t know about it. And so the law makes people who want you to have to do something — or who want to do something to you...