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Not legal advice!

So many reader questions come in that are beyond what The Legal Genealogist can answer in this blog, because they’re asking for legal advice. Um… that’s not what this blog is all about. Not what this blog can do.

It’s necessary, or at least advisable, to explain every so often some of the limits on what I’m up to here at The Legal Genealogist. You know, the little things, like making sure I don’t get sued and the furniture isn’t trashed in a brawl.

So here, at the beginning of my fourth year of blogging, let me take the opportunity to repeat these…

The rules of my road.

I’m not your lawyer.

I have a law degree. But I’m not your lawyer. I’m not even in active practice as a lawyer any more. I’m not licensed in your state, and I’m not giving legal advice online. We don’t have an attorney-client relationship, so anything I say can be held against you. If you get sued because of something I say here, I won’t represent you. I won’t even testify for you. I will, however, be enormously amused.

Seriously, this blog is general commentary on lots of things, including general commentary on the law. If you’re looking for more than general commentary on the law, you need to consult a lawyer in your home state. If you think this is more than general commentary on the law, you need to consult a mental health professional.

I could be wrong.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m (gasp) human. Which means, at any given time, on any given matter, I could be wrong. If I’m wrong about a fact, I’d like to know it. (I was delighted when Donn Devine told me about early Delaware statutes I hadn’t been aware of, and when Peter Hirtle set me straight on how the King James Bible is covered by a Crown patent.) So tell me when you know more than I do or I’ve just plain goofed. As to everything else, don’t buy what I say uncritically; check the sources I cite and make your own decisions. You may well come to a different conclusion.

No advertising.

It appears that people selling (probably counterfeit) Coach bags and (undoubtedly overpriced) sports jerseys think that the comments area on genealogy blogs should be their personal playgrounds. Uh uh. Not here. And especially not the dolt who thought this lifelong New York Giants fan would be happy with a comment touting Tom Brady jerseys. Well, maybe… depending on whether I could dictate what was on the jersey…

No politics.

It appears that the extreme fringes of the political spectrum have people sitting out there, trolling every single nook and cranny of the Internet, looking for places where they can pop up and spew their conspiracy theories. “Obama wants to close the SSDI because he wants to hide his birth certificate!” “Romney is a Mormon and Mormons do genealogy so genealogy is a Republican plot!”

Bleah. A pox on all your houses. If you haven’t got anything substantive to say about genealogy, it ain’t going live here. And if it sneaks by me at first, it’ll get deleted when I spot it.

No flaming.

Play nice. We’re not all ever going to agree with each other on everything. But disagreeing doesn’t have to be disagreeable. So no personal attacks, ever.

My turf. My rules.

And last but hardly least, I pay the bills for this website. I don’t accept advertising and I don’t charge admission. Which means that this is my turf. Which means that I get to set the rules. So no, I really don’t have to talk about an issue if I choose not to. And I don’t have to stop talking about something that I do want to talk about. Your freedom of speech doesn’t mean that you can interfere with mine. It means that you’re free to do exactly the same thing … on any website where you pay the bills and you set the rules.

How the World Sees Genealogists (Image used with permission of Jim Owston)

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