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Thanks for what’s been and what’s to come

If there is anything in genealogy that The Legal Genealogist has learned, it’s how much more there is to learn.

And one of the most fun ways to learn is to teach — and then get challenged with some top-notch questions from top-notch genealogists.

That’s what my day was like yesterday when I had the opportunity to attend the Monmouth County, New Jersey, Genealogical Society meeting and spend some time talking about autosomal DNA.

It was a wonderful experience, being with so many active and enthusiastic folks, whose questions took me right to the edge of what I knew and challenged me to learn more. What a joy!

So a great big thank you to the Monmouth County Genealogical Society!

And while I’m on the subject of questions and presentations, folks have asked where else I might be speaking, so let me take just a moment here and let you know about some upcoming events in the next few weeks where I’d love to have you join me.

APG Professional Management Conference, Salt Lake City

March 20, 2013

Order in the Court: Hands-on with Court Records

From the smallest of the county courts to the highest court in the land, legal institutions have long created records that are among the most valuable genealogical documents we can find. But are we getting the most out of each record we find? This in-depth hands-on workshop will walk participants through tips and tricks to make sense of and extract every detail from a variety of records created by courts at all levels.

More Than the Begats: Using the Law to Spice up a Research Report

Sure, the client wants to know that John was the son of Samuel, who was the son of Richard. But more than that, the client wants to know how Richard lived, and what it would have been like growing up in Samuel’s time, and the conditions when John was raised. When no record talks about John and Samuel and Richard, learn how the law of the time and place can fill in the gaps and help produce a report that shines

Fairfax County, Virginia, Genealogical Society

April 5, 2013

From Blackstone to the Statutes at Large — How Knowing the Law Makes Us Better Genealogists

To understand our ancestors’ lives – why they did what they did, we need to understand the law that governed their lives in so many ways. Knowing the law in that time and at that place helps us make sense of records we already have and find new records we wouldn’t otherwise have considered.

“To the Honorable, the General Assembly of Virginia” – The Treasure Trove in Legislative Petitions

As colonists and as citizens of the new United States, Americans were fiercely protective of their right to petition their government. Whether the issue was forming new counties, building bridges and highways, or some matter of public concern, our ancestors made their voices heard in legislative petitions that are a treasure trove for genealogists.

“No Person Shall … Gallop Horses In the Streets” — Using Court Records to Tell the Stories of our Ancestors’ Lives

Early court records give color and meaning to the lives and times of our ancestors.
County courts often functioned as both judiciary and legislature, and appeals courts published fact-filled opinions. While the records often establish relationships to help build a family tree, they offer so much richness and depth to help tell a family’s story.

“An Act for the Relief of Gregory Thomas and Others” – Private Laws

Few researchers realize that many laws passed by both federal and state legislatures were private bills – bills specifically for the benefit of individuals or families. The records can be fabulous for genealogists. Learn how and where to find private bills in federal and state law collections.

Legacy Family Tree Webinar

April 10, 2013

That First Trip to the Courthouse

If there is one home truth in genealogy research, it’s this: not everything is available online. Sooner or later, every genealogist has got to make that first trip to the courthouse to check out the original records available there. Learn how to prepare for that trip, the rules of the road, what to expect, what to ask for, and how to be sure you’ll be welcomed back the next time.

The webinar is free online. Register here!

APG Great Lakes Chapter, Cleveland, Ohio

April 12, 2013

The ABCs of DNA

When the paper trail runs cold, evidence locked in our genes may provide clues to point us in the right direction… or stop us from heading down a blind alley. Learn about the three big types of DNA testing for genealogists and how they can help add to your family history.

Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio

April 13, 2013

Knowing the Law
The lives of our ancestors were governed by laws, and we use legal records to reconstruct their history. Understanding the laws in effect when those records were created, from English common law to federal statutes, helps us understand the records and why our ancestors acted as they did.

Court Records and Family Stories
Early court records shed light on the lives and times of our ancestors. County courts often functioned as both judiciary and legislature, and appeals courts published fact-filled opinions. While court records help establish family relationships to build a family tree, they offer even more to tell a family’s story.

Widows, Orphans, and the Law
Widows and orphans have always had a special place in the law. But it’s not always the place that 21st century researchers might expect. An orphan in the early days wasn’t a child whose parents had died, but rather a child whose father had died. The law didn’t care much about the mother. She was just the widow, entitled to her dower rights and generally not much more. Learn more of the way the law treated widows and orphans, and what the records may tell us about them.

Through the Golden Door: Immigration After the Civil War (1864-1924)
America’s doors were open to all before the Civil War, with few restrictions. Afterwards, the laws began tightening, with exclusions, quotas, even required visas. How did the immigration laws affect your ancestors who immigrated after the Civil War? What hoops did they have to jump through to enter America’s “golden door”?

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