The Legal Genealogist takes flight!

Judy G. Russell

On this first day of 2012, The Legal Genealogist takes flight. Let me take a minute to introduce myself.

My name is Judy Russell. I’m a genealogist with a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from George Washington University and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark. I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, for more than 20 years, adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School. I’m a Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on my mother’s side and entirely in Germany on my father’s side.

I’ve spent most of the last decade learning my trade as a genealogist. I’m a member of the National Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, and, among others, the state genealogical societies of New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas. I’ve attended the National Institute on Genealogical Research at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and completed Elizabeth Shown Mills’ course in Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis and Thomas W. Jones’ course in Writing and Publishing for Genealogists at the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University. I’ve written for both the National Genealogical Society Quarterly1 and the National Genealogical Society Magazine.2 And I lecture on genealogical topics as well.

My purpose in writing The Legal Genealogist is, in part, to help folks understand the often arcane and even impenetrable legal concepts and terminology that are so very important to those of us studying family history. Without understanding the context in which events took place and records were created, we miss so much of both the significance and the flavor of what happened. I hope you’ll find your questions answered here, and invite you to send along any question you have that you’d like answered. There’s a link at the top of every page (“Ask TLG”).

But this blog won’t just be about the law. As the title goes, it’s “genealogy, the law, and so much more.” With your help, it ought to be a lot of fun to see just what “so much more” will be (and how much trouble we can get into finding out!).

  1. Judy G. Russell, “‘Don’t Stop There!’ Connecting Josias Baker to His Burke County, North Carolina, Parents,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly, March 2011, 25-41.
  2. Judy G. Russell, “Autosomal DNA testing,” National Genealogical Society Magazine, October-December 2011, 38-43.
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13 Responses to The Legal Genealogist takes flight!

  1. Craig Manson says:


    Welcome to the geneablogosphere!James Tanner(Genealogy’s Star) and I GeneaBlogie are two of the lawyer-genealogist-bloggers out here. James often blogs about tech issues, and I’m, well, somewhat eclectic. I look forward to reading The Legal Genealogist!

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Thanks, Craig! I like “eclectic”!! And I often read both your and James’ blogs — I just have to find time to comment as well.

  2. Judy,

    I’m very glad you are starting this blog. Legal issues as related to researching genealogy can be very confusing for us non-lawyers. I’m looking forward to learning from your blog.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Thanks, Marian! It should be fun for us all to explore these wild, wacky and often incomprehensible issues!

  3. Judy,

    I’m looking forward to following your thoughtful blog. Thank you for taking the time to write on something that baffles so many of us!

  4. Judy,

    Welcome to the blogging world. I have bookmarked your blog today, knowing that I will have much to learn from you. It is wonderful to have someone try to put the legal side of genealogy in terms all can understand.

    I look forward to reading more.

  5. Sharon K. Harshman says:

    Yes I agree, and I would like to know if we can “subscribe” to your blog? Is that something you can do to a “blog”???????????. I don’t know, but I have been doing Genealogy for about 25 years now, both mine and other’s, when I am not trying to help adoptees find their birth families from here in Ohio. But I love doing them both. But I wish you well on here, and say “Good-Luck”.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      First, thanks for the good work you’re doing! Second, thanks for the good wishes! Third, it’s easy to “subscribe” to a blog. Just about every one has what’s called an RSS feed, and you just click on that link (for me it’s here) and you can use any of a whole number of RSS readers to read my blog and lots of others. I find the easiest for me is Google Reader, but I think AOL members have a reader built in to their home pages too.

  6. Pingback: Follow Friday: This Week's Favorite Finds » Climbing My Family Tree |

  7. Hi Judy,

    I’m so glad to see your terrific efforts here–I was in the Tom Jones class last summer, too, and I had LOTS of questions I wanted to ask you. :-) My own blogging efforts seem to be on hiatus–it’s a lot of work. Thanks for this–

    Oklahoma City

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Hi, Debra (nice to “see” you again)! And thanks so much for the kind words. Tom’s class was certainly a spur towards launching this — all the wonderful encouragement we got there.

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