Friday, May 25, 2007

Voting for the Prothonotary

Friday, May 25, 2007
Male prothonotary warbler photographed at Fort DeSoto State Park, FL.

In Pennsylvania you can see, hear, and VOTE for a prothonotary. Now we birdheads know this word as it relates to a certain large, bright yellow warbler with a loud song and a predilection for wooded swamps. Our word is pronounced pro-THON-oh-tair-ee.

In Pennsylvania and on Prince Edward Island in Canada the prothonotary (pro-tho-NOTE-ar-ee) is an elected official of the court system.

Or, as Wikipedia (the source of the most accurate info that you can get in 2 seconds) defines it:
The prothonotary is the chief court clerk in certain courts of law in certain Anglo-American jurisdictions, including Pennsylvania and Prince Edward Island.

A few weeks ago, Julie was in western PA at a new bird festival in Oil City. An article about her appeared in the local paper and she brought a copy home for us to see. It was a nice article, but I was even more interested in the political ad I saw on page 2. Hey! Ms. Vlasnik has my vote. But we're going to have to follow a dress code....

In some instances from history, including from the Roman Catholic Church, we know that the prothonotary wore a golden robe. This is how our golden warbler got its name. Same as the cardinal, named for the crimson robe worn by the church's cardinal.

This, as my mom would say, is your obscure fact for the day!


On May 25, 2007 at 11:04 PM Anonymous said...

You've got MY vote!
Judy, IN

On May 26, 2007 at 12:02 AM Susan Gets Native said...

Mrs. Vlasnik makes me think of pickles.

Oh, wait. That's Vlasik.

On May 26, 2007 at 8:35 AM iwearpants said...

Up with golden robes, down with frilly collars.

On May 29, 2007 at 8:08 PM Anonymous said...

We live in Doylestown, the county seat of Bucks County, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Both my husband and I are lawyers and we say prothonotary (for the court officer) like you say it for the bird!

Martha and Tim

On May 31, 2007 at 11:24 AM Rondeau Ric said...

You are a font of knowledge Bill.