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The changing times

From freeholder to householder It changed, there in Tennesee, in 1809. You can — if you’re like The Legal Genealogist and a bit of a law geek and like to read the laws — see the change right there in the laws. It’s always fun for me, when...

To serve… or not

Tennessee’s militia laws Reader Kenna couldn’t understand it. The research target she was closing in on lived in Tennessee in the 1840s and, she was sure, should have been on a militia list she found. But his name wasn’t there. He’d been in the...

Guardian for a son

A father appointed by the court The question comes up repeatedly. Why would a father have to be named guardian of his own child? It came up again just this morning in a question from a reader. She was looking at an Indiana family in the 1860s, where the mother died...

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...

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...

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...

Becoming unAmerican

When the law said “no you don’t” One hundred and five (corrected) years ago tomorrow, a young couple married in Tarrant County, Texas. The bride: Maud Lillian Cottrell. Born 26 January 1890 to Martin Gilbert and Martha (Johnson) Cottrell and, thus, older sister...

Finding Maryland law

One-stop-shopping for the law of the Old Line State The Legal Genealogist is off today, heading south for the Fall Seminar of the Maryland Genealogical Society… but not — for once — to an airport. No, this afternoon I’ll be behind the wheel,...