Happy birthday, Homestead Act!

Signed into law 157 years ago today He was a Union soldier home on furlough, so the story goes. And he was determined not to lose his chance under a new law due to take effect on the first of January 1863. Due to report back to his unit in St. Louis, he prevailed on...

Referencing legal Wisconsin

Badger State laws It has a long and rich history. Originally part of the original Northwest Territory, between 1788 and 1800, and then part of Indiana Territory from 1800 to 1809, Illinois Territory from 1809 to 1818, Michigan Territory from 1818 to 1836 before...

Collecting the resources

Collections at HathiTrust The Legal Genealogist is somewhat shamefaced today. An imprecise use of the terms for record sets at the online digitized service HathiTrust Digital Library in a blog post earlier this week left a reader frustrated. I was focusing on some...

Federal land in general

Happy birthday to the BLM GLO If there’s one thing that’s for certain in The Legal Genealogist’s world, it’s that the statutes of the United States and the states provide unlimited fodder for comment and — very often — a mass of...

Such books as may be necessary

Happy birthday, LOC! It is, to a genealogist, about the happiest provision ever to be encountered in a statute book. It’s in section 5 of a law signed by President John Adams 219 years ago today — and that section read: And be it further enacted, That for...

Landing those decisions

And in the latest “it never fails” category… It never fails. Inevitably, The Legal Genealogist will finish a post referencing in passing a resource that wasn’t exactly central to that particular post, and somebody will pop up within minutes to ask about...

A daily dose of documents

When the internees fought back It remains one of the most shameful episodes in American history. That time when the United States rounded up tens of thousands of people, the vast majority of them American citizens, and locked them up in camps far from their...

When the earth shakes

One hundred and thirteen years ago today It was just a few minutes after 5 a.m. on the west coast of the United States. And the earth began to shake in San Francisco. The earliest tremor hit the city at 5:12 a.m., and what has been called the Great Earthquake —...

Spreading genealogy’s wings

On the local level Like most Americans of a certain age, the day came when The Legal Genealogist got that letter in the mail. You know the one. The one that welcomed us all into the fraternity of the elders known for short as AARP. The American Associated of Retired...