Two ancestors who have a political past relevant today.

As a genealogist, it's always interesting to come across names in the past that are famous. Through the Trowbridge line, my 40th great-grandfather is Charlemagne. Of course, nearly everyone in the US of European descent is. I was always jealous of my grandmother's sister when I found that she had married directly into Thomas Jefferson's family.

Two of my (probably) great-great-great-great grandparents, one each on my mother and father's sides of the family have very relevant histories associated with them: Thomas Wilson Dorr and John Savage Reed.

Dorr, a Rhode Island governor, was, perhaps, the illegitimate father of my grandfather's great-grandmother, Susan Dorr. The history is complex in this branch as Susan Dorr was raised with brothers all having the "Dorr" last name but their father in many texts as a George Clarke Dorr (who's grave states his name as George Dorr Clarke). Fortunately this is a grave near where I live so further research could be possible. I'd always concluded that trees that listed Thomas Dorr as Susan's father were flawed until reading an old obituary last month from the Norwich Bulletin which listed Governor Dorr as her father. I'm not exactly sure what happened and I would expect the answer is still out there in time, but this should not diminish from the life of Thomas Dorr.

Dorr believed in universal male suffrage while a lawyer in Providence. Before he was governor, only white males who owned land of a certain value could vote. Dorr wanted to make all white landowners able to vote (most of Dorr's works show he had a more universal view toward voting but only felt that this was the first step in allowing all white males to vote). Dorr was elected governor but over thrown which led to the Dorr Rebellion and Dorr's imprisonment. Dorr died a few years after his release.

On my mother's side, John Savage Reed was the lawyer who defended the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. Reed, a self-taught upstate New York, defended Smith for free stating the religious freedom, regardless of the religion, was a staple of US law. Reed, himself not a member of the Church of Later Day Saints, got Smith acquitted and had a son who would move out to Utah and become one of the first governors of the state.

Two very different stories of men who believed in liberty which was denied at the time to all.

More on Dorr and the Dorr Rebellion.

More on John Savage Reed


2016- the year the Yankees should lose

No opening day for Yankees - rain out ... which means if you live in a Comcast area, you don't get to see the Yankees opening day game tomorrow.

When baseball needs to attract fans more than ever, Yankees do the worst job in pro sports at it. The inability to use Print your Own Tickets... the ridiculous infield bowl ticket prices... the fact that it's easier to watch the Mets and Red Sox and Phillies in areas where the markets overlaps.

The best thing that can happen to this franchise this year is a 70-win season, unloading a bunch of the older players and 2 of the bullpen studs before the trade deadline. It's best Tanaka can't pitch most of the year and rests his elbow. Ellsbury and Gardner can hopefully rest as well and let Beltran and his horrible contract take more innings in the outfield.

I've worked in the ticketing industry for almost 15 years now. I saw first-hand what other teams did to make it easier to attract fans. Mets have a promotion with Dunkin Donuts with coupons all over the place - and they won the World Series. Young baseball fans (if there is such a thing) will watch the Mets on TV and in person this year and in my area, not watch the Yankees on TV. They will buy Mets tickets, shirts, etc. for the rest of their lives. The Yankees ditching Stubhub was a selfish, awful decision (Tickets Now is a lower quality product and far less "usable".) I'm still fuming over the fact they didn't reset their inventory after a rainout of a rare Dodger game until it was too late for me to buy the tickets. Never had that problem with Stubhub.

Perhaps ownership will realize it's not the 1990s anymore (financially and entertainment-availability). They are ruining the franchise despite the fact they have two of the best organizational men in baseball (Girardi and Cashman) - imagine the disaster if those guys weren't running the baseball side of things.

*********Update************ After one month:

Didn't watch the Yankees lose today - mostly because I can't due to the Comcast thing. Was thinking about this today from a markets/economy scale. Over time this month, I've found other things to watch besides the Yankees, including watch Mets games. My kids aren't into baseball, but if they were to get into it, who would they watch? Not the Yankees. I had tickets to the game on Thursday but after fiddling around trying to download the ticket QR codes and then having to download another app since they don't use Passbook like everyone else, I ended up getting frustrated and just giving the tickets to a friend.

I've shared before that I've worked in sports management/ticket sales for over a decade. I've never seen an athletic organization make things harder for their fan base than the Yankees have. You should have seen what I saw the Red Sox (let alone teams like the A's with smaller fan bases) do for their fans.

The best thing that could happen to this team is to be god-awful this year, trade 2 of the 3 great bullpen guys and unload one of the old expiring contracts or a starting pitcher. If they limp into another mediocre season and quick playoff exit, maybe Cashman or Girardi (who are both better than anyone who replace them) will get canned and the upper management will think they can get away with screwing their fans because they "are the Yankees". A lousy year would be the kick in the backside they need.

It's not 1999 when they were a dynasty anymore. It's not pre-recession 2007 (where they modeled their ticketing prices) anymore. It's not 2014 with Derek Jeter playing there anymore. This franchise needs to make some major adjustments.