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New Year’s Eve, 2013

The second year of The Legal Genealogist draws to a close today: the first post ran January 1, 2012, and there have been 736 posts in all in these two years.

NYEveAnd what a second year it’s been!

Adding the CGL, for Certified Genealogist Lecturer, to my CG (Certified Genealogist) credentials. Getting the “bronze medal” behind my own personal mentors, Elizabeth Shown Mills and Thomas W. Jones, in John D. Reid’s Anglo-Celtic Connections “rockstar” competition. Being named to the top 100 legal blog list by the prestigious American Bar Association Journal.

And better than all of that… getting to know so many of you, the folks I’ve met through this blog, as colleagues… and as friends.

So when we all look back at 2013, what were the highlights for The Legal Genealogist?

Here are the top 10 reader posts for 2013 that aren’t DNA-related (see Sunday’s blog for the top DNA posts of the year):

News from the SSDI front (posted 30 Jan 2013): “There’s news on the Social Security Death Index front — some bad, some worse, and some that just might possibly end up being at least neutral if not actually good.”

Microsoft clip art on your blog? (posted 25 Jan 2013): “Whenever you buy a software package like Microsoft Office, or a single program like Word, you’re bound by the license that comes with the software. Microsoft says so specifically on its website . . .”

Copyright, terms of use and Pinterest (posted 19 Feb 2013): “Every so often, the subject comes up… what about Pinterest? Millions of people use the site — which describes itself as “a tool for collecting and organizing things you love” — and genealogists are among them. But the whole concept, both in terms of copyright law and in terms of Pinterest’s terms of use, has always seemed a little shaky to some people.”

FamilySearch: sharing is forever (posted 13 May 2013): “… In plain English, by using the website and uploading anything — a photo, a story, any comments you share about an ancestor or about your research — you are giving FamilySearch an unlimited right to use what you’ve uploaded.”

The Find A Grave sale (posted 4 Oct 2013): “The announcement this week that the popular website Find A Grave has been sold to has prompted an outpouring of response from the genealogical community.”

To speak the truth (posted 8 Jan 2013): “So The Legal Genealogist heads off again this morning, at yet another oh-dark-thirty, to fulfill her civic duty as a prospective juror. … I ended up standing in the back of a courtroom while a very careful and very deliberate judge conducted a very careful and very deliberate and very very s-l-o-w voir dire. And what’s a voir dire? I’m so glad you asked.”

Google scores a win in digitization case (posted 2 Jul 2013): “The latest decision in the seemingly-never-ending battle between the Authors Guild and Google over digitization of books for online use gave Google a partial victory in the courts yesterday.”

Copyright and the pen name (posted 2 Jan 2013): “She writes as Lisa / Smallest Leaf. She always has. But when the time came to branch out beyond her well-known genealogy blogs to a QuickGuide on Croatian Genealogy, she stopped to think. How, she wondered, would the use of a “pen name” affect her copyright to her work?”

Just say no (posted 14 Nov 2013): “You see it all the time, out here on the internet. It seems perfectly innocent. It’s just a request for help, and helping is something we do here in the genealogical community. …”

Ordering the SS-5 (posted 31 May 2013): Reader Janet Buchanan is helping a friend, now in her 80s, with a major conundrum: wading through too many names for her paternal grandparents.
The friend’s father had one sibling and ‘between the two of them on the birth, death and marriage certificates there are many different sets of names,’ Janet wrote. ‘So, we want to send away for their Social Security applications to see what names they have listed there.’ The father died in 1958, the aunt in 1981. And what Janet and her friend want most to know is exactly what to order from the Social Security Administration, how to order it — and ‘whether we will spend the money and get nothing.’”

Now… were there others that didn’t make the top 10 list that I wish had made it? Yup. My own personal top five:

A woman of competence (posted 31 Jan 2013): “So The Legal Genealogist was poking around in obscure records again and ran across Mary Louisa Hess of Yamhill County, Oregon. And what a woman she was! And what a sad state of affairs she had to confront just before the end of her long life.”

A pauper’s tale (posted 9 Oct 2013): “It may have been love. It may have been lust. What it was, for certain, was a recipe for disaster. Evangeline Leonard was just 16 years old when she married James Farmer, a man almost twice her age, in Piute County, Utah, on the 22nd of December 1890.”

Philippina’s choice (posted 14 Feb 2013): “When Frederick Kicherer of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, wrote his will on the 6th of June, 1896, he made only one bequest to his wife Philippina: ‘I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Phillippina Kicherer the sum of three hundred dollars ($300.00)…’ He left everything else in his substantial estate to be divided among his children. And that started a chain of events that left reader Judy Kellar Fox scratching her head.”

The laws of the church (posted 14 Mar 2013): “So yesterday the Roman Catholic Church elected a new Pope. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, is now Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome. So… could anybody have been elected Pope? No. Did the person elected have to be a Cardinal? No. Did the person elected have to be a priest? No.”

Beating the odds (posted 16 May 2013):“One hundred and forty five years ago today, it was Judgment Day in the United States Senate. And the odds were against the man on trial. There were 27 states then represented in the Senate — the former Confederate States weren’t yet voting again — and a two-thirds vote was needed. Just 36 Senators had to vote yes, and Andrew Johnson would have been removed as President of the United States.”

Can’t wait to see what 2014 brings…

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