Happy mtDNA Day!

Mother’s Day 2019 It is and will forever remain one of The Legal Genealogist’s favorite photographs. Six women — a mother and five daughters — who all share my mitochondrial line. From left to right, my aunt Marianne, my aunt Trisha, my...

An uncrossable divide

The story behind the record In the ordinary course of things, in a genealogist’s life, getting a copy of a vital record is a cause for rejoicing. But sometimes there’s a story behind the record… And so it was for The Legal Genealogist late yesterday...

Signs of the times

Signatures, that is They are, for The Legal Genealogist, the very best signs of the times. Signs, as in signatures. Among the very few that exist for two people very important to me and all my living family and yet unknown to any of us. In fact, only one of my...

An Easter tale

An unexpected Easter bunny Yes, it’s the Sunday before National DNA Day. Yes, there are DNA sales going on. And no, The Legal Genealogist isn’t going to write about DNA even though DNA is usually the topic here on Sundays. Nope, no DNA today. Well, except...

That birth in Texas

An April birth 121 years ago today You can’t help but wonder just what his mama thought the day that he was born. Martha H. “Mattie” (Johnson) Cottrell had already birthed nine babies and buried two of them by that April day in 1898. Sammie, born in 1887, was...

A place called home

The call of those ancestral lands It hits like a ton of bricks. No matter how many times The Legal Genealogist has been there. When you see that places that was home to one who came before you, it hits you. It grabs you by the heart and it doesn’t let you go....

How do we know?

Genealogy’s one constant question The Legal Genealogist doesn’t generally go ballistic while poking around on Ancestry.com. Particularly when reviewing somebody else’s family tree, I understand that what I’m looking at is generally at best a...

Take me out to the…

Oh yes, please… the ballpark March 28, 2019, in The Bronx. The high temperature only in the 40s. The earliest opening day ever at Yankee Stadium. And nobody cared. It was better by far than the home opener in 2018, where the game had to be postponed because of...

The one I wish I’d known

The one I never met He was born 128 years ago tomorrow. A father twice over. A grandfather eight times over. A great grandfather 13 times over. A great great grandfather 11 times over with a 12th on the way. And he only ever saw three of those descendants in his...