Playing by the rules

Federal rulemaking So yesterday The Legal Genealogist mentioned some of the major resources for federal legal research that genealogists might need to know. Little minor details, y’know, like the Constitution and the statutes.1 And, almost immediately, reader...

Reprise: Federal law primer

What the law was and is: federal (Note: Updated from an earlier version of this post that originally ran in June 2012.) One thing The Legal Genealogist preaches (to the point where some people are tired of it for pete’s sake already yet) is this: We need to...

Paying the Bill

Genealogy and the Bill of Rights It is one of the defining legal documents, not just of our time, but of all time. It was ratified 222 years ago yesterday. And we are all — all — the better off for it. It is the Bill of Rights. The first 10 amendments to...

The maybe anniversary

The odd history of the 14th amendment Today is the 145th anniversary of the ratification of the 14th amendment. Unless maybe it wasn’t ratified until the 21st. Or maybe even the 28th. It depends on how you count, you see, and on who’s doing the counting....

The laws of the church

Look to the law So yesterday the Roman Catholic Church elected a new Pope. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, is now Pope Francis I, Bishop of Rome. So… could anybody have been elected Pope? No. Did the person elected have...

The excluded elector

Territorial voting rights Michael John Neill on RootDig.com passes along a great question from his reader Liz, who posted on the Genealogy Tip of the Day Facebook page: “Could an 1864 Nebraska resident vote in federal elections?” Nebraska was a territory at the time;...