Category Archives: Legal definitions

South Carolina’s Vagrant Act So… the South lost the Civil War, the Union marched its troops in, the slaves were freed, the freedmen and women were given equal treatment under the law, and everything everywhere was hunky dory. Um… no. … Continue reading

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The election When Alexander J. Taylor died in Kent County, Delaware, in September 1881, he left everything — everything — to his widow, Wilhelmina W. Taylor. He left her in charge of his estate. He left her in charge of … Continue reading

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Primary School Lands In June of 1883, the administrator of the estate of George Arlt, deceased, reported to the Probate Court for the County of Presque Isle, Michigan, that he had been successful in selling a piece of property belonging … Continue reading

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Avoiding conflicts of interest It is all too common a story in the records of the 1860s and 1870s. A story of some lives cut short, other lives changed forever. It’s a story that begins to be told in the … Continue reading

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The pony homesteads Tucked away in the records of Elbert County, Georgia, are some of the neatest genealogical records imaginable. In them, you can find that, in January 1874, Garnett Adams was the head of a family consisting of himself, … Continue reading

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A rare turn of phrase The Legal Genealogist often joins the rest of the genealogical community in whining about legal Latin. But the Romans are not the only ones we have to blame for obscure language in legal documents we … Continue reading

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The language of the law. Part Latin, part Anglo-Saxon, all confusing. Some of the most important types of records we ever come across as genealogists are estate records. All the kinds of documents that get created when someone dies: wills, … Continue reading

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Those 1890 statutes The Legal Genealogist is heading off to Oklahoma tomorrow, to speak at the Oklahoma Genealogical Society conference on Saturday and — with any luck at all — to track down some elusive Tillman County ancestors in the … Continue reading

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For the common law crowd Reader John Sparrow took one look at yesterday’s post about Black’s Law Dictionary and shot off a question. “Do you know if there are similar books for England and/or Australia?” he asked. “If so, could … Continue reading

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Best for genealogy Reader Pam Anderson had a great question after trying — and failing — to find a truly archaic legal term in her pocket copy of Black’s Law Dictionary. “On the Black’s Law Dictionary,” she asked, “any recommendations … Continue reading

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