On this first day of 2012, The Legal Genealogist takes flight. Let me take a minute to introduce myself.
My name is Judy Russell. I’m a genealogist with a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from George Washington University and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark. I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, for more than 20 years, adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School. I’m a Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on my mother’s side and entirely in Germany on my father’s side.
I’ve spent most of the last decade learning my trade as a genealogist. I’m a member of the National Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, and, among others, the state genealogical societies of New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas. I’ve attended the National Institute on Genealogical Research at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and completed Elizabeth Shown Mills’ course in Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis and Thomas W. Jones’ course in Writing and Publishing for Genealogists at the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University. I’ve written for both the National Genealogical Society Quarterly1 and the National Genealogical Society Magazine.2 And I lecture on genealogical topics as well.
My purpose in writing The Legal Genealogist is, in part, to help folks understand the often arcane and even impenetrable legal concepts and terminology that are so very important to those of us studying family history. Without understanding the context in which events took place and records were created, we miss so much of both the significance and the flavor of what happened. I hope you’ll find your questions answered here, and invite you to send along any question you have that you’d like answered. There’s a link at the top of every page (“Ask TLG”).
But this blog won’t just be about the law. As the title goes, it’s “genealogy, the law, and so much more.” With your help, it ought to be a lot of fun to see just what “so much more” will be (and how much trouble we can get into finding out!).