Identity of Mary Genevieve Parker

I’ve tried to determine the identity of the inaugural head of the independent Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother General Mary Genevieve Parker, for several years. She appears in a photograph album assembled by my great grandparents on a trip they took to California from Wisconsin in the 1920s. Genevieve Parker’s death certificate listed her parents as James Parker and Ellen Nagel, my great grandmother’s uncle and aunt.

However, census records for James and Ellen Parker’s family from 1860 to 1880 do not list a Mary Genevieve Parker. The daughters in those censuses are Catherine, Mary, Ella, Frances and Theresa. Mary became Mrs. Thomas H. Lyons and died in 1915. Ella became Mrs. John H. Murphy and died in 1959. Theresa became Mrs. Frederick Donnelly and died in 1899. Frances became Mrs. Max von Beyer, but the last record I’d found for her until recently was in a Los Angeles city directory in 1909. It was possible she joined a convent and advanced rapidly. So while I suspected Mary Genevieve Parker was Catherine Parker, I couldn’t rule out Frances Parker.

However, two records recently came to light which helped me figure this out. One of them I’d had in my possession all along.

The first key was that FamilySearch recently added Los Angeles area death certificates to their “California, County Birth and Death Records” collection, and the index includes parents names. So a search for Ellen Nagel had Frances’ death certificate in the search results. She died in 1915 as Frances Parker Hilton, wife of Lewis Lorenzo Hilton. That allowed me to exclude her from consideration as Genevieve Parker, and also lead to me finding a whole host of other records about her: her 1900 US Census record (as Fannie Beyer), Max von Beyer’s death certificate from 1906, her marriage certificate to Lewis Lorenzo Hilton, and crucially her 1910 US census record.

The 1910 US census record was what put the final nail in the identity of Genevieve Parker as Catherine Parker. In 1910, Frances Beyer was enumerated as a teacher at a convent in San Luis Obispo. Several dozen names above hers as the head of the convent was listed Catherine Parker. I’ve had that record for years! assuming it was Genevieve Parker but without any evidence except a hunch. But somehow I’d never read down the complete list of names to see Frances Beyer near the bottom of the page. Her relationship to Genevieve Parker in that column? “Sister”.

1910 US Census page with Catherine Parker and Frances Beyer in San Luis Obispo, California
1910 US Census page with Catherine Parker and Frances Beyer

If only I’d read the entire page much earlier. In any case, it’s found now and I’ve identified all five daughters of James Parker and Ellen Nagle. Still left on my plate are what happened to 2 of the 4 sons and Ellen herself.

Seattle Police and ALPR

Last week I saw a post on Twitter from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announcing a series of meetings by SDOT, the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) and the Seattle Police Department (SPD) seeking public feedback on surveillance technologies already in use by the city agencies. In particular, they were to review the use of automatic license plate reader (ALPR) technology.

Interestingly, SPD did not promote these meetings on either their blog, SPD Blotter, or their Twitter feed. Also, all the meetings started right at 5 pm on weekdays. This is not the outreach of an agency that is really seeking public input. These are the actions of an agency that is going through the motions. The meeting I attended on 29 Oct 2018 had in attendance only three members of the public as well as a few other folks who perhaps were from the ACLU or other organizations. During the “small group discussion” only three of us participated.

The ALPR programs in use by SPD are PIPS (link) and Autovu (link). PIPS is used for automatic reading and storage of license plate data by the SPD Patrol division, as well as a few “boot vans” used by parking enforcement for “booting” vehicles that have 4 or more unpaid tickets. Autovu is used by their parking enforcement vehicles for “digital chalking”.

Briefly, PIPS cameras on patrol cars capture the license plate information, location, and time for as many cars as possible as the patrol cars drive around the city. A hot list is loaded into the system periodically, and if a license plate matches one on the hotlist, the officer is alerted and, after confirming with dispatch, may take action based on the match. All the data on licenses plates that have been read (the “read data”) are additionally “uploaded to a secure server” where trained officers may search for and retrieve data for up to 90 days after it has been captured. After 90 days, the data is to be deleted.

Autovu similarly records license plates, times, and locations. If, on a later drive by the same location, the vehicle is noted by the system to have exceeded the time limitations for parking, the parking enforcement officer is alerted and they may take action, such as ticketing the vehicle. The license plate data, other than what triggered a ticket, is discarded at the end of the day.

I had a number of concerns about the PIPS program, and after asking some questions at the meeting, they are intensified. I have submitted them to SPD for this review, but I wanted to write them out publicly as well. Some of my concerns about PIPS may also apply to Autovu, particularly those regarding the collection of the data, but because it does not retain read data I am less worried about that program. Keep in mind that while I am relatively savvy technically speaking, I am not a security professional nor have I studied ALPR systems in particular. That means that my worries may be somewhat uninformed. Nevertheless…


My first concern is that nowhere in the program description was there any description of their threat models. I asked SPD’s Director of Transparency and Privacy what threat modeling had been done with respect to the ALPR technology and programs, and she did not think any had been done. If an organization hasn’t modeled their threats, we have no idea if we’re protecting against the right things if we’re protecting anything at all. And given the tenor of the meeting, I suspect SPD isn’t protecting against anything at all. The department is focused about 99.8% on the benefits it gives them in chasing down crimes, particularly stolen cars.

Here’s where me not being a security professional is apparent. I do not know how to do any formal threat modeling. But I tried too look at various categories of possibly malevolent actors and review the program description for ways it might be misused. Some of these came from other people at the meeting.


SPD’s use of the system for its intended purposes

This is where the program is used by SPD for finding cars or investigating crimes but through bad policy the system infringes on the liberty of the people. In this category of concern, I asked the SPD representatives if the agency had used a racial equity toolkit (RET) to analyze the impact of the program on marginalized communities in Seattle. They had not yet. Looking at the process outlined in the description, most of the RET is completed after public feedback. Some of the first portions that they have indicated are affected are obviously wrong. For instance, to the question “Which of the following inclusion criteria apply to this technology?” they left unchecked the following:

  • The technology disparately impacts disadvantaged groups.
  • There is a high likelihood that personally identifiable information will be shared with non-City entities that will use the data for a purpose other than providing the City with a contractually agreed-upon service.
  • The technology raises reasonable concerns about impacts to civil liberty, freedom of speech or association, racial equity, or social justice.

To the first unchecked item, SPD simply doesn’t know because they haven’t studied the information. And they later state “An additional potential civil liberties concern is that the SPD would over-surveil vulnerable or historically targeted communities, deploying ALPR to diverse neighborhoods more often than to other areas of the City.”

Additionally, we give heightened protection to political speech. But deploying ALPR cars around protests, rallies, and other such “free speech activities” SPD has the possibility of criminal pretexts being used as fishing expeditions against opponents. SPD would have 90 days to fish through location data. These are just a couple of possibilities that I can think of off the top of my head. The technology obviously has reasonable concerns about impacts to freedom of speech.

Out of policy use by SPD officers

This is where SPD officers use the system for purposes outside what is allowed. Officers are required to undergo training and of course they are all sworn and background checked. The program administrator is supposed to approve all searches of stored read data, and the system automatically logs the officer, the terms searched for, the case number and the purpose for which the search is conducted. The SPD Inspector General (theoretically independent of SPD) can audit the system for misuse, as can the program administrator. When I asked SPD command staff how many instances of misuse of the system had been found during the 10 years the program has been in use, they answered “none to our knowledge”. It is unlikely in the extreme that not one officer has ever misused the system. Possibilities include officers tracking vehicles of girlfriends or rivals, locals that they want to keep tabs on, take bribes or favors to feed read hits to outside people, or simply get fed up with onerous requirements for logging and do things like re-use case numbers. An audit system that has uncovered no instances of misuse is either not recording the right information or is not being conducted thoroughly.

Out of policy use by other agencies

Agencies such as King County, the Washington State Patrol, the FBI or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) do not have direct access to the system. However, they may submit requests for information to SPD which send them responsive data. Such requests and responses are memorialized, but it’s unclear how and whether that is part of the same audit trail. Additionally, SPD did not articulate how they vet such requests, particularly with respect to Seattle’s policy of non-cooperation on immigration enforcement. ICE may be making direct requests for ALPR read data with nominally within policy reasons (e.g., for customs investigations) that are really for deportation reasons. Or they may be routing such requests through other agencies. Or there may be no issue at all. We have no way of knowing. This concern was brought to my attention by another attendee at the meeting.

Misuse of the data by the public

According to SPD, ALPR read data is subject to public records requests. There is nothing to stop me from submitting a request every 90 days for a CD of all ALPR read data, circumventing any protection we have by SPD erasing the data they hold after 90 days. While there may be restrictions on the legal use of such data, once it leaves SPD hands, we’ve lost effective control of it.

Misuse of the data by the vendor

According to the staff present, no security review of the software has ever been performed to make sure the software does what it’s supposed to do by the vendor, Neology. The software is closed source as well. Are there backdoors for support? Are there security vulnerabilities that allow exfiltration of the data?

Misuse of the data by IT

The City of Seattle consolidated almost all IT within a central department. The technical staff are not sworn officers, though they are background checked. According to staff present, as well as some hints in the program description, ALPR read data is stored in a SQL system. Which suggests to me that the data is both unencrypted and can be reviewed outside of the audit system that is used by SPD personnel.


Most of my privacy concerns could be mitigated by a policy of discarding all read data when it does not match a hit list and/or much stronger audit processes. That would not eliminate all concerns however. Additionally, I have some other concerns that I am giving a lower priority and not including here because this is already long and some of them verge on movie-plot threat type of issues.

I hope SPD takes all of these concerns seriously.

Featured image “Street-level Surveillance” created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Ellen Neagle’s family

My third great uncle James B. Parker headed west to California from Wisconsin about 1860. I’ve tracked he and his wife in the census from San Joaquin Township near Sacramento in 1860, to San Buenaventura, Santa Barbara County in 1870, to Compton in 1880. James Parker died in 1895 in Lemon, near Los Angeles.

But at the time he died, his wife was named Harriet. His wife when he left Wisconsin was Ellen. So what happened to her? At this point, I don’t know.

In an effort to find out, today I researched her family. Often times, the obituaries for siblings will mention their family. Or a will will give the status of possible heirs. Or other researchers will have found information that I don’t have.

The Saint Patrick’s parish (Biddulph, Ontario) marriage record for Ellen Neagle gives her date of marriage to James Parker as 8 Jun 1857.

Portion of marriage register for James Parker and Ellen Neagle showing date of marriage as 8 Jun 1857
Saint Patrick’s Marriage register entry for Ellen Neagle

I found an 1851 Canada Census record that matched in nearby Usborne township, Huron County. There Ellen Neagle lived with her father John Neagle, and siblings James, Thomas, Catherine, Mary and John. From that, I was able to quickly find information to establish their marriages, entries in later Canadian censuses, and dates of death. My evidence would in no way be strong enough to satisfy the Genealogical Proof Standard, but I don’t need it to be. I just need clues from their obituaries, wills, other researchers, etc.

This is what I turned up:

Husband: First Names
John
Surname
Neagle
Born: abt 1798 Ireland
Married: unknown
Died: unknown
Wife: First Names
Catherine
Surname
Condon
Born: unknown
Died: unknown

Children:

Name Birth Death Spouse
James Nagle 8 Dec 1826
Ireland
25 Feb 1902
Perth, Ontario, Canada
Thomas Nagle 28 Mar 1828
Cork, Ireland
31 Jan 1905
Perth, Ontario, Canada
Catherine Nagle abt 1832
Ireland
2 Nov 1902
London, Middlesex, Ontario, Canada
Thomas Casey
Mary Nagle abt Sep 1834
Ireland
17 Nov 1918
London, Middlesex, Ontario, Canada
John Hagarty
Ellen Nagle abt 1836
Ireland
James Parker
John Nagle abt 1837
Ireland
12 Nov 1902
Perth, Ontario, Canada

Every single one of them died in Ontario, so I don’t have easy access to obituaries or wills. Additionally, every other public tree on Ancestry (as well as the ones I could find on the web) don’t include Ellen. No one else has a clue either.

The exercise isn’t worthless though. Perhaps someday I will have better access to Canadian records, or other families will post their information, or search for them and stumble cross this post. Over time, I get a fair number of people who contact me about what I post here. So hopefully that will continue with this, and I’ll get some clues as to what happened to Ellen.

The Sisters Solle

One of the things that I want to do with my family history research is tell the stories of my forgotten relatives. One such set of relatives are my first cousins twice removed: Clarabel, Marie, Catherine and Helen Solle.

The Solle sisters are the daughters of my second great uncle Frederick Henry Solle. Fred Solle was an oil and gasoline dealer in Springfield, Illinois and he died young. After his death, his wife Emma Neff Solle took her four daughters and moved to Los Angeles. Clarabel married Fred Adams, who died a few years after their nuptials and they never had children. Marie and Catherine never married and never had children, so far as my research has found. Helen married Floyd Chandler, had one child, and died shortly after that. They also had a brother who died in infancy before their father passed away. Seven people and only one descendant to remember them. For such families, I often wonder what happened to their personal effects, particularly their photos.

While researching this week, I came across photos of Catherine (a.k.a. Kay) and Helen from their time in a Los Angeles area women’s club, the Wilshire Juniors. They appeared four times in the Los Angeles Times in 1½ years. The final one appeared in November of 1937 and is the featured image at the top of this post.

Mrs. Maurice Miller, Miss Kay Solle, Mmes. Ralph Mather, Henry Graef, Clarence Hausser, Miss Helen Solle and Miss Dorothy Berry (in front)
Mrs. Maurice Miller, Miss Kay Solle, Mmes. Ralph Mather, Henry Graef, Clarence Hausser, Miss Helen Solle and Miss Dorothy Berry (in front), from the 28 Apr 1936 Los Angeles Times
Miss Helen Solle, Mrs. Ralph W. Mather, Miss Kay Solle, and Mrs. Henry A. Graef
Miss Helen Solle, Mrs. Ralph W. Mather, Miss Kay Solle, and Mrs. Henry A. Graef, from the 9 Jun 1936 Los Angeles Times
Mrs. Louis Miller, Misses Kay and Helen Solle
Mrs. Louis Miller, Misses Kay and Helen Solle, from the 26 Sep 1936 Los Angeles Times

Now I’ve gotten to tell a bit of the story of two relatives who didn’t have as much chance to pass on their stories as some.

Swedish billing screws up

This afternoon I got a call from Swedish hospital’s billing office saying that I hadn’t payed my bill for my CT scan in March. I am working from a coffee shop.

I couldn’t get First Tech CU’s bill pay system to show me my detailed bill payment history, but I could see that there was a payment to Swedish. He looked around and found that payment on another account, and said he would transfer it over to the correct one. The call ended.

Two minutes later, I figured out the trick to get the bill payment system to show detailed history. And I found the payment. It wasn’t the one he found that he said he was going to transfer.

So I called back and got someone else. Talked to some other lady, and told her what I’d found. Told her to stop the first guy from doing whatever it was he was doing to transfer the other payment. I don’t think that happened.

Then I told her I have my bill payer up, and read off the payment amount and address. She tells me it’s the wrong address (provider office instead of billing office). I am wondering how I screwed that up, but it’s possible I think. She’ll track it down, she says. Phone call ends.

I am home for the night, and pull up my scanned bills. Huh. I have the address correct. Now I’m concerned that they really don’t know what the fuck they are talking about, because they ought to know the correct address.

It’s 12:30 in the morning, and I can’t sleep because this fucking screwup is occupying my brain. This is our fucking health care system. It’s not just the insurance. It’s that whenever you do anything, there’s a minimum of three bills. Each of the doctor, the facility, and the electric company at a minimum. Probably a few others too. Each of them has a pretty good chance of screwing something up. This isn’t the first time.

I want a goddamn case manager to deal with all this shit. I want the medical industry to do something about it. I want the government to do something about it.
There’s no goddamn good reason for this to be so complicated.

Wikitree becomes evil / Chris Whitten is a liar

Several years ago I stopped using Geni.com because they decided to make previously private profiles public. I started using Wikitree instead because the founder, Chris Whitten, promised that Wikitree would not do this. He lied. Let me re-iterate. Chris Whitten is a liar. I wish I had saved screencaps where he told me Wikitree would not do the thing it has now done.

Wikitree decided to take private information and make it public.

I have profiles of people that I had set to private that were made not only public, but editable by anyone. Because Chris Whitten thinks he’s a better judge of what should be private about my family than I am.

While there’s nothing about people who died over 100 years ago that I am worried about, I no longer trust Chris Whitten. I would have no problem if he decided this is how privacy levels will work for all new profiles. But to retro-actively remove privacy protections for information tells me he’d be willing to do it again. What’s to say he won’t decide to make public information about living people? Or recently deceased? He’s shown that their privacy policy isn’t worth the electrons it was printed with.

Even worse, Wikitree will not let me delete the information they’ve let me keep private to this point. So I’m stuck with leaving that information with an untrustworthy shitheel.

So I repeat. Chris Whitten is a goddamn fucking liar. Wikitree has become evil.

Edited to add: Employee Eowyn Langholf is also a liar. In her response to my complaint with the Washington Attorney General she stated that: ” no private information has or will be made public “. Which is incorrect. The profile of my great grandfather Joseph Peter Weiss was made public.

Adventures in medical insurance enrollment

When I put in my notice at the last job, I assumed my insurance would carry through to the end of the month. I had an MRI scheduled for my last day (a Friday), and the related oncologist appointment for the following Tuesday. In my exit interview at 1 pm on that Friday, I was informed that my insurance got cut off at midnight. I hadn’t read the documentation I was sent two days earlier closely enough.

So I scrambled to apply for insurance that day, rather than do it the following Monday as I’d planned. Got on WAHealthPlanFinder, put in my info, including that my last day of coverage was 3/24. Picked a plan. Got confirmation that night that I was approved and that I should call the insurance company (Regence) or go to their web site to pay. Start date 4/1.

Called the oncologist on Monday and delayed my appointment for a week. Called Regence to find out how to pay. They had no record of me. CSR said it took a couple of days to get in the system. That’s fine. I expect these things.

I get “secure email” from Regence on 4/3 saying they need a letter from my employer before they can approve my insurance, deadline 4/10. I submit it online the same day. Within the hour. On 4/5, having heard nothing, I emailed Regence asking what’s up. I get a non-committal response. There’ll be a new deadline if that doesn’t suffice.

On 4/10, having heard nothing I call my oncologist and delay the appointment until May.

On 4/11, I get a request for a document from my previous insurance, deadline for submission 4/25. Letter from the employer wasn’t good enough. Note that this is the day after the previous deadline. I immediately call Cigna, the previous insurance. The document from them arrives on 4/17, and I submit it online that day.

On 4/26 (the day after the deadline), having not heard from them and starting to worry, I call the underwriting department. They say they’ve approved it and I need to call the exchange to arrange payment. Payment goes through Regence anyway. So I call the exchange, they have no record of the approval and as far as they are concerned, it was approved on 3/25. I need to talk to Regence. So I call Regence again, the regular line this time thinking it’s out of underwriting’s hands. But the CSR just transfers me to underwriting. This time the underwriting person tells me the application was approved this morning at 10:36, but that there’s nothing they can do on their end to speed of processing any more. Later in the call, she tells me because it’s an exchange based policy, it will take 4 days to get the paperwork transmitted back to the exchange, rather than the normal two. This means that the earliest I would actually have insurance is the last day of the fucking month, but I’d have to pay for the entire month. But even that’s unlikely because after the exchange gets it the information has to be put back into Regence’ system for payment and then to send me my insurance card. So I won’t be insured until May at least, but I’ll have to pay for April.

And no guarantee that all this paperwork will be processed before my appointment.

So, frustrated, I file a complaint with the Washington Insurance Commissioner, explaining all this. Total delay that I’m responsible for is a few hours. Total delay due to Cigna is 6 days. Total delay due to Regence (and possibly some due to the Washington insurance exchange) is 27 days. So far. I request:

  • A refund of any premiums I have to pay for April.
  • That Regence word its document requests so that everything can be submitted in one shot, with requirements understandable to people who aren’t insurance terminology geeks.
  • That Regence staff its underwriting department sufficient that paperwork processing happens in a timely fashion rather than the day after deadlines.
  • A pony

I tweet the previous bit out too, tagging the Regence Twitter handle. That person wants my info and I’m reluctant to give it, having been on the phone for an hour today already. However, about an hour later she’s on the line with me and with the exchange at the same time, and the exchange is putting in a ticket to change my start date to 5/1. With the Regence person on the line, she doesn’t think there will be any problem approving it. It would have required me putting a request in to Regence and paperwork being sent back and forth without that. I also recorded all this portion. Thank you Google Voice! It’ll probably mean I get one set of insurance cards for a start date of 4/1, and a second set with a start date of 5/1.

I’d rather have gotten the insurance processed in a timely fashion, and my oncologist appointment not delayed for a month. But it’s better than nothing. And I still want them to rewrite their requests and staff the hell up. I doubt the insurance commissioner will order that however. Still, I hope Regence has to at least spend some cycles on responding to those parts of the request.

Genealogy: do not trust, verify

The last couple of days I’ve been doing some quick research on an in-law, Andrew Fischer of Campbell County, South Dakota. He married Anna Lindemann, a relative of mine. I generally do some research on an in-law’s parents, siblings and anyone else that can be considered “immediate family” in case those people’s lives reveal something about my family.

Andrew Fischer was born in South Russia in 1903 and came to the US in 1910. His parents, Andreas and Magdalena Fischer, had more children after establishing themselves in Campbell County, South Dakota. (However, see my note in the final paragraph of this post regarding Andrew’s parents.) The one I want to highlight is his brother, Arthur Fischer. Arthur Fischer was born about 1918 in South Dakota, and that’s where things go wrong.

Somewhere along the line, someone found an Arthur Fischer who was born in 1918 and died in 1988 and was buried in South Dakota. They assumed this Arthur Fischer was the son of Andreas and Magdalena. After all, what are the odds of more than one Arthur Fischer born in 1918 and connected to South Dakota? Pretty good actually.

Searching the Social Security Death Index for Arthur Fischers born about 1918 with some connection to South Dakota results in seven people:

Name Birth Date Death Date Last Residence (City,County,State)
Arthur Fischer 28 Oct 1918 6 Apr 1988 57754 Lead, Lawrence, South Dakota, USA
Arthur Fischer 17 Mar 1918 7 Aug 1997 32798 Zellwood, Orange, Florida, USA
Arthur Adolph Fischer 4 Jun 1916 22 Sep 2010 57078 Yankton, Yankton, South Dakota, USA
Arthur Fischer 3 Jun 1915 Dec 1961
Arthur M. Fischer 20 Mar 1915 7 Sep 1999 57437 Eureka, Mcpherson, South Dakota, USA
Arthur J. Fischer 6 Sep 1922 4 Dec 1993 57437 Eureka, Mcpherson, South Dakota, USA
Arthur Fischer 22 Feb 1922 Feb 1984 55112 Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota, USA

Two had their last residence in Eureka, just a 21 minute drive from Artas, where the “real” Arthur Fischer grew up. So which one is he?

According to ELCA baptismal records, the son of Andreas and Magdalena was born 17 Mar 1918:

ELCA baptism record for Arthur Fischer

The second Arthur Fischer listed above appears to be the correct one. Looking for an obituary for him, Genealogy Bank has the following (citing an obituary in the Orlando Sentinel):

79, Greenbluff Road, Zellwood, died Thursday, Aug. 7. Mr. Fischer was a quality assurance inspector for the U.S. government. Born in Artas, S.D., he moved to Central Florida in 1986. He was a member of Zellwood Golf Association. He was also an Army veteran of World War II and a member of Disabled American Veterans. Survivors: wife, Lois H.; sons, Bruce W., Inver Grove Heights, Minn., Bradley C., St. Paul, Minn.; sister, Elvina Huber, Mobridge, S.D.; brothers, John, Corvallis, Ore., Walter, Baxter, Minn. Woodlawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park, Orlando.

The obituary does not list his parents names, but the birthplace matches up. More importantly, Andreas and Magdalena had children named Alvina, John and Walter. Research on Alvina shows she married an Edward Huber. The Arthur Fischer who died in 1997 is the correct Arthur Fischer.

There are currently 10 family trees on Ancestry.com other than mine that include Arthur Fischer. As of today, all of them have his lifespan matching the first Arthur Fischer in the list above. And someone found the Find a Grave entry for the first Arthur Fischer, connected him to Andreas and Magdalena, added a bio, and included a photo.

That Arthur Fischer, however, was born in Napoleon, North Dakota, as his obituary states:

1988 obituary for the other Arthur Fischer

Maybe most of the people on Ancestry treat their trees there as “experimental” as I do, meaning, copy this at your own risk, as I haven’t verified everything. What’s on Find a Grave should be correct, however. People make mistakes. But it’s clear that noone has done much verification on the information for Arthur, they simply copied what someone else had. If you value the accuracy of your tree, do that verification before you copy a tree into your own. Assume that people make mistakes.

I’ve let the maintainer of the Find a Grave entry know, and I expect it’ll be corrected before too long. But those ten Ancestry trees, along with others on services I don’t use, will probably remain incorrect for years to come. A lesson from that is to remember that correctness of genalogical information is not proven by majority vote.

In my case, the easy things to find on Arthur Fischer didn’t reveal anything about Andrew Fischer, husband of Anna Lindemann. He died before Arthur, and I haven’t found any crossover in their records after childhood. In fact, in my better database (not my Ancestry tree), I haven’t included anything about the parents of the Andrew Fischer I’m interested in because I haven’t found a solid connection between Anna Lindemann’s husband and the rest of his family. Those same ten family trees are what suggested he is the son of Andreas and Magdalena. There’s a lot of suggestive evidence that backs that conclusion from those trees, but nothing solid, much less sufficient for a G.P.S. proof argument.

Initiative 1433 – Washington State Minimum Wage

Washington state already has one of the higher minimum wages in the Unites States, and our minimum wage is already adjusted for inflation every year. However, that does not mean we have a living wage. Initiative 1433, on the ballot in November, aims to increase wages for the working poor by increasing our minimum wage and instituting a few other worker-friendly protections.

I am sure there are some marginal businesses that this will hurt. If you are making a crappy product that is barely selling, having to pay people better wages may make your business not feasible.

I’d rather protect people who are marginally making it than businesses that are marginally making it. So, unsurprisingly, I am in favor of Initiative 1433.

The things it would do are:

  • Raise the minimum wage:
    Year Projected w/ Current Law New Minimum Wage
    2017 $9.55/hr $11.00/hr
    2018 $9.77/hr $11.50/hr
    2019 $10.02/hr $12.00/hr
    2020 $10.28/hr $13.50/hr
    2021 $10.56/hr $13.86/hr (projected)
  • Require businesses to provide paid sick leave at the rate of 1 hour for every 40 worked.
  • Require 40 hours of accrued sick leave to be rolled over every year.
  • Prohibit employers from requiring employees to find their replacements for sick time taken.
  • Prohibit discrimination against workers who use sick leave.
  • Expand minimum wage law coverage to include some additional caregivers who provide DSHS services.

The proponents of I-1433 claim that the new minimums will increase wages for 730,000 workers, citing the Budget and Policy Center (BPC). I can’t find with a cursory search how they obtained their numbers. In one place, the BPC says that 500,000 workers make less than $12/hour. The financial impact statement prepared for the voters pamphlet makes clear that a fair number of people will be raised out of poverty with I-1433, as it predicts a reduction in caseloads for a number of state programs that benefit the poor. the I-1433 opposition says that 1.13 million people make less than $13.50/hour in the state. That’s a lot of people who will be helped.

One of the big arguments against I-1433, as noted by the Defeat 1433 folks is that the initiative would cost the state $363 million through 2022. What they don’t note in that argument is that those costs are primarily due to a 4 year lag in collecting unemployment insurance premiums. In other words, rates for 2020 are based on what employers pay from 2015-2019. So we’d be paying out unemployment compensation based on the new minimum wage but collecting based on the old minimum wage. As unemployment insurance rate calculation is not affected by this initiative, the legislature could easily remedy that through a simple majority vote. If the legislature doesn’t want to, any shortfall is on them, in my view, not I-1433.

I-1433 also mandates sick leave. Workers at the low end of the wage scale don’t have much of a safety net if they can’t work. This gives them a safety net. The principle reason opposing this, according to the organization advocating defeat, is that it is unclear how much sick leave can be taken in a single year. That argument is based on rolling over 40 hours into a new year plus an additional accrual of 52 hours that year. How is a business to survive if they can’t tell if an employee might take between 0 and 92 hours of sick leave in a one single year??! You might think I’m being facetious with that claim, and you’d be right. A business allocates a certain percentage of money into a reserve account to account for that. That is approximately 5% of full time hours. It’s a fairly narrow range of unpredictability. I think they can adjust to the uncertainty a lot easier than low wage workers can adjust to the lack of income when they are sick.

It’s important to note that opponents of higher wages predicted gloom and doom when Seattle and Seatac raised their minimum wages. Nothing of the sort happened. Maybe the opponents will be correct this time, but it would be a first. And if they are correct, then the legislature can halt or roll back the increases.

A quick look at who is funding the campaigns, because I think that says a lot about who benefits. The Defeat 1433 campaign’s contributions come from the Washington Restaurant Association, the Washington Food Industry Association, and the Washington Retail Association. Their workers would benefit from higher wages. The other campaign is being funded by Nick Hanauer (a local businessman), unions (who might see higher dues from higher minimum wages), and a group called The Fairness Project. I should note that as of the information in the PDC’s database today, the proponents have raised over $3.8 million to the opponents $54,000.

Featured image for this post taken by Elvert Barnes and used under a Creative Common Attribution license.