Author Archives: Judy G. Russell

How to begin with DNA testing Reader Elizabeth and her half-brother share a mystery parent: a father who was absent from their lives and about whom they know next to nothing. And when Elizabeth finally found that birth father as … Continue reading

Posted in DNA | 4 Comments

Easter at the Farm We were not, as a whole, a particularly religious family. There is no tradition of revivals. No great awakenings. No soaring sermons that come to mind when The Legal Genealogist thinks back to Easters past. The … Continue reading

Posted in My family | 8 Comments

Survival of records It is rarely the case, even in the worst of records disasters, that all is lost. Yes, the courthouse may have burned, but some records usually survived, and people often came back in after the fire to … Continue reading

Posted in General, Resources | 4 Comments

The clues in old New York So The Legal Genealogist had a great time last time with a very attentive group of genealogists at the Connetquot (New York) Public Library, talking about the legal rights of widows and orphans and … Continue reading

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Those good men, lawful and true It’s a phrase you see all over the court records, just about every time there’s a jury involved in the case. They are, the document will almost invariably inform you, good and lawful men. … Continue reading

Posted in Legal definitions | 2 Comments

The notion of freedom dues More than one reader wrote in response to yesterday’s blog post about children bound out, either voluntarily or involuntarily, as apprentices or servants, noting that they were confused about the issue of when, how and … Continue reading

Posted in Legal definitions | 2 Comments

Apprenticed or bound out So The Legal Genealogist was in Lakeland, Florida, this past weekend with the Imperial Polk Genealogical Society and one of the topics was the way the law dealt with widows and orphans. And the question came … Continue reading

Posted in Legal definitions | 13 Comments

One step closer Let there be no question about one fundamental fact: The Legal Genealogist loves cousins. First, second, third, fourth, doesn’t matter one bit, as long as (a) they are willing to donate just a little tiny bit of … Continue reading

Posted in DNA | 13 Comments

With love, to all of mine Some weeks have Mother’s Day. That brings a soft sad smile to The Legal Genealogist‘s face, as it has been years since I have had a living maternal forebear to celebrate with. And some … Continue reading

Posted in My family | 11 Comments

The flyman goeth You’ll see it in the transcript of some of the oldest trials. The jury is asked for its verdict, and the foreman stands to announce it. “How say you?” asks the clerk of the court. “Guilty or … Continue reading

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