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Law and law-related records at the conference

It’s FGS week, and The Legal Genealogist is frantically polishing images for the 40th annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies in Springfield, Illinois.

FGS1The conference gets underway Wednesday with Society Day — a full slate of lectures aimed at the many thankless tasks that society leaders and volunteers undertake and the skill set to help move the societies along.

The general conference opens on Thursday, and there’s something for everybody during three full days of presentations on everything from local law to international research.

Because this is the 40th annual conference, there will be a few special events during the four overall days of the conference — and other things to look forward to like the chance to get in on a raffle of a quilt that is absolutely stunning (with all the proceeds going to the Preserve the Pensions effort).

So there’s an awful lot to be looking forward to.

And, in case you hadn’t noticed, an awful lot for those who are interested in genealogy and the law (or law-related records).

Here are my genealogy-and-the-law picks for this week:

Wednesday, August 31

Session W-131, Advocacy for Genealogical Societies, presented by Teri E. Flack. “Genealogists face ever-increasing threats to the records on which we rely. Grassroots advocacy by the genealogical community can be a potent weapon to overcome those threats.”

Thursday, September 1

Session T-208, Becoming American: Research with Naturalization Records, presented by Kris W. Rzepczynski. “This program will explore the many resources available, whether online or in print, and successful research strategies to locate naturalization records.”

Session T-216, “Twelve Good and Lawful Men”: Jury Lists in Genealogy, presented by your truly. “One of the most common experiences of our ancestors with the courts was the requirement of jury service. Learn how to understand and use jury lists in family research.”

Session T-239, “Striking a Balance between Records Access and Privacy, presented by Jan Alpert, Jan Meisels Allen, and Frederick E. Moss. “Learn about legislative actions threatening access to state and federal public records and how you can support records access while respecting privacy concerns.”

Friday, September 2

Session F-316, “That She May Marry Again …” — Private Laws of Federal and State Governments, presented by your truly. “Many early federal and state laws were private laws—for individuals or families. Learn how to find these genealogical gems in federal and state collections.”

Session F-330, Ethics in Genealogy Commercial Products and Services, presented by David E. Rencher. “This session addresses the needs of the community of professional companies to be ethically true to sound genealogical principles in commercial products and services. Helen F. M. Leary Distinguished Lecture.”

Session F-331, Using and Understanding Irish Court and Prison Records 1700s to 1920s, presented by Fiona Fitzsimons. “Surviving court records are one of the great ‘catch-all’ sources for ordinary Irish people. They document those tried, convicted, and sentenced for breaking the law. I’ll survey surviving records, with an emphasis on what was unique to the Irish experience, and how that experience changed over time.”

Session F-343, Slave Tags: Researching A Southern Legal System That Mandated the Tagging of Slaves and Free People, presented by Janis Forté. “Researching slave tags: the southern 1767 to 1867 governmental system of mandating the licensing and labeling of human souls.”

Saturday, September 3

Session S-408, Using Tax Rolls to Prove Births, Deaths, Marriages, Parentage & Origins, presented by Elizabeth Shown Mills. “Tax rolls are a powerful problem-solving tool, if we squeeze from them all that they are worth. This hour demonstrates many strategies with case studies.”

Session S-419, Lincoln’s Laws and the Records of War, presented by yours truly. “President Lincoln’s General Order 100—‘Instructions for the Government of Armies … in the Field’—revolutionized the laws of war and created new records for genealogists to research.”

Session S-429, Revelers, Hogkillers and Disobedient Children: Early Illinois Laws, presented by yours truly. “The laws our ancestors lived by tell a story of life in early times. Early Illinois laws tell the stories of Blue Laws, wild animals, and children needing humbling.”

Session S-431, A Cohort of Criminals: Crime and Punishment in Britain, presented by Carol Baxter. “Has it ever occurred to you that a ‘missing’ British family member might have been in gaol? This seminar covers British criminal, penal and transportation records.”

Session S-452, A Family of Fiends, An Antebellum Tale of Southern Murder, presented by Jordan D. Jones. “Come hear a case study of research that proceeds from an eleven-word biography to discover bastardy, murder, and the acquittal of the victim’s brother.”

And remember: just because you’re tied to a job or housebound or have kids in school doesn’t mean you have to miss all the fun. There are recordings of some or all of the sessions from these conferences and events. I’ll have more on how to get in on that part of the conference later in the week.

Hope to see you in Springfield!

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