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Zoom along with TLG

A long time faithful reader of The Legal Genealogist was Not Happy.

This past weekend, I was off spending some fun time with the Minnesota Genealogical Society and the attendees of their 2020 North Star Genealogy Conference — all virtually of course — and reader Sue Ann hadn’t known about it.

“I wish you’d tell us about opportunities to hear you,” she said. “Especially when you’re speaking virtually to groups and about things I might not know about otherwise.”

Well, to start with, many thanks to Sue Ann for wanting to hear from me,1 and … um … okay.

upcoming lectures

Here’s what’s coming up shortly — and yes, of course, these are all virtual events.2

October 17-18

Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society

I’ll be doing four presentations over two days. On Saturday, October 17:

1:15 pm ET – “Who in the World was Paul Knop?”
Tracing an unknown relative named by 20th century German immigrants. When there’s no birth, marriage or death record, what’s a genealogist to do? Learn how to use circumstantial evidence to build a family.

2:45 pm ET – “Polls, Personalty and Property – Making Sense of Tax Lists”
Somebody had to pay government’s bills, and they did it through the law by imposing taxes on polls, personal property and real property. The records of those taxes offer some of the best clues available to our ancestors, their families and their neighborhoods. Personalty is a legal term for personal, movable property.

And on Sunday, October 18:

1:15 pm ET – “Doing Time – Prison Records as Genealogy Resources”
The brickwalls of a family tree are no match for prison walls. From intake photo to receipts for cash and clothes when they were released, prisoners in jails and prisons were recorded and documented, often in stunning detail. Learn what records may exist – and where – about your family’s black sheep.

2:45 pm ET – “Which Johann Christoph is Mine?”
When every family in town shares a surname and all the sons are Johann Christoph or Gerhard, and all the daughters are Maria or Margarethe, how do we distinguish among them? What are the tools we can use to figure out which Johann Christoph is mine?

For more information, use this link.

To register, use this link (and note that the red button at the bottom will add the event to your checkout cart). It’s $30 for members and $45 for non-members.

To join MAGS — and membership is only $15 — use this link.

October 23

Legacy Family Tree Webinars

At 2 p.m. ET, it’ll be “How Old Did He Have To Be…?” — Is this man John the father or John the son? Could that man be my ancestor who married in 1802? Knowing a person’s age is often the key to distinguishing between two people of the same name. But if no record gives a birthdate, how do you know how old someone was? The law can often give the answer. For more information and register, use this link.

October 24

Tennessee Genealogical Society

Four presentations on this Saturday:

9:15 am ET CT3 – “Separate But Unequal: Slave Laws & Their Records”
Whether north or south of the Mason-Dixon line, laws governed enslaved Americans, free people of color and slave-owners alike, creating a treasure trove of records for today’s genealogists.

10:45 am ET CT– “The Fair Court-Records of Chancery Courts”
Only one court has ever had doing what’s fair as part of its official mission: the chancery court. With different names in different states(and countries), it was often the go-to court for cases of great genealogical value, including divorces, guardianships, real property partition and more.

1:00 pm ET CT– “Advertising The Law: The Gems in the Legal Notices”
So many statutes required notice that someone wanted something done, and the legal notices in newspapers can be priceless sources of genealogical clues.”

2:30 pm ET CT– “Making A Federal Case Out Of It”
Even genealogists who have a good background in court records often overlook the wealth of detail available in the records of the federal courts: the District Court and the Circuit Court (now the Circuit Court of Appeals). From bankruptcies to copyrights to patent to cases in admiralty jurisdiction and more, federal court records merit a close look.

For more information or to register (the registration link is at the left), use this link. Registration is $30 for members and $40 for non-members.

To join TGS — and membership is only $25 for an individual — use this link.

November 7

North Carolina Genealogical Society

For NCGS members only, it’s Member Appreciation Day (and, yes, you can join and then register!), with four presentations:

“Property Rights and Wrongs – African-Americans at the Courthouse”
From being treated as property to having their property stolen by those who used the law against the freedmen, African Americans’ experience at the courthouse had only one bright spot: it created records for the genealogist-descendants of slaves and slave owners alike.

“No, no, Nanette! What negative evidence is … and isn’t.”
Negative evidence is the hardest type of evidence to understand or use in genealogical research. By definition, a “type of evidence arising from an absence of a situation or information in extant records where that information might be expected,” it is, as the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes told us in the short story “Silver Blaze,” the “curious incident . . . in the night-time” – the thing we would expect to see or hear but that just isn’t there. Learn more about what negative evidence is – and what it isn’t – and how to use it.

“NARA Mythbusters: Your Family IS in the Archives”
“All the military records were burned in the fire.” “There isn’t any birth, marriage or death information in federal records.” “There aren’t any details about ordinary families at the National Archives.” These kinds of myth-statements stop genealogists from breaking down all kinds of brick walls using the wealth of information in NARA records. Join the mythbusters with the treasures the National Archives holds for your family.

“No Vitals? No Problem! – Building a Family through Circumstantial Evidence”
When there’s no birth, marriage or death record, what’s a genealogist to do? Learn how to use
circumstantial evidence to build a family. It features “A Family for Isabella” (tracing a woman married before the 1850 census).

For more information, use this link. You will see a registration button once you log in as a member. And to join NCGS — and individual membership is a steal at $40 — use this link.

November 13-14

Texas State Genealogical Society

It’s the 60th anniversary celebration for TxSGS and a two-day virtual conference with a whole host of live presentations and even more available on-demand. There’s so much available that you need to check it out for yourself. For a description of the TxSGS Live! sessions, use this link and to see the whole conference program, use this link.

Just to give you a taste, the TxSGS Live! sessions for November 13 are:

• “Dower and Dowry: Women, Property, and Legal Records” by yours truly
• “Whose Estate Is It Any Way!” by Kelvin Meyers
• “Trustworthy Trees: Using DNA Tools, Data, Evidence to form Credible Genealogical Links” by Debbie Parker Wayne, CG
• “Breaking New Ground: Creating a Locality Guide” by Cari Taplin, CG
• “Digital Library on American Slavery – Invaluable When Researching Formerly Enslaved Ancestors” by Diane L. Richard

And for November 14, the TxSGS Live! sessions are:

• “Shootout at the Rhododendron Lodge: Reconstructing Life-Changing Events” by yours truly
• “Decoding Social Security: Providing Benefits to our Ancestors” by Michael Strauss, AG
• “Shakin’ Out The Smiths: Researching a Common Surname”
by Nancy Calhoun
• “Key Online Record Collections for Researching Your Mexican Ancestors” by Colleen Robledo Greene
• “Researching Graphically – Expand Your Research With Timelines, Spreadsheets, and Diagrams” by Ari Wilkins

And there’s a ton more — more than 30 sessions overall from 22 speakers.

To register, use this link (and note that you need to log in as a member to get the member discount, and just close the log-in box and proceed if you’re not a TxSGS member). There are three levels of packages, and all include the TxSGS Live! session: Lite gives you five on-demand sessions; Standard is 12 on-demand sessions; and All-in-One gives you the whole works. Check the registration page for package prices and note that early bird prices continue to October 23.

To join TxSGS — and membership is only $30 — use this link.

That should keep Sue Ann — and a whole bunch of other folks — busy and out of trouble!

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Coming up soon…,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 12 Oct 2020).


  1. Is it okay if I wish my own family was as interested in my genealogy stories? Sigh
  2. And, for the record, I do have a basic calendar of upcoming events online here.
  3. Someday I’m gonna learn what time zone which part of Tennessee is in… Thanks to Tommy Michaels for the virtual thwack upside the head…
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