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The overall winners of 2019

Here we are, in the last days of 2019, and — as has been the custom here at The Legal Genealogist in recent years — it’s time once again to take just a moment to think back and reflect.

Blog posts here generally fall into three basic categories: general; family; and DNA. So let’s look at each of these, in that order, today, tomorrow and Sunday.

So… what were the top general posts overall from all of 2019?

There are some interesting choices here, judged solely by the amount of reader attention they drew. And this blog’s readers are an eclectic bunch! These top general posts focused on just about everything from concerns over copyright to porposed ethical changes at Find A Grave.

top 10 overall

So… without further ado … the top reader choices for general posts for the year 2019, starting with number 10:

Perseverance paying off (5 September)
“There is no evidence that closing vital records for long time periods prevents identity theft. The Legal Genealogist knows that. You know that. And now, for the first time, the people in charge of vital records are beginning to acknowledge that.”

Learning from the past (29 April)
The Legal Genealogist is hardly the first genealogist to note the true cost in human life among those in past generations because we didn’t have vaccines to protect against diseases like measles.”

Revisiting the bond (8 April)
“For those of us living in the 21st century, understanding what a marriage bond was, how it worked, and what it was used for just isn’t the easiest thing to manage.”

Wayback it! (9 July)
“So in effect what the Wayback Machine does is serve as a permanent archive — or as permanent as anything gets on the internet — of websites and resources that might today be inaccessible but for the fact that we can get to the archived copies.”

Wiggles and squiggles (26 August)
“Reader Kate Trigger Duffert needed some help with a symbol that appeared on an ancestor’s will… The clue to the answer comes right inside the squiggle itself.”

The history in the news (10 October)
“When is it copyright-free? It’s the kind of question that arrives in the email box of The Legal Genealogist on a regular basis.”

Hey, Find A Grave… (7 October)
“It was two months ago that The Legal Genealogist added this space’s voice to that of others calling for a moratorium on non-family-members posting memorials for the recently-deceased on Find A Grave for at least some time to give the families of those involved a chance to deal with a loved one’s death before some stranger spread the information into a space on the ethernet that the family hadn’t yet occupied. … Today, we got another reminder of why that website — and its corporate owner — needs to take action on this.”

How do we know? (6 April)
The Legal Genealogist doesn’t generally go ballistic while poking around on Particularly when reviewing somebody else’s family tree, I understand that what I’m looking at is generally at best a hint, and often one that will not pan out. But the one I looked at last night, getting ready to write today’s ‘my family’ blog post, was so bad — in so many ways — that, yes, I went ballistic.”

Records, not revenue (21 November)
“Nobody with a functioning brain expects genealogy to be free. … But supplying essential records shouldn’t be a profit center, and it sure seems that a fee proposal by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for records essential to our research as family historians is trying to do just that: raise revenue, not serve records.”

And the most-read post from 2019:

A modest proposal (5 August)
“It happens over and over and over. A grieving family struggles to cope with a loved one’s death. There are so many arrangements to make, so many people to be notified, so many things that have to be handled. At some point in that process, the family genealogist reluctantly heads over to Find A Grave to add a memorial to the loved one who’s been lost. Wanting deeply to perform this last act of family love for the lost one. And finds it’s already there.”

On to 2020… with the usual additional sidetracks into other top-post lists for this year…

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “2019 top posts: overall,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 27 Dec 2019).

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