Category Archives: Legal definitions

More than fighting words The indictment was returned in the fall term of court. The time: October 1878. The place: Mitchell County, North Carolina. Henry Masters, foreman of the Grand Jury, signed the document as a true bill, and it … Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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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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One letter … and a world of difference Reader Miriam D. has ancestors from all over the American south and, as a result, is struggling to understand the differences that sometime crop up between jurisdictions. And right now what has … Continue reading

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French name, common law purpose It has a funny name. And a deadly serious nature. And just about everybody pronounces it wrong. So The Legal Genealogist is on the road today, en route to the Spring Seminar of the Alabama … Continue reading

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Different times, different meanings She was, by all accounts, a strong and determined woman. Mother of four children, three surviving to adulthood, she raised her youngsters largely without the assistance of her husband. And therein lies the tale. Sarah Christina … Continue reading

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The not-so-obvious term Okay, this one seems like it should be a no-brainer, right? We all know what probate means. I mean, seriously, we can’t hardly consider ourselves genealogists if we haven’t at least looked at probate records, now can … Continue reading

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