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From Prohibition to DNA to methodology

It was a cold bleak sad day 102 years ago today when the United States Senate concurred in amendments passed by the House of Representatives to a measure already passed in the upper chamber.

With that final Senate vote on the 18th of December 1917, Congress finished its work on that measure, intended to fundamentally change one aspect of American life. The Senate had passed it by a vote of 65-20 in August; the House — with amendments — by a vote of 282 to 128 on December 17th; and then that final concurrence by the Senate on December 18th sent it on to the states for their action.

The measure: a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

It would take one year and 29 days — until January 16, 1919 — for enough states to go along with the idea for the amendment to be ratified. And, under its own terms, it would take another year — until January 16, 2020 1920 (darned fat finger typos…) — before it would take effect.1

The amendment? The 18th. The one that started Prohibition.

It’s a fascinating story — and one chock full of truly wonderful records and documents just waiting for genealogists to find.

And The Legal Genealogist will get to tell you all about it during the 2020 webinar series of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), just announced.2

BCG 2020 webinars

BCG and its webinar partner, Legacy Family Tree Webinars, will offer 12 talks — one each month — in this sixth year of the BCG series, kicking off in January:

• January 21 – “Creative Hypothesis Development for Complex Genealogy Problems,” presented by Jan M. Joyce, DBA, CG, CGL

• February 18 – “A Convincing Argument or a Convoluted Mess,” presented by Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FUGA, FVGS

• March 17 – “Techniques for Integrating Documentary and Genetic Information in a Research Report,” presented by Karen Stanbary, CG

• April 21 – “Maryland State Archives Decoded,” presented by Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, CGL

• May 19 – “Discover the Holdings of German Archives,” presented by Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG

• June 16 – “Genealogical Treasures in Irish Archives,” presented by David Ouimette, CG, CGL

• July 21 – “Elusive Immigrant: The Search for Dora Lühr,” presented by Warren Bittner, CG

• August 18 – “The Advance of Research Habits Over Recent Decades—And the Downside,” presented by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

• September 15 – “Reconstructing the Murphy Family Using DNA & Documentary Evidence,” presented by Melissa A. Johnson, CG

• October 20 – “Using DNA Test Results to Confirm a Pedigree,” presented by Angela Packer McGhie, CG

• November 17 – “Separating and Merging Identities of Same-Named Men,” presented by Shannon Green, CG

• December 15 – And bringing up the rear… “From the 18th to the 21st: The Records of Prohibition,” presented by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL.

BCG’s webinars are normally held on the third Tuesday of each month at 8 p.m. Eastern time. As always, they’re free for anyone to listen to live, and the recording is free for anyone to listen to for a week afterwards. And — if you need one more impetus to get that portfolio turned in — BCG webinars are always free to BCG-certified associates.

Now… as soon as the links go live at Legacy Family Tree Webinars, you’ll be able register for any of these at that website, and if you’ll be kind enough to use this affiliate link for one webinar — — or this one to register for more than one webinar at the same time — — BCG will also get a small financial benefit.3

See you online in 2020!

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “From the 18th to…,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 18 Dec 2019).


  1. See generally Wikipedia (, “Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” rev. 13 Dec 2019.
  2. See “Board for Certification of Genealogists Announces 2020 Free Webinars,” SpringBoard blog, posted 16 Dec 2019, Board for Certification of Genealogists ( : accessed 18 Dec 2019).
  3. Speakers do get paid; I personally have assigned all payments with respect to this webinar to BCG for its benefit. Gotta fund those standards and educational offerings somehow!
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