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For Juneteenth, the letters

Powerful history Ancestry is often the company genealogists love to hate. Along with every other subscriber, The Legal Genealogist would note that — sigh — it’s expensive. It’s often unresponsive to concerns. It makes changes to things that...

Ancestry releases 1950 index

The whole thing, AI-created It was already a game-changer when, on the first of April, the 1950 U.S. census images were released by the U.S. National Archives (NARA): using handwriting recognition software, NARA had produced a basic down-and-dirty index of that census...

Judging the records

Find the judge, find the court It was a fairly typical post that landed in The Legal Genealogist’s Facebook feed, a day or two or three ago. A genealogist had found a newspaper article about a rascal of an ancestor but wasn’t able to find the court record...

Who took the tally?

Noting the census takers It’s right there in the best practices of the field of genealogy. The guidance that so many of us overlook, especially when we’re starting out. But it’s stated clearly, in Standard 40 of Genealogy Standards, focusing on...

Kwitcherbitchin

Patience, grasshopper… patience!! No, it isn’t fully indexed. No, it isn’t searchable in every field. No, the descriptions of the enumeration districts aren’t down to the street level in every case.1 Yes, it’s often necessary to review...

Time travel with NARA

1950 census site is no joke The Legal Genealogist freely admits it. I was a skeptic. I really truly didn’t expect the 1950 census release by the U.S. National Archives (NARA) to go smoothly. In fact, at 10:22 p.m. EDT yesterday, I posted a snarky “let’s...

When the law is wrong

Official typos It’s right there, in one of the most important laws ever passed by the early Virginia state legislature. Just nine years after the Fifth Virginia Convention proclaimed that Virginia was a free and independent state,1 and just four years after the...

Getting ready for Friday

Ancestry launches ED finder tool It’s an impressive piece of work — and it’s going to save the bacon of a lot of otherwise frustrated genealogists (including The Legal Genealogist, for sure) in just a few days. Ancestry has launched an enumeration...

In March of 1780

Freedom tiptoes into Pennsylvania The Legal Genealogist spent essentially every day of elementary school, junior high school, and high school in the public schools of the north. We studied the Civil War in different ways in different years. And the one sentence I...