The birthdays

On this day… There is much to celebrate on this day… February 12th. It’s the birthday of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Back in the Dark Ages, when The Legal Genealogist was a kid, we got this day off from school in...

Lost no more

The story of one man’s fight for freedom There are stories being told again now, during February, Black History Month, that The Legal Genealogist has heard before. Stories about people like Harriet Tubman who escaped slavery and then helped other enslaved people...

All our people…

29 Ways in 29 Days Like so many others with southern roots, The Legal Genealogist has a family history that is intimately bound up with that “peculiar institution” — slavery. It’s not something I expected to have to deal with when I first began looking at...

Dead-letter clues

Because the law said so Maybe you descend from J.B. Arnold or Miss S.S. Berry or Georgia Dennise or William Murphy or James Parker. Perhaps you’re researching Seth Cockerilie or Emma Johnson or Josiah Price or Rose Anne Regan or Cole Watkins. They all had one...

A Down Under distraction

Convict datasets updated It’s been — and continues to be — a terrible terrible fire season Down Under, and our fellow genealogists need some relief. And while The Legal Genealogist can do nothing except watch in horror as the news from Australia...

An unusual record group

Off the beaten track at NARA It was, the history books tell us, 246 years ago today. The date: 16 December 1773. The place: Griffin’s Wharf, Boston, Massachusetts. The event: Angry over English imposition of “taxation without representation,” American colonists...

The records of freedom

Not from the proclamation It wasn’t the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the enslaved population of the United States. Oh, that helped, for sure, but it was effective only in the states then in rebellion — in other words, in the Confederacy. The exact...

Documenting that day…

November 22, 1963, at NARA It was a day seared into the memory cells of every person alive. A day in which so many of us — The Legal Genealogist included — saw our childhoods come to an end. It was 56 years ago today when a President of the United States...

Records, not revenue

Opposing the fee hike Nobody with a functioning brain expects genealogy to be free. Yeah, yeah, The Legal Genealogist knows there are those who think it should be free — that having to buy copies of birth, marriage and death certificates and court documents and...