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Records of passing

Get all the documents All Hallows’ Eve. All Saints Day. All Souls Day. Day of the Dead. The calendar here at this time of year can make some people think there’s something really macabre — or depressing — about the end of October and beginning...

Stamping the law

Finding early British laws It was entitled “An act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America, towards further defraying the expences of defending, protecting, and securing the same; and for...

A proper Halloween inquest

Cases of death Don’t blame The Legal Genealogist. The NYG&B started it. Really.1 So it’s all their fault. But what better topic to pick up on, here on Halloween 2017, than the topic of unusual ways to die…? Now I’ll admit I certainly...

Forty-two names

Licenses, 1762 style There are 42 names on the list in the records of the Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace held at York for the County of York the last Tuesday of July 1762. Every one of them is set out in full, with first name, last name and even, in...

Books not just for lawyers

Regional case resources It was first published in 1879. It was the first of its kind, and to folks out on the Great Plains, it was a critically needed resource. And, today, it can be exceedingly useful not just to lawyers, but to genealogists as well. It’s the...

Marking Iowa

Those historical markers Anything, but anything, can be used as a genealogical source. That’s the message we can all take away from a great piece by Thomas W. Jones in OnBoard, the newsletter of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, entitled “Perils of...

Finding Iowa laws

The laws of the Hawkeye State It’s the mantra of The Legal Genealogist. Repeated over and over until long-time readers and conference goers can chant it along with me. To understand the records, we have to understand the law. And not just the law in general, but...

Those Iowa place names

Saying them right The Legal Genealogist is headed to Iowa later this week for the Iowa Genealogical Society‘s Annual Fall Conference. On Friday and Saturday, October 20-21, at the Toad Valley Golf Course in Pleasant Hill, we’re going to talk about...

Gone to California?

Finding those wayward westerners It’s a surname that’s fairly uncommon, even today. In 1850, fewer than 3,100 people were enumerated in the United States census with the surname of Battles — or any spelling variant of the name. By 1940, there were...

The business of California

Reading the ads In just about every county, in most cities and many small towns, there is one source a genealogist can count on at least for background information about the time and the place. It’s the newspapers. Published once a week or once a day, sometimes...