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Sourcing history

Like any other research… Like every good genealogist who ever lived, The Legal Genealogist is a history geek. We need to be able to properly understand our research subjects — and the records they left — in the context of their time and place where...

Remember their names

Recording the data of the enslaved The Legal Genealogist is often asked the same question about researching the enslaved. “Where can I record the information I find about enslaved persons that I come across in my family research?” And — sigh — every time...

The law that never was

Published doesn’t mean adopted The Legal Genealogist recently got a request for research assistance that was absolutely perfectly right up the proverbial alley. A request for help in locating specific laws on a specific topic in several jurisdictions. It was...

12.5 divided by…

When we make misteaks… The Legal Genealogist admits it. It’s a consistent failing. Even with a calculator at hand, I am mathematically challenged. I joke about owning a complete one-for-every-day set of t-shirts reading: “I was an English major, you do the...

Go for the original

Get to the source… The Legal Genealogist was powerfully reminded this morning of that basic tenet of genealogy. Go for the original. The very best derivative sources in the world — those copies of originals, or copies of copies of originals — even...

The challenge of Ann

That “new” fourth great-grandmother March is, of course, Women’s History Month, a celebration of women that began in 1981 with a Congressional request for a Presidential proclamation of a “Women’s History Week” and — by 1995 — had evolved...

Think horses, not zebras

Think basics, not exotics It’s one of the most basic tenets of medicine. When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. Often ascribed to Dr. Theodore Woodward, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the 1940s, what it means in...

Persistence and the dates

Keep checking back One of The Legal Genealogist’s favorite ancestors is Isabella (Gentry) Robertson. A favorite because she’s such a challenge — married before the 1850 census and without a single surviving vital record (no birth, marriage or death...

Landing the fourths

Land documents a relationship It looks like the chase is done. This particular chase, at least. The Legal Genealogist is about to take the word “theory” out of the names of a set of fourth great grandparents — and from the name of their daughter, a third great...