American Politicians At Work…and Your Genealogy

Watching American politicians at work in parallel venues without consideration for each others agendas is an education.  They struggle to make everything fit their own view–too bad they don’t save us all a lot of time and grief by using the “make it fit” button on their laptops and Blackberrys.

In 1400 England, the Church took 1/3 of all landed property at the death of the landholder.  And to ensure that this cut was collected, the Church administered the probate laws.  Here’s vested interest at its height.

King Henry VIII, entered the conversations in people’s heads–“How can we stop this financial drain” from seizing what belongs to us.

Here are the solutions the astute King and his Parliament of landowners (1/3 of them churchmen) decided upon and enacted into statutory law:

  1. Abolish the monasteries and re-distribute their vast estates to new landowners including those newly ennobled for their support of the King on his own agenda.
  2. Change the marriage laws to allow annulment for infertility–inability to produce a male heir.
  3. Change the probate laws to allow the landed property to descend through designated heirs.  The Church would still administer the laws and collect fees for their work–just not the landed properties.
  4. Change the organization of the Church–placing the King at the head instead of the Pope in Rome, appointing a new Archbishop of Canterbury if necessary.  And replacing any other churchmen who objected to the change.
  5. Imprison those who opposed the new settlement.  The laws stipulated that opposition would land those persons in the Tower of  London to await trial and possible execution.

Many of these realm-changing enactments of the 1530’s still rule England today. And they drastically affect our search for ancestors who lived at that time in any part of the Kingdom.  And provided a major cause for whole groups of people emigrating to America and other parts of the world.

Mark carefully–the question “How can we stop the financial drain?” is upper foremost in the minds of many Americans today.  And the solutions we arrive at and how they change American life as we know it, will affect the searches our own posterity performs on us as ancestors.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  The month of February celebrates a whole list of events–some running all month:  American Heart Health, American History, Black History, the storage and use of canned food, International Freindships, Biorhythm Health, Children’s Dental Health, sales promotions to encourage eating red meat, sharing cookies and cakes to show our love to others, the eating qualities of red tart cherries (do you suppose George Washington knew the legend?), and finally, the observance of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on a day of your choosing–celebrating Lincoln by himself for what he gave America, including Freedom from Slavery.  Delaware and Oregon observe his birthday on 1 Feb.

So Happy Lincoln’s Birthday to you all!

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