Friday, July 29, 2011

Lowell Folk Festival this weekend

The Lowell Folk Festival takes place this weekend throughout downtown Lowell. At a multitude of stages, folk music acts from around the world will perform. Tonight's opening performances are all at Boarding House Park as are tomorrow evening's shows. During the day tomorrow and on Sunday, other stages will be at JFK Plaza, on Market St and on Dutton Street. As much as I like the music, my favorite part is the ethnic food booths that are scattered throughout the downtown. The weather forecast for tomorrow and Sunday predicts great festival-going weather, so if you're anywhere near the city of Lowell, please check out the 25th Lowell Folk Festival.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

GIS, the Humanities, and the Registry of Deeds

Yesterday's New York Times contained an interesting article about how GIS technology is being used by scholars in the Humanities to conduct deeper and richer analysis of past events. As examples, the article reviewed efforts by researchers to better understand the battle of Gettysburg and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s in the American southwest.

GIS first came to our attention here at the Registry of Deeds back in the late 1990s. The great potential of using digital maps connected to data of all types was immediately apparent, but the cost and availability of the technology back then tended to limit us to projections rather than projects. More recently, we've undertaken a couple of GIS efforts using the resources of MassGIS, the state's mapping agency, which has shown an amazing willingness to work cooperatively with other agencies. Our ultimate objective is to connect registry of deeds records - specifically digital images of recorded documents and subdivision plans - to a digital map. That map would serve as a type of visual index to our document holdings. Hover your cursor over a point of the map, and links to the chain of deeds for that property and any subdivision plans that depict that land would immediately be visible. Creating these links cannot be done programatically; it requires an incredible amount of customized effort by folks familiar with the records and the local geography. And until a critical mass of the records are geocoded - a point that will occur sometime in the future - there is no point in sharing a public interface. But be assured that this effort is underway. With the passage of time (and adequate funding), we will, sometime in the not-to-distant future, roll out an incredible addition to the ability of the public to locate and use the 10 million pages of records in our holdings.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bagged and Tagged

Several years ago we took our Records Books out of circulation and switched over completely to digital images. In order to make all of the images available to the public electronically we cut the pages of the record books from he binding and scanned them. After scanning, we stored the books in the basement of the building. We used two heavy elastics. One around the loose pages and the second to secure the matching binding to book insides. This method of storage worked well for a time, but recently some of the elastic have begun to dry-out and break.

Rather than just replace the elastics, we decided to move to a more permanent means of securing the books. We decided on plastic bags. Last week we ordered several thousand inexpensive 4 mil plastic bags that snugly wrap around the book firmly holding the binder and loose pages in place. The bags measure 14"X22".

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Attorney General to meet with Registers of Deeds

The Globe this morning reports that Attorney General Martha Coakley will meet with the Massachusetts Registers of Deeds Association to discuss "MERS, the filing of false or misleading documents with registries, and other matters." The meeting is supposed to occur on August 11.

At a meeting last month, the Registers Association voted to ask Coakley for such a meeting to obtain guidance on the two issues raised by Essex South Register John O'Brien - MERS and robosigners - which I recently wrote about here and here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thoreau Spends A Night In Jail

The summer after I graduated from high school I worked at Walden Pond for what was then Middlesex County. A bunch of us city kids traveled by car together to the rural, wooded Concord MA. We had never seen so many trees, at least not together.

We had various duties throughout the work period. I remember one time digging a ditch for a water main for a couple of weeks and another time clearing a path in the woods for future paving.

On one particular day I remember walking by an area marked off with small granite pillars and heavy chains.

The marked off area piqued my curiosity so I questioned the County boss.

Me: What's that.
Boss: That? that's where that guy Theruss lived.
Me: Who?
Boss: Theruss or whatever his name is. Supposedly, he moved from a nice house in Concord Center to a shack in Walden Woods. Wow.
Me: What did he do that for?
Boss: I don't know. He was nuts. I think he was the world's first hippie.
Me: (holding the chains) So this is where his shack sat?
Boss: Yeah supposedly, although Tommy (another County boss) tells me when he was a kid he remembers a hotdog stand here.

Did you ever have one of those moments when the stars align just a certain way and something/someone, for no rational reason, draws you? Well, for some unexplainable reason I became obsessed with the guy that lived in a shack in Walden Woods. I wanted/needed to know more.

With a little research the first thing I discovered was the man's name was Thoreau and not Theruss. And Theruss didn't move to the woods because he was a nut, he moved to the woods "to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived" (Walden).

Once I entered college, my obsession with Thoreau continued to grow. I read everything I could about and by Thoreau. But of all the things I read the most powerful to me was his essay titled Civil Disobedience. In Civil Disobedience Thoreau advocates peaceful resistance to a perceived injustice, an axiom followed by Gandhi and Martin Luther King just to name two.

And Thoreau practiced what he preached.

On July 23, 1846 Henry David Thoreau spent a night in the Concord jail for not paying his poll tax as a protest to slavery. It is said that on the night of Thoreau's incarceration Ralph Waldo Emerson went to visit Thoreau and as he looked through the cell's bars at his friend asked, "Henry what are you doing in there", to which Thoreau replied, "Ralph what are you doing out there". I guess that says it all about Thoreau.

During my college years I occasionally skipped class (hey, everyone did it) and drove to Walden Pond, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. We/I would soak up nature and reflect on how the world's first hippie changed the world.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Twitter Hits the Big-Time

Twitter has hit the big-time!

Just how big, is the big-time?
Big enough to lure the President of the United States and six of his possible challengers.

Earlier this week six presidential candidates engaged in a kind of mini-debate forum...using Twitter. Republicans Michele Bachman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson Thadeus McCotter and Rick Santorum went at it, trading tweat for tweat.

The battle lasted 90 minutes with 140 character jabs and jives going back and forth. Sure using Twitter like this is new, but the candidates seemed to have no problem using "Twitterspeak"...Check this out from Rep Michele Bachman... Obama failed. With ur help we can return the people's voice to the WH, restore fiscal sanity & make Obama a 1 term president.

For techie observers this Twitter forum was a perfect example of how social media is changing the world, in all areas. But as you would expect with any technology experiment, reports say there were down-sides to the event. Twitter allowed little interaction between the candidates and made it a little difficult to keep track of who was tweating what.

But heck, six presidential candidates is still hitting the big-time.

And President Obama is into Twitter too.
Last week the President conducted a first ever Town Hall Meeting using Twitter. Fellow tweaters flooded questions into the president. And he tweated answers right back at em. His staff considered the event very successful.

Twitter has hit the big-time and it is here to stay. I've believed in the potential of Twitter right from the beginning. When people knocked Twitter saying "I'm not interested in reading tweats about what someone ate for dinner", I would reply..."Neither am I. It is not the tool (Twitter) that's the problem. You can use a hammer to pound and make noise or you can build a house with it.

Looks like Twitter started building a subdivision last week.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Where Should I Meet My Attorney?

Recently many people have visited us that are unfamiliar with the lay out of the Registry of Deeds. They are here to close loans or purchase homes. More often than not these people ask where they should go to meet their attorney. Our Customer Service Department directs them to our closing room. The Closing Room is located in the rear of the building. After a visitor enters the courthouse and passes through the metal detector he/she should walk straight for about 100 feet and the Closing Ares is located on the right-hand side of the hallway. The room is equipped with tables and chairs for public use. AND it even has an Air Conditioner.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 20, 1969 man Lands on the Moon

It was forty two years ago today that man first landed on the moon. I remember it well. It was a hot night in Massachusetts. I was 18 years old and preparing for college in September. My father worked the night shift in a warehouse in Boston, so my mother and I watched the historic event on our black and white Zenith TV in our project home.

I found this video of the original lunar landing on YouTube. The posters description speaks volumes:

The video of the very first moon landing of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969! Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon with his now legendary words "One small step for man, a giant leap for mankind." This is a truly amazing video and it was in 1969!!! If you think about it, you have orders of magnitude more processing power in your mobile phone than they did in the whole space craft!! Incredible!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This morning in its Technology section The New York Times published an articles about "Li-Fi".
You know, I can't keep up with this stuff.

Do you mean you are unfamiliar with Li-Fi?
There it is again, Li-Fi. You see, I told you I can't keep up with this stuff. Am I supposed to know what Li-Fi is/does? I hope not, because I've never heard of it.

According to the New York Times article, Li-Fi is going to make us forget Wi-Fi.
Hey, wait a minute I just figured out what Wi-Fi is/does never mind Li-Fi.

Li-Fi technology transmits "high-speed data streams wirelessly"... and cheaply.
Cheap!? I like cheap. You've got my attention...go on.

The article states data transfer by light is nothing new.
OK, so what's the big deal with Li-Fi then?

The big deal is LED versus incandescent light.
The only LED I've ever heard of is my HDTV or is that LCD?

LED stands for "light-emitting diodes" and they are the heart of Li-Fi.
Oh, I'm starting to get it now.

You are?
Yeah, incandescent bulbs can transmit data but they do it poorly, so the old technology stinks and LED technology is much better.

Yes, you are right.
And I would guess the difference between the two is "LED lights can be more finely controlled than traditional incandescent bulbs which makes light-based technology more practical and economical".

Right again.
See, I told you I was getting it. Li-Fi transmits data at a high speed cheaply using LED lights.

By George I think you've got it.
Who's George?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Japan wins World Cup

We'll take a break from mortgages and real estate statistics to write about yesterday's World Cup soccer final which was won by Japan on penalty kicks. While certainly not a soccer fan, I still found yesterday's game fascinating to watch. For the first 30 minutes, the US had numerous scoring chances but repeatedly failed to put the ball into the net. It was not until more than 60 minutes had elapsed that the Americans finally scored. But the US revision to defensive tactics failed. With just a few minutes left, Japan took advantage of some sloppy defensive ball handling in front of the US net and scored the tying goal.

Midway through the 30 minute overtime, the US scored to pull ahead, 2-1. With goals in soccer so rare, I (and most others I suspect) felt that the game was over at that point. Not so the Japanese players. With just a few minutes left, they again tied the score after a post-corner kick scramble in front of the US net. Overtime ended with the game tied. The outcome would be decided by penalty kicks. The TV camera that pried its way into the Japanese pre-kick huddle showed their coach smiling serenely - a bad omen for the US, I thought. Penalty kicks are supposed to be sure things with a rare save often being determinative. But the US shooters didn't rise to the occasion, almost as if they knew they lost the game by giving up that tying score. The Japanese players drilled home more balls than the Americans, and won an amazing victory. If it hadn't been the US team opposite them, we all would have been cheering for the Japanese.

Friday, July 15, 2011

More on robo-signers

Yesterday I wrote about a Globe article that featured my colleague, John O'Brien, the Register of Deeds of Essex South, and his efforts against MERS and robo-signers. Yesterday I addressed MERS; today it will be robo-signers.

The issue is that several large national lenders or the servicing contractors who worked for them, would take corporate votes authorizing a particular employee to sign certain foreclosure-related documents for the bank (as we'll collectively call the lenders and their servicing companies). With the collapse of the real estate market, however, there were too many documents from places too far away for that authorized person to sign in a timely fashion. Instead of the bank formally adding more people to the list of those who can sign on the bank's behalf, the bank left its employees to fend for themselves. Many took to signing the name of the one authorized employee to any documents that passed the non-authorized employee's desk. In all of these cases, a notary public acknowledged the signatures, affirming that the authorized signer, who very well could have been in another time zone, "personally appeared and acknowledged the foregoing to be his free act and deed." These documents were then presented for recording and were recorded at registries of deeds across the country.

Register O'Brien has obtained the services of a forensic document examiner who has identified several dozen names whose signatures on real estate documents were made by different people. O'Brien believes these documents are forgeries and is now refusing to record any documents signed by the previously identified "robo-signers" unless they are accompanied by affidavits attesting to the accuracy of the signatures and acknowledgements. Instead of signing such affidavits, the banks have re-executed at least 14 documents in this category with other authorized employees signing for the bank.

In general, registries do not determine the authenticity of documents. If, on its face, a document has been signed and acknowledged, it's recorded. Claims of forgery or fraud are then directed to the Superior Court for a judicial determination. Common sense, however, tells me that this rule is not absolute. If I no with absolute certitude that a document is a forgery, I believe I would be justified in rejecting it.

The question then becomes "what is absolute certitude of forgery?" and I'm not sure what the answer is. I am sure that it requires a very high standard of proof because registries should not be recording documents based on a mere suspicion or hunch that they are forgeries. O'Brien has the opinion of an expert witness, which is undoubtedly strong evidence that someone other than the person name signed that person's signature. But this case gets more complicated because it implicates various aspects of the law of agency. I haven't studied that in any depth for twenty-five years, but I do recall that in addition to actual authority to bind a principal (as the case of the person authorized to sign on behalf of the corporation) there are also things like implied authority and ratification. I'm not suggesting that either of those documents do apply here, only that they might. Consequently, there are many unanswered questions about this issue. As I suggested yesterday, a court case that resolves this would be beneficial to everyone.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Globe features Register John O'Brien of Salem

Today's Globe business section has a major story on Essex South Register of Deeds John O'Brien and his efforts against MERS and "robo-signers." Because of articles such as this, there is increasing interest in this topic, so it seemed appropriate to address it here.

As I understand it, there are two separate issues. The first is Register O'Brien's assertion that MERS - Mortgage Electronic Registration System Inc - owes the Commonwealth millions of dollars in recording fees for mortgage assignments that were never recorded. With the second issue - robo-signers - O'Brien contends that employees of a number of major national entities or their related mortgage servicers signed the names of other employees to documents that were (and still are) presented for recording. O'Brien maintains that these signatures are fraudulent which would make the documents legally void and for that reason, he is refusing to record them. In the interest of space, today I'll address the MERS issue. Tomorrow we'll deal with robo-signers.

MERS first came to my attention in 1999. During the real estate crash of the early 1990s, many banks failed and it became difficult if not impossible for homeowners to obtain the legal documents necessary to establish that mortgages had been assigned or discharged. The purpose of MERS was to have a single entity that would hold the mortgage, almost as a trustee for the financial entity that held the underlying promissory note. With MERS, consumers would have a single point of contact for legal documents related to their mortgages. Now this arrangement does run counter to a fundamental principle of Massachusetts real estate law - that being that the mortgage always follows the note - but from 1999 until the commencement of this most recent housing collapse, everyone seemed to think MERS was a pretty good idea and no one complained about it.

At some point after the current real estate collapse, Register O'Brien (probably among others) contended that whenever a promissory note was transferred from one party to another, MERS should have recorded a corresponding assignment of that mortgage and paid the $75 recording fee. His estimate of the amount of fees owed, I believe, is based on the number of MERS mortgages recorded but not assigned.

Because, as I mentioned earlier, the MERS arrangement does ignore the Massachusetts "the mortgage follows the note" rule, it would be very useful to have a court decide whether O'Brien's interpretation of this arrangement is correct. The reason I say a court decision would be useful is that the pro-MERS side does have some arguments that the MERS system was valid legally. For example, there is no legal requirement that any document be recorded at the registry of deeds. When you buy a house, you do not have to record the deed you receive. It would be stupid not to, since by recording it you receive all the protection of the recording statute, but the law doesn't require that you record to convey title. The same is true for an assignment of mortgage. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts implied as much in the Ibanez case not too long ago. That case involved "missing" assignments. The court held in that case that a lender could prove the fact of an assignment through a variety of means in addition to the traditional way of recording a document.

This is not to say that MERS did not have to record the assignments. Perhaps it did; but with the arguments against it, I think it inevitable that the question would have to be resolved by the SJC or the Legislature. By bringing this issue into the public eye, Register O'Brien is speeding the resolution of this very important issue.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Google+ Captures the Headlines

Everyday I look at the Technology section of Google is very helpful if you like keeping up with what happening in the computer world. This morning I found my visit to Google News especially interesting. Here are some of the headlines I saw today:

Google+ Will Let Users Conceal Gender

Google+ Faces Thorny Online Identity Issue

Can Google+ Be a Facebook Killer

Google+ Won't Kill Twitter

and then there are theses...

Study: Google+ Population Explodes to 10 Million

Google+ Already Ran Out of Disk Space

Social Networking Privacy-Beyond the Google+ Hype


Google+: The Verdict So Far

Google+ Offers Chance For A Social Reboot

I think you are getting my point...Google's new social networking site, Google+ is the big, or should I say the big, big news in today's Technology world. Right now, the media is obviously in love with Google+.

I think if I was Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg I'd be a little worried. But maybe this headline in the Google News Technology section says it best:

Mark Zuckerberg Shuts Google+ Account, No Longer Most Popular User

Mmmmmm, I wonder why.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Federal Debt Limit and the housing market

I'm not an economist, but the more I try to learn about economics by reading the work of those who are, the more I realize it is a field with wildly different interpretations of the facts and prescriptions for solving the country's problems. When I read that a failure by the Federal government to increase the nation's debt limit by August 2 will be disastrous to our economy, I'm not sure whether to believe it. Are these the same people who were oblivious to the housing bubble back in 2004-2007? If so, they don't have a lot of credibility with me.

Still, common sense tells me that a failure to reach a deal on this - presumably some combination of cuts and revenue increases - will be a bad thing. There won't be enough money to pay all of the country's bills and so payments of the money that is available will have to be prioritized. What gets paid first: interest to bond holders or combat pay to a GI in Afghanistan? Where do folks relying on social security fit? It's all unknown at this point.

When a household has trouble paying its bills, its credit rating deteriorates and it costs more to borrow money in the future. I assume the same thing will hold true for the US. To attract money we will have to pay higher rates of interest. That, in turn, will have a collateral effect on the housing market. If interest rates on US obligations rise, so will mortgage rates. With the housing market as bad as it is already, a spike in the cost of borrowing would be an enormous setback.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Plan Printer Fixed

A Xerox repairman just left the registry of deeds. He seems to have fixed the Plan Printer problem described below...we hope.

Plan Plotter Not Printing Scale Size

Unfortunately, for the past two months we have been experiencing some major problems with our Xerox Plan Plotter. This is truly unusual. This 6204 wide format printer is our second Xerox Plotter and for the most part both of these machines have been very reliable.

Here is the problem(s)...for some reason and only occasionally, when scale plans are order the 24"X36" paper roll gets jammed in the tray (fax size and 18"x24" print fine). And there is more...this paper jam causes the plotter to loose its link with the computer server that holds our plans.
Usually clearing the jam and re-establishing the link by rebooting the the computer solves the problem... for awhile. Yes, this easy to do and keeps us running.

But today, the problem reached a crisis level...a customer sent a 24"X36" plan to print and the plotter jammed. We cleared the jam as usual, then a second 24"x36" was sent to print, another jam. This occurred numerous times this morning.

We called the Xerox Maintenance Department. Someone is scheduled to come out sometime this afternoon to check the plotter.

So unfortunately, at this time the public CAN print fax size and 18x24 plans but can NOT print 24"x36" plans.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Lowell Superior Courthouse Wonderful Example of Arts & Craft Styles

I must admit, sometimes I feel guilty. Working in the Lowell Superior Courthouse everyday I often take for granted the beauty of the construction and finish work in this historic building. Today, I want to specifically mention the remarkable wood trim that adorns this 110 year old building.

Pictured at the bottom of this page is a judge's bench on the first floor of the addition. Built in 1895, this woodwork is a classic example of the Arts & Crafts movement that dominated this period.

The Arts & Crafts movement was a reaction to the ornate style of the Victorian Age and the mass production of the Industrial Age...Mainly built with Quarter Sawn Oak, the beauty of Arts & Crafts woodwork is in its simplicity of design and construction.

Example of a Quarter Sawn Oak Panel. The distinct patterns are called Medullary Rays. You can find examples of these throughout the courthouse.

Finally, don't be like me... the next time you visit us, be sure to enjoy the building's craftsmanship...

Click to enlarge photo

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Deeds and the release of homestead rights

Increasingly deeds presented for recording contain waivers or releases of homestead. Some are embedded in the text of the deed; others accompany as an attachment. I believe this new trend is a result of the automatic homestead contained in the major revision to our homestead law that occurred back in March. In cases where two spouses jointly own a home and both sign the deed conveying the property, no issue of lingering homestead rights should arise. But where the property is owned by only one spouse, the other would be granted rights in the property by the automatic homestead. When it comes time to sell the property, only the title-holding spouse would normally sign the deed. In such a case, it would seem that the non-titled spouse's homestead rights would continue uninterrupted. To put an end to those rights, attorneys increasingly are having the non-titled spouse sign something that clearly relinquishes any such homestead rights. To me, this is a bit of a throwback to the age of dower, that ancient practice that protected the property rights of the wife in the event of the earlier death of the husband. If you look at almost any deed from the 19th century, you will see that the non-titled spouse "releases rights of dower." I see this new homestead-releasing practice as being much like that practice. Here at Middlesex North, we're treating this kind of release of homestead as a basic part of the deed and are not deeming it to create a "multiple document." I suspect at some other registries, the multiple document rule will be invoked and the fee for such deeds will become $125 for the deed and $75 for the release of the homestead for a total recording fee of $200.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

3D Not For Me

I don't like 3D TVs...not yet anyway.

I find the need to put glasses on to see the 3rd dimension uncomfortable, cumbersome, awkward, annoying, irritating, vexing and down right ridiculous.
I truly can't understand why in this day and age "they" can't figure out how to make 3D TV that works without glasses.

Here is how the brain digests 3D... "3D glasses work by providing a separate image to each eye. The brain then combines the two images into a single image with 3D characteristics. The 3D process fools your brain into thinking it is seeing a 3D image, so it creates one for you". (

Yeah but, forgot to add the glasses are uncomfortable, cumbersome, awkward, annoying, irritating, vexing and down right ridiculous.

There are actually two types of 3D glasses, Passive and Active.
Passive glasses are less expensive than Active, but the resolution is far inferior to Active glasses and they are uncomfortable, cumbersome, awkward, annoying, irritating, vexing and down right ridiculous.

Active glasses create a great picture but are expensive and uncomfortable, cumbersome, awkward, annoying, irritating, vexing and down right ridiculous, too.

I remember when I was a kid I went to the Strand Theater in Malden to see my first 3D movie. It was called 13 Ghosts. It was 1960 and I was nine years old. When I walked in to the movie theater I was handed a pair of "3D glasses so I could see the ghosts. I found the glasses uncomfortable, cumbersome, awkward, annoying, irritating, vexing and down right ridiculous.

Now, 41 years later it is time for the 3D world to change.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Mid-Year Statistics

With the arrival of July, we're half done calendar year 2011 so we have statistics for the month of June and for the first half of the year:

For the month of June 2011, deeds were down 17% from June 2010 (597 to 494); mortgages were down 20% (1105 to 883); foreclosure deeds were down 30% (60 to 42); and orders of notice were up 7% (60 to 64). While the decline in deeds and mortgages is unfortunate, it is consistent with the percentage decrease we've seen in April and May and may be more a consequence of a mini-boom in real estate last spring created by the Federal first-time home buyer tax credit than any current weakness. The rise in orders of notice is disappointing, but the first few weeks of this June saw a much higher rate of increase, so a difference of +4 is not too bad.

For the first half of 2011, deeds were down 11% (2698 in 2010 vs 2399 in 2011); mortgages were down 3% (5374 v 5210); foreclosure deeds were down 41% (345 vs 202) and orders of notice were down 40% (655 vs 393). The slight declines in deeds and mortgages is a function of the robust market in the early months of 2011 which were tempered by declines in the spring, with the same being true for orders of notice and foreclosure deeds.

Friday, July 01, 2011

July 4th Quiz

OK, its that time of year again, the 4th of July, my favorite holiday. Below is our annual July 4 quiz...give it a try.

1. In what Massachusetts town were the first shots fired during the battle on April 19, 1775?
a) Cambridge b) Concord c) Boston d) Lexington

2. Where was the battle fought during which the British surrendered to the Americans ending the War for Independence?
a) Yorktown b) Saratoga c) Trenton d) Dorchester

3. In what state were the words to the Star Spangled Banner written?
a) Virginia b) Maryland c) North Carolina d) New York

4. What is the name of the oldest US Navy Ship
a) The Liberty b) The Constitution c) The Seaward d) The Pequod

5. Which of the following was not one of the original 13 American colonies
a) New Jersey b) South Carolina c) Vermont d) New York

6. Who was the President of the Continental Congress that passed the Declaration of Independence?
a) John Hancock b) John Adams c) Richard Henry Lee d) Ben Franklin

7. How many members are there of the US House of Representatives?
a) 50 b) 355 c) 435 d) 500

8. Who becomes President if the President and Vice President become incapacitated?
a) Senate President b) Secretary of State c) Supreme Courthouse Justice d) Speaker of the House

9. The original signed Declaration of Independence is located in what city today?
a) Washington DC b) New York c) Philadelphia d) Boston

10. Which of the following people did not sign the Declaration of Independence?
a) Ben Franklin b) George Washington c) John Adams d) Thomas Jefferson

Scroll Down for Answers

Quiz Answers

1.d)Lexington; 2. a)Yorktown; 3. b)Maryland 4. b)The Constitution 5. c)Vermont 6. a)John Hancock 7. c)435 8. d)Speaker 9.a) Washington DC 10. b)Washington