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No joke under English law

Day three of the 2016 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy wrapped up yesterday at the Salt Lake Hilton, and for The Legal Genealogist it was a day of law, law and more law.

Just KiddingIn Corpus Juris: Advanced Legal Concepts for Genealogy, it was a day of family law: everything from the law of marriage to the law of filiation. In Advanced Genealogical Methods, it was a look at how to bring law to bear on complex genealogical questions. And in Researching New York: Resources and Strategies, it was an in-depth look at the records of New York courts from the earliest colonial times through to modern records.

A full day for sure — and like others this week not one leaving much time for writing.

So here’s another word of the day.


According to the law dictionaries, a kidder was “an engrosser of corn to enhance its price.”1

Well, that sure makes it clear, doesn’t it?



Does it help to know that engrossing was trying to corner the market on corn or some other necessary foodstuff with the aim of gouging the buyers — and it was a crime?2

So if you’re just kidding about the value of your corn, you’re committing a common law crime.

Just kidding, of course.


  1. Henry Campbell Black, A Dictionary of Law (St. Paul, Minn. : West, 1891), 678, “kidder.”
  2. Ibid., 421, “engrossing.”
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