02 October 2006


Today, we got a call from Sears, about a delivery we're receiving on Wednesday. It was a robot caller, and it left a message on our voice mail, as I was at work, and Sue was enjoying the sunshine down on the Hoboken riverfront.

Now, what just hit me a few minutes ago was that the message left on the voicemail was a complete message. It wasn't cut off at all. Which means that the robot was able to listen to our message, wait for it to conclude, and then leave its own message.

I don't know about you, but that's pretty impressive technology to me. Does the robot wait for silence before doing its thing, or can one robot voicemail somehow communicate with another, so that it knows to wait? Anyone have any answers out there?

In other, non-technology news, I got a genealogy request back in the mail today. Listen to this. I'm trying to get a death record from the state of Iowa, for a James Coulson, who died back in August/September of 1894. Iowa requires that someone who requests a death record should be no further back than a grandson. Other people do not have "permission" to request the record. So, I send a letter with my request for the death record, saying that I'd be the great-great-great-grandson of this James Coulson, but part of the reason I'm requesting the record is to confirm that relationship.

So, I get my request back in the mail today, stating: "Please do more research and when you know your relationship for sure you can re-apply."

I'm basically being told to do more research, to confirm the relationship that I'm trying to determine by requesting this death record from Iowa. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!

Come on!

This is one of the frustrations of the modern genealogist. Laws that have been enacted to protect individual privacy (and rightly so), are being applied to records over 100 years old, for records that have nothing of use to identity thieves. Modern records may have cause of death (a private medical issue, which the state of NJ blanks out on their genealogy record requests), Social Security numbers (available through the SSDI-Social Security Death Index), or other information that may be considered private. Old records are generally only of real use to family history researchers, and some states account for this, by putting certain records under more restrictive use.

In NJ, birth records before 1923, and marriage and death records before 1940 are all publicly available at the NJ State Archives. For records after those dates, a person must request them formally from the State Vital Records office. Not a huge hoop to jump through, but it is a way to make sure that the vital record office can redact any private information.

So, I'm a little bitter about the Iowa thing. If I had written that I was certain of the relationship, even though I wasn't, would they have given me the record? Am I being penalized for being honest?

As I said before, COME ON!!!! (In my best Gob Bluth voice...)

NP: Fission Trip - Master

01 October 2006


It was a bit of a busy weekend up here in the Lord household. Well, not really, but I can pretend, can't I?

On Saturday, my mom came up to visit our apartment in Jersey City for the first time. She took the train from Allenhurst up to Newark, then the PATH train from Newark to Jersey City. Not a hard trip at all for her, from what she said. For the future, I will probably give her driving directions, now that she knows where she's going. But, if she wants to continue to train it, that's fine also...

We were hoping to get over to Liberty Island to visit the Statue of Liberty, but by that time in the afternoon on Saturday we got there (around 3pm), the weather had turned, and rain was threatening. So, the Statue will have to wait for another day. It was fun visiting Liberty State Park, we got some nice photos, and I was able to point out some parts of the train station there that were relevant for the immigration story of my mom's grandparents, who all came over from Poland between 1900 and 1907. They all passed through the old train station at Liberty State Park on their way to South Amboy and Elizabeth.

Before heading to Liberty State Park, we went out for lunch a little after 1pm to "Rita & Joe's," an Italian restaurant here in Jersey City. It was really quite good, and a place I'll feel free to go back to in the future. I had the Chicken Parmigiana (I'm probably misspelling that...), Sue had a salad, and my mom had pasta with vodka sauce. We all enjoyed our meal, and for three people, I think the total was about $50, which isn't horrible. We'll have to go back for dinner at some point, to see how it is then also, but for now, it gets my thumbs up!

Today, Sue and I went to see "Jackass II," which was really funny, in that "Let's watch idiots do really stupid stuff to themselves and each other" kind of way. For a laughs per minute ratio, it's hard to beat. Of course, you have to like stupid humor, but if you do, more power to you.

What's funny to me is that one of the guys in the Jackass "crew," I think his name is Bam, reminds me a bit of my friend Bill O'Neil, not in behavior (well, maybe a little), but more in looks. It's like they could be cousins or something. Probably not brothers...

On Friday evening, Joe and I did our recording of a new Pseudocertainty show, and it's up on the site, for your listening pleasure. Let me know what you think...

NP: Pink Floyd - Echoes