Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hallowed or Gallowed

I've recently been looking into my family's genealogy. We've traced our family back to Scotland and England so far, but past that it's a matter of speculation. However, I've come across two individuals that, by virtue of their name - John Austin (also my Grandfather's name) - must be considered possible relatives.

The significance of these two individuals is that, while I am the only one in my immediate family who chose to go into the legal profession, there may be some historical precedence for my decision. And, of course, in the Common Law, precedence is everything.

The first man is John Austin, a famous jurist. He developed theories on legal positivism and had an extensive impact on jurisprudence throughout Great Britain. If he proves a relative: mega bonus. This little fact added on to any law school essay might just make my ramblings a little more impressive, or impossible to ignore.

The second man is John Austin, a common thief, famous for being the last man hanged at the gallows at Tyburn, London. If he proves a relative: awkward. Suddenly my reputation at law school for handing down the heaviest punishments on Criminal Law exams becomes even more cruel.

2 comments:

rw said...

I love this fusion of genealogy with law....especially your relationship to the philosophy of legal positivism or the alternative, a common criminal. Either way, the monarch determines your fate and the influence it has in your legal life!!

Anonymous said...

As my name is also John Austin I may be related to you or them or someone? Pues quien sabe verdad?