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No ordinary court

No matter what the name is… It was July of 1848, and Robert Smith had been given a special charge by the court in Gilmer County, Georgia. By law, he had to give bond in the amount of $200. In other words, he had to make a promise that he would do the job right,...

Just the facts

… of whatever flavor… Reader David came across the reference in an 1877 court case he was trying to figure out. And it made no sense to him whatsoever. “The court,” he wrote, “appears to be drawing a distinction between facts and facts. And I don’t...

The essential difference

… between dower and dowry … The Legal Genealogist is putting the finishing touches on a presentation about a particular variation in genealogical records of our early female ancestors. And that reminded me that I keep meaning to explain the essential...

Banning the marriage

Well, not exactly a ban… It was the law in colonial Virginia, enacted in February 1631/32. Marriage, in that colony, was almost always banned.1 It was the law in colonial Massachusetts, enacted as least as early as November of 1692. Marriage, in that colony, was...

Of patents and deeds

What’s the difference anyway? Pop quiz time. What’s the difference in American law between a patent for land and a deed for land? This was an issue up for discussion on Facebook yesterday when a poster had a copy of a land patent in favor of an ancestor in...

Snippets 2021 v.8

Consorting with… One more institute to go this summer and The Legal Genealogist’s schedule will start getting back to normal. Whatever “normal” is these days. In the meantime, another snippet of genealogy…. This time a bit of definition, sparked by a...

Snippets 2021 v.7

That -ix ending It’s still busy season around these parts — catching up after a series of institutes and getting ready for another one coming up fast. So… Another snippet of genealogy in this busy time. And this one is a snippet of terminology...

Snippets 2021 v.5

That exceptional administrator A week of law. Almost a week of African-American research. A week of DNA. A week of federal records. Heading into a week of methodology. Oh, and don’t forget the more than a week of the Germans. It’s institute season, plus a...