Saturday, February 26, 2011


I have watched the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show ever since it was first televised in 1948. The 2011 version (their 135th) allowed me to continue my appreciation of the American Kennel Club (AKC) while taking me back to my early youth and the Texas Kennel Club (AKC) Championships then held at the Texas State Fair in Dallas. I am the eldest son of Coburn Allen Buxton and Elisabeth Alden Littlefield Buxton who ran Brunonia Kennels in Dallas. Mom and Dad raised championship German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) with Brunonia famous for their dedication to the Flowdale line. Dad was one of the founders and first President of the German Shepherd Dog Club of Dallas. Since we spent so much time with the dogs Brother John and I used to be known in some circles as Romulus and Remus. Champion Susan of Flowdale saved my life at least once so this piece is dedicated to her.

Yes, I am the son of dog breeders, a play on a line I heard used at Westminster this year to describe the, daughter of dog breeders, Angela Lloyd, the very competent and successful handler to the Westminster 2011 Best in Show – 85 pound, five year old, female Scottish Deerhound GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind ("GCH" stands for Grand Champion).

This year’s Westminster Show was a big hit and not just because of the superb participants [2500 entries featuring all 179 breeds and varieties recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC)] but also because of superior management and the return (Thank Goodness and Hurrah!) of multitalented announcer Michael J. Lafave with his distinctive, smooth as silk deep voice which is one of the exclamation marks of this show. Would that we could bottle Lafave’s persona and voice and keep him around forever. By the way Lafave is a Human Resources (HR) guy no doubt explaining his erudite and professional demeanor, no doubt

The Westminster show this year coincided with the rebroadcast on America’s Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) of the 2008 BBC investigative and very disturbing documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which scrutinized many of the health and welfare issues facing pedigree dogs in the United Kingdom. It was a bomb of cataclysmic proportions dropped onto The Kennel Club and resulted in many of their perennial sponsors withdrawing support to the organization. Those withdrawing their support included the BBC, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Pedigree and others. The Kennel Club’s initial reaction was belligerent and defensive - not very diplomatic or productive though they now appear to be trying to right themselves. Failing that, they would have been forever tainted and lose whatever credibility they ever had. Bottom line: We need them though they need to be more responsible and not allow the tail to wag the dog – so to speak.

The tail in this case are some breeders (and we suspect very few) who have capriciously and arbitrarily changed the standards of their breed(s) to satisfy their own personal whims and standards to the detriment of the health of many pedigree dogs - and all for a ribbon. The documentary reflects that while the breed standards are set by The Kennel Club, they have been open to interpretation and so as the fashion of the day has changed, so have the dogs.

Proof? Well, I’m not a geneticist or Veterinarian and have absolutely no professional credentials. I was, however, raised in a working kennel and can comment on what a German Shepherd Dog was then and is now. They are not the same. Now that may please some current breeders who are fixated on their own subjective aesthetics, but it hasn’t been good for the breed. It has, indeed, been injurious and German Shepherd Dogs have suffered ever more mightily from Hip Dysplasia, a degenerative hip disorder that is now a common problem with show dogs of the breed. Just look at the roached backs of show GSDs and the straight backs of their working counterparts and there’s your proof. The GSD was bred as a working sheep dog, not a show dog and for some idiot to say that the working dog is “incorrect” is asinine. I guess that if I lived and hobnobbed in the court of Louis XIV and didn’t wear heavy white pancake makeup consisting of lead, mercury and vinegar then I would be, “incorrect” as well. Again, it’s all about fashion.

Our proof is as simple as photos that featured Kennel Club breed champions from 50, 80 and even 100 years ago. Compared with the current standard it becomes painfully clear that the breeds have been genetically manipulated to please the whimsy of a few.

Closer to home, I compared a 1953 photo of Brunonia’s Texas and AKC Champion Ch Susan of Flowdale (1946/47 - five Best of Breeds handled by Peter Patterson, Ch. Judge Anton Korbel) with some of the Best in Breed from recent years and the difference is startling and even appalling. Current “correct” show GSDs have that aforementioned bowed (roached) and dramatically sloping back while Ch. Susan of Flowdale had an almost straight back. Bottom line: The contemporary show GSD is different from the standard of the breed even fifty years ago. To their great credit The Kennel Club is now retraining their judges to penalize GSDs who manifest this deformity.

In their Pedigree Dogs Exposed the BBC compared old photographs of GSDs and other breeds including the Dachshund, Basset Hound, Bull Terrier, Bulldog and Pug. The differences in the photos were startling and validated (as with Ch. Susan of Flowdale) that the standards of many breeds have changed substantially over the past century. Some blinded and incredibly, blissfully arrogant breeders still continue to try and “educate” us Neanderthals and even criticize the AKC breed standard because it does not completely conform with their personal interpretations.

My take on all this is that the farther that we get from the “working” or original standard of the dog, a greater disservice we do the breed and ourselves. I believe that there can be moral and ethical issues with regard to genetic manipulation of canines just as there are with humans. Those who would genetically manipulate the conformation of an animal, essentially breeding for a deformity (an exaggerated or spectacular “aesthetic” feature), will continue to suffer the slings and arrows of public indignation. We also need to get over the hysteria (both sides) that is gripping much of the canine world because of the revelations made in Pedigree Dogs Exposed. Only a relatively few breeds were featured and within them perhaps only a few irresponsible breeders. Let’s put everything in perspective and like The Kennel Club put sanctions in place that will discourage and stop irresponsible breeding practices.

We took great interest in (and strength from) the comments of respected Judge Paolo Dondina of Monterchi, Italy after he presented Hickory with her Best in Show ribbon, “This animal is like in the heavens. It’s not of this world.” Dondina then commented further that the breed was very old and had changed little over the years. This was a significant public statement as Paolo will be judging Best in Show at The Kennel Club’s Crufts Dog Show in 2011. This could be interesting

When we made our comparisons of the Scottish Deerhound, then and now, we noted a photo from 1910 demonstrating little, if any, changes. Many historians note that this is an ancient breed that has existed before recorded history, indeed, with the archeological evidence supporting that its ancestors were kept by the Scots and Picts.

The Scottish Deerhound is known as the Royal Dog of Scotland and was romanticized by Sir Walter Scott who as a lifelong owner (Maida) and breeder of these dogs called them “the most beautiful creatures of heaven.” Until the 1800s, no one ranking below an Earl was even allowed to own the breed in Scotland.

The photograph in this post is dated 1890 and is one proudly posing Scot, Ronald MacColl, Deerstalker, from Black Mount, Rannoch Moor, Argyll, Scotland with his Scottish Deerhound companion and insinuated work mate. We knew you would want to know.

So, we have history on our side and, no, we don’t paint all breeders with the same brush. We well congratulate and applaud those overwhelming numbers of reputable breeders who support the humane treatment of all animals with an eye on conservation and perpetuation of all breeds, research and treatments for canine health issues and not engaging irresponsible genetic manipulation. Those that do otherwise are encouraged to join the Flat Earth Society if indeed they don’t already belong…

So, now that’s two in a row for the Scots who won the 2010 Westminster Show via Ch. Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot aka Sadie, a black Scottish Terrier. Perhaps a Cairn, Westie or even a Border Collie can pull off the hat trick in 2012?

Well done AKC.


Ned Buxton

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I sat on this story and post for a while gauging the response of the citizens of Dallas and other folks around the country. So many times the reactions by our Citizenry to events such as Michael Vick being presented the key to the City of Dallas, Texas end up being the bigger story. The greater, yea overwhelming, majority (including yours truly) seem to share the same opinion and response – bewilderment, outrage and then just pure disgust. Many Dallas detractors expressed amusement and delight in a seemingly “told you so” mode. One reaction I relished was the accusation that, “The City of Dallas is clearly running crack-cocaine through their water system.” Some less than responsible folks are now playing the race card and so we head towards the dark side.

So many people have waded into this debate that it makes our opinion nothing more than postscript. The Might of Right has long espoused, however, that we all have a responsibility to speak up, engage the debate and ultimately hold people accountable for their actions. If we can’t right this wrong then we can at least put it in perspective for those that follow.

In the aftermath of an untimely and damaging ice and snow storm that ravaged north Texas just in time for Super Bowl XLV one very skewed Dallas Citizen in the person of Dallas Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway managed to make that debacle even worse. In one fell swoop we went from the frying pan into the fire and from bad to worse in a millisecond. An incredibly deluded, seemingly euphoric and gushing Caraway (“You deserve it. You earned it. We appreciate you and we love you.") presented the key to the City of Dallas to Michael Vick (Yikes!).

My first reaction was utter disbelief that any elected representative of the city would present an honor to a convicted felon who is still on probation and had to get special permissions to even travel to Dallas. No, despite assertions to the contrary, Vick’s debt to society isn’t paid in full yet. While he may be out of jail, his activities are closely monitored and he has to submit to regular drug screens. One misstep and its back into the clinker. As a convicted felon in Virginia Vick will have to petition the Governor via a special appeals process for the restoration of his voting rights. Right now he can’t even vote for dog catcher, hmmm… Bottom line: Vick’s rehabilitation is still a work in progress.

The fact that a disgraced Vick has been able to recover his NFL career is absolutely amazing, let alone to the degree that he received the 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award, Pro Bowl recognition, has evolved into one of the best quarterbacks in the game and now the Philadelphia Eagles franchise player. This, Ladies and Gentleman, is one hell of a football player who on an instinctual and intuitive level has no peer. In my meager and humble estimation Vick is one of the best to ever play the game. We also give him credit for his latest community service though much of that appears mandated and PR spin by his handlers. All of this, however, is not a measurement of the state of his recovery and rehabilitation. It’s who he is off the field that counts most.

Does his continuing recovery justify or qualify him as a recipient of the Key to The City of Dallas? Caraway would have us believe that it’s all about the children (?) - that Vick is a “hero” and is providing an important role model. Vick in what appears to be a plug and play approach now says listen to your parents, don’t do what he did (gamble, fight and kill dogs). Stay in school (he dropped out of Virginia Tech) and don’t do drugs (he did). Good advice though some might say that the real message is that redemption and deliverance can come your way if you play your celebrity and the system right, despite the heinous nature of your crimes.

But, this post was not intended as a Vick slam though his acceptance of the key did reopen the debate and the controversy. Michael, keep your key though know that it came from Dwaine Caraway and is not even remotely representative of feelings of the Citizens of Dallas, Texas. Treat it as a party favor… We are reminded of Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert’s almost immediate retort upon learning of Caraway’s presentation.

“The action taken was not sanctioned by my office and was not an official ceremonial honor on behalf of the City of Dallas. Official Keys to the City are presented by the Mayor, or an elected official designated by the Mayor, and reserved, on a limited basis, for an elected official of international status. Clearly, this was not the case in this situation and done without my knowledge or approval.”

Though some have asserted that the Dallas Key from this point is absolutely worthless, take what strength you can from your experience here. We do, however, strongly recommend you muzzle some of your security. The profanities spewing from at least one of your bodyguards on national TV didn’t serve you well. As a long time and original Atlanta Falcons fan I used to enjoy watching you play ball though the magic and my interest in the game and you specifically is currently on hiatus. We strongly recommend that you move the respected and compassionate Tony Dungy a lot closer to your inner circle.

This post, then, is mostly a statement about Dwaine Caraway who could have found many more worthy recipients of this once prized recognition. If you want an NFL player to punctuate your message to the children of Dallas how about Reggie Bush, running back of the New Orleans Saints; Amobi Okoye, defensive tackle for the Houston Texans; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald; Michael Oher, offensive tackle of the Baltimore Ravens (my choice) or Jason Witten tight end for the Dallas Cowboys among many, many others. All these folks have given mightily of their time and resources by supporting local and national charitable causes and deserve our recognition and respect.

The presentation ceremony was as absurd as it was farcical where Caraway appeared to be more intent on bringing the spotlight to himself through the personality and celebrity of another. He demonstrated an incredible lack of judgment totally inconsistent with the responsible behaviors now required by our city leaders. When recently queried by a local Dallas TV station about his presentation to Vick, Caraway seemingly at the height of his capacity to articulate his feelings about the incident told them that he's "done talking" about Vick and the key.

Point: With Caraway conceivably in line to take over the leadership reins of the City of Dallas should Mayor Tom Leppert decide to leave early to pursue a U.S. senatorial campaign, this issue becomes a lightning rod for some circumspect analysis of Caraway’s suitability for any leadership role in the city. He does serve as Mayor Pro Tem at the pleasure and confidence of the Dallas City Council and if we are to believe the Dallas media that support now appears shaky, at best.

Thanks, Mr. Mayor, for serving out your term while running for the Senate. Please…


Ned Buxton

PS. Mayor Leppert by law could not run for the U.S. Senate while still serving as Mayor of Dallas. With personal considerations his priority he deserted his post/resigned (choose one) as Mayor of Dallas on Friday, February 24. Acting Mayor Caraway has promised us a "status quo" while Council members appear willing to, "make the best of an imperfect situation." God help us all...

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Even as I watched the The King’s Speech I was deeply moved and fought my emotions fearing to embarrass myself among Friends. God, the humanity of it all and perhaps the ultimate symbiotic relationship – a King and Nation (and yes, the world) in dire need and someone in search of a purpose and cause. They both found each other thanks to the genius, tenacity and love of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York aka Elizabeth who we all know now as the beloved Queen Mother (Aye, a descendant of King Robert the Bruce of Scotland).

Since most of you have probably seen this inspiring movie, you know the storyline and that the reluctant and unlikely WWII King George VI of the United Kingdom and the unorthodox and charismatic Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue collaborated to mostly control his stuttering disorder and give the King his Voice when it was most needed. They both prevailed in this once-in-a-lifetime, do or die opportunity and our very existence this day is proof positive of that victory.

Though we all knew and many among us experienced George’s stuttering speeches (Remember the Movietone newsreels with Lowell Thomas?) we would have to wait for the passing of The Queen Mother for, “the rest of the story” (her request). The King’s Speech is an astounding character study which first and foremost imparts an important message to those with or without this debilitating speech disorder. There is hope and with a greater sensitivity about this condition perhaps modern medical technology might prompt a heretofore unknown cure.

The movie obviously meant a great deal to a lot of people as it has garnered twelve Oscar nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor Geoffrey Rush (astounding as Lionel Logue) and Actor for Colin Firth's amazing performance as King George VI who overcame stammering to the degree that he was able to successfully lead his country through its greatest crisis.

Though some folks have questioned the accuracy of The King’s Speech (the time line was certainly condensed), great and conscientious attempts were obviously made to preserve the overall historic record which especially includes the relationship between Prince Albert/George VI and speech therapist Lionel Logue who comes across as one of the unsung heroes of this whole episode of world history. King's Speech screenwriter David Seidler and director Tom Hooper were able to collaborate with Logue’s grandson and actually used notes from Lionel’s diary some of which formed the basis for some of the movie’s more memorable lines.

We know that Lionel’s steadfast, persistent requirement was that the Duke be required to come to his office (Prince/King to the Commoner though as equals) and receive assistance on that basis. In retrospect it was, indeed, critical that Prince Albert be removed from the comfort zone of a pompous, enabling Royal Family and brought forthrightly into Lionel’s area of influence where he could receive meaningful therapy. Elizabeth understood that. In what evolved as a partnership of peers Logue delved into Albert’s past to ferret out the possible psychological reasons for his impediment. While Albert was able to ultimately control his stuttering in critical situations, he never really mastered his stammer.

We do believe that Logue was able to compartmentalize and separate his relationship with George VI – one of a professional though familiar mentor on one hand and on the other a very deferential and admiring subject of The King and The Monarchy. Logue referred to Albert as “King” or “His Majesty” in his diary and we suspect that was done deliberately knowing that someday the words in his diary might bear close scrutiny. In his treatment sessions and probably in other private and confidential situations the King and Logue were far less formal (Bertie?). We note that they died within a year of each other…

Our glimpse into this chapter of world history inevitably takes us to the Gentleman from Glasgow, Scotland, Louis Leisler Greig, the now ignored and forgotten mentor and close Friend to Prince Albert. He no doubt had more influence on Albert than any other individual or group, including Logue. Best-selling author, Royal biographer and historian Christopher Wilson of London reflects, “It would have been a much more interesting film if they had focused on Greig rather than leaving him out altogether. He was the surrogate father who helped turn the prince from this terribly gauche, ill-prepared young man into the wartime monarch he became.”

It would appear that Duchess of York aka Elizabeth is probably the only one (besides Greig) who knew the entire story and now both are gone. Ironically it was Grieg who apparently facilitated the Duke of York's courtship of and marriage to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon who for whatever reason gradually displaced him as an intimate of the Duke.

Greig had the pedigree and the savoir faire to meet all the requirements of his station and, indeed, to be a close Friend and advisor to Prince Albert. Grieg’s relationship was formalized with his appointment as Equerry and Gentleman Usher to the Duke of York. No one really knows what happened though some speculate that the shellacking that Grieg and then Prince Albert suffered in the first round of the 1926 Gentlemen’s Doubles at the All England tennis tournament at Wimbledon in the presence of King George V and Queen Mary may have prompted some less than courteous remarks by then Wing Commander Grieg about Albert’s play. We do know that Grieg was a tenacious competitor and accomplished athlete. Since the Prince was there at Grieg’s invite (the only Royal to ever compete at Wimbledon) if any untoward words were spoken we doubt any ill intent.

So, where are we going with this? Given their close and intimate friendship and certainly touching on sensitive issues we think that Grieg properly prepared Albert for his ultimate meeting with Logue. Grieg was King George VI’s confidant for more than 40 years and we feel was as much a part of this story as Logue. That he was overlooked (not even mentioned) we hope was a matter of perspective and his deliberate omission rather an economy of effort and story line. You couldn’t just mention Grieg and then walk away from the character… such was his overall influence on Albert’s life.

In 1917 Grieg, then a naval staff surgeon, advised King George V that the seemingly always ill Prince Albert should undergo an operation to remove the ulcer that had caused him great discomfort for many years. Surgery back then was a much bigger deal than today so this advice was not offered lightly. The King and Prince agreed and Grieg was part of the surgical team that successfully operated on the prince. Albert later told his closest Friends that Louis Grieg was literally responsible for “saving his life”. Geordie Greig, the editor of the London Evening Standard and author of a book about his grandfather Greig, said: “Greig was known by senior courtiers as the man who made the king.”

Now, does this omission in any way diminish the significance of The King’s Speech? The Might of Right answers with a resounding, “Absolutely not!.” We all need to embrace this work as a wonderfully crafted memorial to one of the more significant figures in world history. We need celebrate that this story could finally be told and draw the appropriate inspiration from George VI’s and Lionel Logue’s heroics. It is our fervent wish when in need all will find their Lionel Logue and Louis Greig. Our future may depend on it…


Ned Buxton

Monday, February 7, 2011


As anybody who knows me will attest, I am all too happy to wax eloquent on one or more of my ancestors (eminent or otherwise). As was the intent and dedicated efforts of my Mother, her Mother, my Father, his Father and Grandfather, I want to preserve our family's unique story for all time (or as long as our databases remain intact and viable and until the sun goes super nova). I’m not looking to fabricate a kinship and descent from some august ruler or noble in the distant past or to matriculate my own personal coat of arms [the Buxton Family Association (BFA) arms serve me very well, thank you]. Though I haven’t as yet come across any cattle rustlers, and am sure they exist, I would be equally proud to claim them (the Scots Lowland Armstrongs?). The record is what it is - good or bad by whatever standards. I am not trying to create what isn’t, rather just reflect our reality though that is sometimes difficult in our politically correct and charged environment.

The bottom line is that we are all what we have made of ourselves and I want to ferret out that data and pass it on to any interested parties, especially son Geb and grandsons Quinton and Cameron. The historical record will speak for itself though we do have to clean up our records and the ramblings of wannabe’s who in the act of trying to create a pedigree and “distinguished” Family history literally pollute the genealogical landscape. Along with the elusive nature of accurate genealogical data (especially from the 16th century back) that remains a major challenge. There shouldn’t really be any such thing as a “leap of faith” in my search though that seems to be contained in some of the more remote oral history of our Family (and many others).

While the World Wide Web has allowed for the incredible, expedited transfer and sharing of much relevant and accurate data from Family to Family there is a downside. I see many errors embraced by one line and then gleefully or ignorantly promulgated by them at their (and the record’s) ultimate expense. For example, I recently noted several lines descending from one of our ancestors where we have a definitive, confirmed date of birth. Somewhere back in time a family historian (not ours) transposed two digits where 1601 becomes 1610. That error has been passed down through several generations casting doubt on the credibility of their overall records. With that said if you are want to embrace someone else’s work – beware and use extreme caution though you may come up with that one pearl (that date of birth or Father, Mother, etc.) from that source that may allow you to expand on a line.

When I was a lad of ten years, perhaps earlier, I remember my Mother’s Mother, Mary Richmond Seabury Littlefield (1889-1967) working on the Family genealogy at 29 Cottage Street in Pawtucket, RI. Granny’s work contains scores of handwritten notes and narrative about the Family and we are still trying to interpret and place in context. It is amazing that she was able to accomplish so much with so few resources. I often wonder her potential had she access to the Internet...

The Buxton Family Association was founded by my Great Grandfather Dr. G. Edward Buxton (1849-1925) in 1903. Dr. Buxton also designed and assumed the coat of arms for the BFA though with the full knowledge (maybe chagrin) of the College of Arms. The distinctive Buxton coat of arms contains a unique charge (element) that has been attributed to a, “curious achievement” of a certain Seneschal de Buxton of Bordeaux at the time of Richard II (1377-1400) and found in the arms of the Buxtons of Belefield, Dorset Co. (Sir. Thomas Fowell Buxton); Buxtons of Dickleborough and of Tibenham, Norfolk Co., England, “Argent a Lion rampant tail elevated and reflexed over the head Sable.” The rampant lion with tail elevated over the head does not appear in any other instance of heraldry and exclusively remains with the Buxtons. I have communicated with genealogists and one distinguished heraldic artist in the Court of Lord Lyon who are aware of this charge but not of its origins. No doubt that Dr. Buxton carefully and laboriously researched the Buxton genealogy that allowed a platform for discussion and debate long before the Internet and any rapid transmission of data was available.

This writer has not seen a verifiable and documented link to the aforementioned Seneschal though the UK Archives cast doubt on the pedigree claimed specifically by the Tibenham Buxtons which is different from that researched by Great Grandfather Buxton. Another UK Archive validates that following those times of the Conquest (1066 and beyond), the lord of the latter (Norfolk) was Bertram de Buxton who is noted in the Domesday Records of 1086. So the work continues…

When Dr. Buxton was consumed with his quest to define the Buxton Family History the best and most reliable sources for genealogical and historical data were Family Bibles; old census records; grave markers; local, state/provincial and national public (vital) records/archives, military records, poll books, property records and civil and ecclesiastical court records among others. Grandfather Buxton had to ferret out the desired information, individually identify and approach each source, research his query and then manually extract those records. It was time consuming and horribly tedious at the least.

The Church/Synagogue/Temple was/is the backbone of much genealogical research. Since the greater majority of folks could not read nor write until recent history we had to depend on the church’s learned clergy and the priests, monks and scribes of all religious persuasions who created and maintained many of these critical records dating from the advent of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the world’s other great religions. Unfortunately war, religious persecution (Henry VIII and others of that ilk) and political convenience have resulted in the decimation or corruption of many genealogical records including the Bible.

But all that is changing and there is a keen reawakening in our society for all matters genealogical. NBC and’s critically acclaimed and very popular hit TV show, Who Do You Think You Are? is back for its second season in 2011 and appears to be yet another portal for stimulating individual awareness of our Family history and origins. This show is suspiciously similar to the PBS series, Faces of America, hosted by one of my personal heroes, Harvard professor and scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. Gates also created and hosted the enlightening and very popular African American Lives and African American Lives Two which also highlights the latest tools of genealogy especially including genetics (DNA) to explore the family histories. We look forward to more enlightening and inspiring offerings from Professor Gates and PBS. Because of the Gates inquiries (not unlike Alex Haley’s Roots), the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) and other like organizations and the general availability of genetic testing, we have just started to again scratch the surface.

Through my Mother Elisabeth Alden Littlefield Buxton I am a hereditary member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) a charitable, nonprofit educational institution located in Boston, Massachusetts. NEHGS is the oldest (1845) and one of the largest genealogical societies in the United States and maintains active archives and a state of the art research center that "collects, preserves, and interprets materials to document and make accessible the histories of families in America."

There are many credible genealogical resources available and that includes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church aka the Mormons) who place great emphasis on genealogical research. I have been to their Family History Library in Salt Lake City and found myself and my Family. We are all there “waiting to be saved.” By way of explanation LDS Church doctrine states that "saving ordinances" (including baptism and confirmation), “must be made available to every individual who has ever lived. To make these ordinances available to people who did not have the opportunity while living, Mormons identify their ancestors and arrange for baptism and other ordinances to be performed for them by proxy—that is, with a living person standing in for the deceased person—in a temple. Often referred to as temple work, this search for ancestors is an important part of the Mormon faith.” Maybe we will all ultimately end up on the rolls as Mormons... Whatever, they can be a valuable resource and I intend to continue using them as a resource and thank them profusely for their hospitality.

For all you Family historians and would be genealogists (that’s me) know that you have resources easily available to you in on-line data bases that literally include much of the recent history of Man. But be cautious of your sources and double check all your data and use accepted genealogy protocols for the collection and input of all your data. Know that most European records will take you back to the sixteenth century and earlier. Also note that the first census in the united States was 1790 and try not to use USA when doing searches prior to the formation of the United States (know your history). Also be curious about different spellings of the same names. Surnames evolved through the centuries and you may have a direct descendent with a different spelling of the same name (e.g. Buxton v. Bukestuna).

If you are trying with a wink and nod to prove direct lineal descent from the god Woden, have fun and good luck! If you are trying to engage a more modest genealogy, then surround yourself with all the tools you will need. We chose as our major on-line resource and our results will be available for all to see and use. We also intend to collaborate with NEHGS and as many people of good faith as possible though it may eventually all come down to genetics (show me your genome and I’ll show you mine) per Henry Louis Gates Jr. and that’s OK. It’s a work in progress…

So, why go through all this effort in a society that seems to only care about NOW and what’s in it for them? Beyond the pleasure of discovering and celebrating who your great grandmother was and perhaps some of the contributions she may have made to Humanity, there is a higher calling that screams from the US National Archives – The Past is Prologue.” Let’s learn from whence we came so we can better prepare for our future.

Aside from all these often repeated platitudes we can appreciate that, “though the spirits of these people have moved on, their personalities their descendants. By researching ones ancestors, one may come closer to understanding oneself, 'the noblest undertaking of Man', according to Socrates.”


Ned Buxton