JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Searching for documents - Patent Applications #general

Donna J. Israel

Jan Fine asked "Does it make sense to anyone else that a patent
application might actually be beneficial to someone doing family genealogy?"

Awhile back, a cousin was explaining the falling out between the children
and ex-wives of a cousin about whom I had known nothing more than a name.
Turns out he invented "Rabbit Ears," those two-armed antennae that used to
sit on top of every TV set in every living room on the planet.
The invention brought him a sizeable fortune over which his exes and
offspring are still fighting.

I learned more >from the newspaper articles that tracked the battle than I
would ever have culled >from family members -- including the fact that he
also invented the water-powered automatic potato-peeler. Okay, so they can't
all be winners.

The point is, discovering that a relative or ancestor applied for a patent
can send you off in new directions. If the invention was a hit, there might
be articles in newspapers, special interest or technical publications.

Patents, copyrights and/or their proceeds can also be passed along in the
holder's will. The names of beneficiaries - whether individuals, charities
or commercial enterprises - might open more avenues.

Even if the invention or creative work wasn't successful (or was totally
off-the-wall), the inventor might have had enough faith in it that he/she
wanted its value to accrue to someone.

To search copyright registrations, start here:

For patents and trademarks, go here:

Even if you don't find your family, you're likely to get a few good laughs.
And if you come across the water-powered potato-peeler, please let me know!

DJ Israel
Researching Israel, Horowitz, Blumenthal, Hecht, Schecter, Zyrardow,

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