In Their Words: Understanding Laws

Why did your ancestor lie about her age on a marriage license? Why was the oldest child not mentioned in his father’s probate? Learn the answers to these and other questions in “Law School for Genealogists” coordinated by Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL and Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA. With registration for the six July 16-21 courses opening on Wednesday, March 8 at Noon Eastern, you won’t want to miss out on this in-depth course that will really get you to thinking and walking in your ancestors’ shoes.

Just as we are governed by laws, so were our ancestors. It explains reasons why they took certain actions–or did not take them. Our ancestors did do logical things for their time and place. Understanding them in the context of their world as governed by the laws of the land should help you gain insight into their lives and the records they left behind.

Or as Judy says it, “Law school for lawyers is a grueling three- or four-year program designed to prepare students for the bar exam. Law School for Genealogists is a one-week program as part of what we call a “summer camp for genealogists” designed to give the family historian a leg up in understanding the legal lingo and concepts that impact — and create — the records we use every day in genealogical research. From court records to family law to estate and probate law to immigration and naturalization, this course explores the wide variety of legal concepts that gave rise to the records we need to accurately reconstruct our families. And it goes beyond the law to the records themselves, and particularly the government documents like pension and land records — and even FBI and prison records.

Don’t take our word for it! Here is a one-minute commentary on Vicki Wright’s GRIP experience while taking “Law School for Genealogists.”

Consider taking this course when making your selection for the July GRIP week, held at beautiful La Roche College in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For a detailed description of the 18 sessions in this course, see This is bound to be a popular course. Be sure to read “Tips and Tricks for Getting the Course You Want.”

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