Thank you!!!!

First, the proof.

clock(a) The Legal Genealogist was up — awake, moving, okay, maybe also whining and whimpering — at oh-dark-thirty.

(You may not accept that I was actually out of bed at 5:36 a.m., but think about it: you have to be at least semi-awake to take a photograph of the clock at that hour.)

(b) It was in fact oh-dark-thirty. San Antonio is pitch black at 6:30 in the morning.

The sun didn’t come up this morning until after 7 a.m. You don’t have to believe me. You can look it up on the internet:


(c) Josh Taylor, Kenyatta Berry, Ed Donakey and I made it to the Alamo:


And what did this accomplish?

Thanks to the sponsorship of the genealogical community, we raised thousands and thousands of dollars for the Preserve the Pensions program.

These genealogically valuable fragile records of pension applications from the War of 1812 are being digitized through the generosity of folks like you, and they will be online, free, forever as a result.

And how much is “thousands and thousands”?

Every penny you contributed to sponsor me and the other walkers was matched by the Federation of Genealogical Societies, which is spearheading the Preserve the Pensions effort. Then that amount was matched by Ancestry. So every dollar contributed resulted in four dollars being available for the digitization effort.

As of 7 a.m. today, adding together the totals of all four walkers just from the online contributions, and not even counting the cash and checks contributed by attendees here at the 2014 FGS Conference in San Antonio, your support brought in $56,384.48 — enough to pay to digitize more than 120,000 pages of these records.

This community — this group of genealogists working together — rocks.

And yes, by the way, you can still contribute. Just pop on over to the Preserve the Pensions website and the donate page there and you can join the team in preserving the War of 1812 pensions.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Can we break $50,000?

Okay… here’s the deal.

There’s going to be this walk, see, here in San Antonio, Texas, in less than 24 hours.

Donate to War of 1812Every dollar donated to sponsor a walker in this special Preserve the Pensions campaign right now gets quadrupled.

First, every dollar is matched by the Federation of Genealogical Societies, so a contribution of $25 becomes $50.

Then, that amount gets matched by Ancestry, so that same original $25 grows to $100.

So what’s this for and why does it matter?

Millions of pages of fragile documents with immense genealogical significance are in grave danger of deterioration: they are the records of War of 1812 pension applications held by the National Archives.

These particular records — documenting more than 180,000 pension files for War of 1812 soldiers and their families — are among the most heavily requested documents at the National Archives and, because of their use, their age and their fragile nature, they really need to be digitized to protect them and keep them available forever.

The Preserve the Pensions effort will not only pay for the digitization, but because of the crowdsourcing these records will be online, free to the public, forever.

Now… this week at the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2014 conference in San Antonio, FGS is trying something a little different: the entire genealogical community has been invited to sponsor one of four people in a walk from the convention center to the Alamo early on Saturday morning.

FGS President D. Joshua Taylor, his Genealogy Road Show colleague Kenyatta Berry, FGS conference chair Ed Donakey of Family Search and The Legal Genealogist are all giving up sleep and getting up at oh-dark-thirty Saturday morning to represent this effort by our community, and every walker is being sponsored by contributions from genealogists.

As of last night, the amount pledged to support one of the four walkers in the Preserve the Pensions fun walk at FGS 2014 in San Antonio was a little more than $10,815.

With the matching funds, that means more than $43,000 to digitize the records of War of 1812 pensions.

Now… the fun walk takes place at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, August 30th.

Can we do it?

Can we raise another roughly $1,700 by tomorrow morning?

If we can ask our friends, our colleagues, our societies, to dig just a little bit deeper…

All anyone here in San Antonio needs to do is head to the exhibit hall, booth 606,608, and contribute there. If you’re at home, you can do it online. Go to this page and after filling in your info, scroll down to “Sponsor someone for the San Antonio Fun Walk” and choose your victim … um… walker to sponsor. Or click on the image above — it’ll take you to the donation page.

Can we…?

Can we break $50,000?

Just one more push…

Posted in General | 8 Comments



Can you believe it? The Legal Genealogist, goofing off, even? Doing no work at all but just (gasp) out seeing the sights?

How ’bout you come see them with me?

The River Walk





That last one, by the way, is a view of the Bexar County Courthouse, where the marriage of my great grandparents was recorded in 1896.

The Alamo



FGS General Conference begins

The General Sessions of the FGS 2014 Conference get underway at 8 a.m. today. Hope to see you there!

Posted in General | 6 Comments

San Antonio!

It’s time for the Federation of Genealogical Societies to shine in the Lone Star State: the 2014 FGS Conference is underway here in San Antonio.

fgs2014-logoYesterday was Librarians’ Day; today is Societies’ Day; the general conference gets underway tomorrow with a keynote presentation on orphan trains and their riders: the last train went to Sulphur Springs, Texas, in 1929.

So what has The Legal Genealogist learned so far?

San Antonio is hot.

It’s supposed to hit triple digits today but “only” the upper 90s for the rest of the week.

Locals tell me that’s nothing and “you should have been here last year.”

East coasters are melting.

The River Walk is gorgeous.

That alone is worth a trip to San Antonio.

Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, it’s designed to part you from the contents of your wallet.

Who cares? It’s beautifully done. I may even get some touristy pictures today.

FamilySearch is on the move.

FamilySearch held its blogger dinner last night to bring the genealogy blogging community up to date on what’s happening at FamilySearch.

Some tidbits from the dinner:

• FamilySearch is adding another 200 camera crews to go out and digitally record documents like vital records, land records, court records and more. By the end of 2015, there will be 500 active crews in operation around the world.

• RootsTech 2014 drew in 5250 paid attendees, plus another 4,000 youth and an equal number of family session attendees. Some 14,000+ people tuned in to the live streaming sessions and, through the medium of remote fairs, roughly 150,000 people around the globe saw parts of the RootsTech conference.

• Registration for RootsTech 2015 — to be held in Salt Lake City February 12-15 — opens on Friday of this week (August 29th). The early bird registration fee is $139. That 2015 conference is being held in conjunction with FGS 2015 (February 11-14) and general sessions and the exhibit hall will be shared. In other words, it’s going to be humongous and ought to be a blast.

• FamilySearch is really focusing on its Family Tree product — on the web and in mobile applications. It’s added record hints, research suggestions and data quality features. Family Tree is a single crowd-sourced worldwide tree that anyone can add to (or subtract from) and, as yet, has no mechanism for resolving conflicts between contributors. The record hints allow users to review the more than 1.2 billion FamilySearch records as to any person in the tree.

FGS attendees take note!!!

If you’re here in San Antonio and you want to sponsor a walker in the Saturday morning Preserve the Pensions Fun Walk, take note! There’s yet another special offer being made.

Michael Hall will be manning the Preserve the Pensions booth at FGS (Booth 506, 508) and he is the creator of a truly exquisite set of miniature War of 1812 figures: foot soldiers, officers and more. They are amazing in their detail and their fidelity to history.

And — while supplies last — anybody who ponies up a $100 sponsorship (sponsor me, will ya? the others have their own rooting sections!) — can get one of these lovely miniatures from Michael.

The exhibit hall opens tomorrow, so there’s plenty of time left to join in the fun.

And if you’re not here in San Antonio, you can still sponsor a walker (me! c’mon!) by heading over to the Preserve the Pensions donation page (scroll down to the section to choose a walker to sponsor). Every penny of sponsorship money goes 100% to the Preserve the Pensions program, and is matched by Ancestry — so your support gets multiplied!

Posted in General | 6 Comments


So The Legal Genealogist is on the road today…

Gone to Texas!

To the 2014 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in San Antonio, to be precise.

fgs2014-logoThe city where my great grandparents were married in 1896.

The state where I have roots back before it was a state.

The place where I have somehow gotten myself committed to be up-and-at-’em at oh-dark-thirty Saturday for the Preserve the Pensions walk.

(Um… You have donated to sponsor me, right? Right? C’mon… what are you waiting for???)

If you’ll be attending the FGS Conference in San Antonio, come join me in my presentations:

A Family for Isabella: Indirect Evidence from Texas back to Mississippi
Thursday, 4:30 p.m., T-238
With no birth, marriage or death record, only indirect evidence and the Genealogical Proof Standard can link Isabella of Texas to her Mississippi parents.

That Scoundrel George: Tracking a Black Sheep Texas Ancestor
Friday, 9:45 a.m., F-329
A romp through records of the Republic and State of Texas on the trail of a scoundrel from his marriage and bigamy charge in Colorado County to his death in Iowa Park.

Beyond X & Y: Using Autosomal DNA for Genealogy
Saturday, 3 p.m., S-437
A plain-English non-scientific introduction to the promise, and the pitfalls, of this newest addition to the genetic genealogy toolbox.

And, of course, Saturday at oh-dark-thirty — that’s 6:30 a.m. for you larks out there — this night owl will be walking with Josh Taylor, Kenyatta Berry and Ed Donakey as the sponsored walkers to raise money for the Preserve the Pensions effort.

You can sign up to sponsor one of us (me, that is; the others are on their own on this one!) at the online donation page (scroll down to where it says “Sponsor someone for the San Antonio Fun Walk”) or at the Exhibit Hall, Booths 506, 508.

Hope that you too are Gone to Texas and I’ll see you in San Antonio!

Posted in General | 6 Comments

98 years of National Parks

It is a most unprepossessing piece of legislation, the act that appears in volume 39 of the U.S. Statutes at Large.

NPSIt begins, mundanely, by noting that it was “enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there is hereby created in the Department of the Interior a service to be called the National Park Service, which shall be under the charge of a director, who shall be appointed by the Secretary…”1

It isn’t until the last sentence of that section that the lawmakers get around to explaining why they’re doing what they’re doing:

The service thus established shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations… by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose … to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.2

Known as the National Park Service Organic Act, the law was signed by President Woodrow Wilson 98 years ago today.

And what a wonderful gift it has been to the nation.

You can celebrate, if you happen to have today free, by going to any of the now 401 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands that are included in the National Park Service system; the usual entry fee is waived as part of the birthday celebrations.3

Or you can spend time on its website, the kind of website that — even with its technical glitches — warms the cockles of a genealogist’s heart.

Just turn to its history pages and read.

“Sometimes all you need to know is that there was a Homestead Act of 1862,” one web page begins. “Sometimes, you want to understand the life of a homesteader, someone like Adeline Hornbek. A single mother of four, Hornbek made her own way for her family and became the owner of a prosperous ranch in Colorado’s Florissant Valley.” The page continues:

Thomas Edison earned 1,093 United States patents, a record that still stands. He kept a cot in his New Jersey lab so he could work through the night when inventing.

In his autobiography, Up From Slavery, Booker T. Washington wrote, “I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study would be about the same as getting into paradise.” He founded Tuskegee Institute in 1881.

Susan LaFlesche Picotte’s dream was a hospital to care for her people on the Omaha Indian Reservation. The first American Indian woman to practice medicine in the United States, she graduated from medical school in 1889 and realized her dream 14 years later with the first privately-funded reservation hospital.

People make history. Find them here.4

The NPS history website also has an entry page for stories:

Stories are the big picture…or a snapshot in time. They provide the basics – who, what, where, when, why, and how – and may offer context and analysis. Stories can evolve, expand, and change over time as more is learned through new technology or new scholarship.

Stories include the personal – memories of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island – and the impersonal recitation of data and dates. They can be thousands of years old – the petroglyphs of the Rio Grande Valley – and as fresh and raw as the events of 9/11.

Stories recount the challenges and opportunities faced by individuals, communities, and nations.

Stories are shared history. Read them here.5

And for places:

Some historic places are easy to find because they have national park signs out front or brass plaques on the wall. Others take a little digging – sometimes quite literally (like archeological sites). These authentic places of history offer opportunities to experience where real history really happened. To trace the steps of a Civil War soldier on the battlefield at Gettysburg. To climb a 32-foot ladder to Balcony House and watch the morning light glide across this prehistoric cliff dwelling. To glimpse the desolation faced by more than 10,000 Japanese Americans confined at Manzanar during World War II.

Set aside as national or state parks, designated as National Historic Landmarks, listed in the National Register of Historic Places or state registers, or recorded in measured drawings, large-format photography, and written histories by HABS/HAER/HALS, this nation recognizes historic places of triumph and tragedy…and 75-foot long wooden elephants.

History happened. Find out where.6

And those are just the teasers. The actual resources of the National Park Service online are simply stunning.

It’s the National Park Service, for example, that maintains the Soldiers and Sailors Database, with information about the men who served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Overall, its Civil War resources are amazing, and include a timeline of the war, detailed information on key events and places and more. The main entry page for the Civil War material is here:

For other features, because of those technical glitches I mentioned (the link to a collection of more than two million photographic images times out on a regular basis, for example), the best access points into the genealogically-useful aspects of the website are the history links:

For Travelers
For Teachers

And there’s also a Virtual Museum with highlights of the millions of items held by the National Park Service, including exhibits from the Battle of Gettysburg, Alcatraz Prison, and the Revolutionary War Battle of Guilford Courthouse, just to name a few. The full listing of parks with online museum exhibits includes:

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site
Andersonville National Historic Site
Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park
Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
Big Bend National Park
Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Castle Clinton National Monument
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Clara Barton National Historic Site
Edison National Historical Park
Harry S Truman National Historic Site
Glacier National Park
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
Museum and Archeology Resource Center including Vietnam Memorial
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
Sitka National Historical Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Weir Farm National Historic Site

And, of course, since copyright does not apply to materials created by federal employees in their official functions for the government, “Information created or owned by the NPS and presented on (its) website, unless otherwise indicated, is considered in the public domain. It may be distributed or copied as permitted by applicable law.”7

Yes indeed… It’s the kind of website that warms the cockles of a genealogist’s heart.

Even if we have no clue what heart cockles or… or why we might want to warm them…


  1. “An Act To establish a National Park Service, and for other purposes,” 39 Stat. 535 (25 Aug. 1916); digital images, “A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875,” Library of Congress, American Memory ( : accessed 24 Aug 2014).
  2. Ibid., §1.
  3. NPS Birthday,” National Park Service ( : accessed 24 Aug 2014).
  4. Discover History: People,” National Park Service ( : accessed 24 Aug 2014).
  5. Discover History: Stories,” National Park Service ( : accessed 24 Aug 2014).
  6. Discover History: Places,” National Park Service ( : accessed 24 Aug 2014).
  7. Disclaimer: Ownership,” National Park Service ( : accessed 24 Aug 2014).
Posted in Resources, Statutes | 6 Comments

Richard Ivan Moore, 1939-2014

“Am I a keeper?” he asked.

The question came unexpectedly at the end of the visit where The Legal Genealogist had gotten to know members of the extended family for the first time.

Dick.meIt came about when, after some effort, I finally located my mother’s cousin, Fred Gottlieb, the man who had walked her down the aisle at her marriage to my father. I wanted to meet him, and arranged to fly to Albuquerque.

But before that trip, 10 years ago, in April 2004, Fred put me in touch with his nephew, my second cousin Dick Moore and Dick’s wife, Julie. “They’re interested in that family history stuff,” Fred said.

And so they were.

Dick and Julie met me at the Albuquerque airport. Opened their home to me. Showed me around all the places within a wide driving radius of the city that played a role in the lives of that branch of the family.

They played chauffeur for me on daily visits with Fred, including the one on the day that the question of relatives as keepers first came up.

Fred just didn’t get it. Could not for the life of him wrap his head around the idea of wanting to get to know distant family members … or what he thought of as ancient family history.

I remember trying to explain. “Some people collect coins,” I remember telling him. “Others collect stamps. Me? I collect relatives.”

Everyone laughed.

Then Fred’s face grew serious. “What do you do,” he asked, “when you find one that … well … you’d rather not have?”

I remember smiling in return. “Throw him back,” I said, “and find another one who’s a keeper.”

Dick and Julie and I went together down to Lovington, in Lea County, where Dick’s and my great grandfather Martin Gilbert Cottrell was buried and where, for some reason neither of us could articulate at the time, we just had to be photographed — as you see here today — together behind the tombstone.

And we talked. We talked and talked and talked.

About life. About love. About family.

About difficult fathers. About struggles we had faced. About our successes. About our failures.

Even… when we lost Fred less than a year later … even about death.

But mostly about our common heritage. The ancestors we share. Cottrells. Bakers. Buchanans.

About the history we have in common. A Revolutionary War patriot. A preacher. A scoundrel or two.

About what we owe to the past.

About what we hoped for, for the future.

In all too short a time, I had to say goodbye, back at the Albuquerque airport.

And, as he gave me one last bear hug, he asked if he could ask me a question.

“Am I a keeper?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said then. “Oh yes.”

Gentle. Funny. Smart. Loving. Kind. An amazing husband, father, grandfather.

A cousin. And then a friend. How could he be anything but a keeper?

We managed to get together a few more times. We shared emails and research and even DNA results. We talked about how we’d like to get together more.

But life has a way of keeping us from the keepers.

Distance, schedules, commitments all conspire to deny us the time we would so like to have with the people we would most like to spend it with.

And now it is too late.

On Thursday, 21 August 2014, Richard Ivan “Dick” Moore lost his battle with cancer.

My life was richer, deeper, more joyful because I knew my cousin Dick.

But some of the light of my family has gone out.

And we are left behind to try to keep the keeper’s memory alive.

Rest in peace, cousin Dick. We loved you.

Posted in My family | 34 Comments

Only in our hearts

Thursday of this past week would have been her 116th birthday.

MamaClay2014bMy grandmother, Opal E. Robertson, oldest of the four children of Jasper and Eula (Baird) Robertson, was born 21 August 1898, in Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas.1

And we lost her 19 years ago, on the 15th of March 1995.2

A long life, for sure… yet one that seems all too short for those of us who loved her.

She was, her obituary said, “preceded in death by her husband, Clay Rex Cottrell; and three children, Ruth Marie, Donald Harris and Monte Boyd Cottrell.” It went on:

Mrs. Cottrell, fondly known as “Mama Clay,” was the matriarch of the Cottrell Family. She is survived by four sons, … five daughters, … thirty-seven grandchildren, twenty-two stepgrandchildren; forty-four great-grandchildren; and eleven step-great-grandchildren.3

We — her children, her grandchildren, and so many other descendants — pause to remember her this week. And — as we so often do — we will let her speak for herself.

Here are her own words, written around 1974, and more recently and lovingly transcribed by her granddaughter (my cousin) Paula — whose own birthday is today…

As I pass my 76th birthday, I find myself wanting our grandchildren to know something of the era in which their Grandfather, Clay, and I grew up. In retrospect we often remember the pleasant, but it was not always lovely & pleasant.

Thank goodness they won’t be dosed with calamine and castor oil. They won’t have to wear long underwear from Oct. to May – or wear long black stockings and high button shoes, read by oil lamps – (maybe!?), walk two miles to school, pick up corn-cobs for kindling, or wear a flannel cloth soaked with coal oil and lard on their chest until it blisters.

I am sorry, however, that they will never know the excitement of hog killing time, and the magic words “The thresher is coming,” taste delectable cold clabber with sugar sprinkled on top, feel the cleanliness of home-made lye soap, and they probably will never have the pleasure of opening a school lunch bucket and finding a slice of country ham fried in an iron skillet, buried between two soft buttermilk biscuits. Or two pickled eggs pickled in beet juice, or eat a big piece of hot homemade bread, spread with freshly churned butter. Too, they’ll never know the sweetness of homemade blackberry jam spooned from a crock jar. Or the excitement of finding a new hens nest in the lay in the barn loft. They will miss the snugness and secure feeling of sleeping in a cold upstairs room with a nightcap on their head and a hot wrapped brick at their feet.

But I can hear them say, “Poor Grandma and Grandpa, if only they could have traveled — at least to the Moon!”

Not yet, Mama Clay. Not quite yet.


  1. Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Md., Request for E/R Action, Opal E. Cottrell, 22 Feb 1966. The document notes that her original SS-5 form, her application for a Social Security number, was “sent to P/C with claim 4-6-66.”
  2. Virginia Department of Health, death certif. no. 95-011808, Opal Robertson Cottrell, 15 Mar 1995; Division of Vital Records, Richmond.
  3. “Cottrell,” obituary, Charlottesville (Va.) Daily Progress, 17 March 1995.
Posted in My family | 6 Comments

Pennsylvania’s colonial inmates

So earlier this week The Legal Genealogist set off to explore the use of the term “inmate” in U.S. census records.

The blog post began: “When is an inmate not an inmate? Or, more accurately, when is an inmate not the kind of inmate we might expect? Not, that is, a prisoner.” And the answer, of course, was “much of the time.”1

PaStatTurns out others had been thinking about the same thing at the same time! Reader Dana, who launched The Enthusiastic Genealogist blog earlier this year, had just posted about that just a bit more than a week earlier,2 and Harold Henderson, CG, had just published a short related piece related in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly that I finally had a chance to read yesterday.3

And no sooner had the blog post hit the website when a cousin, Mary Ann Thurmond4 responded that she was under the impression that the term had also been used, in a different way, in early Pennsylvania records.

And she’s absolutely right.

Pennsylvania first used the term in its 1724-1725 tax law, which required the constables to return lists of:

all and every the persons dwelling or residing within the limits of those townships or places with which they shall be charged, and the names of all freemen, inmates, hired servants and all other persons residing or sojourning in every of the said townships, together with an account of what tracts and parcels of land and tenements they respectively hold in such township…5

The term was new in that act; it hadn’t appeared in the earlier statute passed 22 February 1717-18.6 And the term meant “persons who lived in the house of someone else, sometimes in exchange for payment. They were not family members of the houseowner, nor were they guests or servants.”7

Lodgers would be inmates; boarders would be inmates;8 so too inmates were “heads of families who occupied cottages on the lands of landowners in return for their seasonal labor.”9

The term was gone from Pennsylvania’s law by 1795: it doesn’t appear in the statute passed that year or in any law thereafter.10

But it continued to be used in some tax lists even after 1795, so don’t be surprised to come across it later.

And be aware that even earlier, in England, the term was used to apply only to the poor. Inmates were:

Persons who are admitted to dwell with and in the house of another, and not able to maintain themselves. These inmates are generally idle persons harboured in cottages; wherein it hath been common for several families to inhabit, by which the poor of parishes have been increased; but suffering this was made an offence by statute… 11

There, at least, it did not apply to those who simply rented quarters: “If a person take another to table with him; or let certain rooms to one to dwell in, if he be of ability, and not poor, he is no inmate.”12

Inmates of all different stripes!

Who’d have thunk it?


  1. Judy G. Russell, “Of inmates and families,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 19 Aug 2014 ( : accessed 21 Aug 2014).
  2. Dana, “When is an Inmate Not a Prisoner?,” The Enthusiastic Genealogist, posted 11 Aug 2014 ( : accessed 21 Aug 2014).
  3. Harold Henderson, “Who’s In the Jailhouse Now?,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 102 (June 2014): 110.
  4. A real “we can identify the common ancestor” cousin. Honest-to-goodness no-foolin’ second cousin once removed, fellow descendant of our common ancestors Gustavus Boone Robertson and Isabella (Gentry) Robertson.
  5. Section IV, “An Act for Raising of County Rates and Levies,” 4 Pa. Statutes at Large 10, 13 (Harrisburg, Pa. : State Printer, 1897); digital images, Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau ( : accessed 21 Aug 2014). Emphasis added.
  6. See “An Act for the More Effectual Raising (of) County Rates and Levies,” 3 Pa. Statutes at Large 175 et seq. (Harrisburg, Pa. : State Printer, 1896); digital images, Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau ( : accessed 21 Aug 2014).
  7. Kenneth W. Keller and Lee Soltow, “Rural Pennsylvania in 1800: A Portrait From the Septennial Census,” 49 Pennsylvania History (Jan. 1982), 25-47; PDF, Pennsylvania History Archives ( : accessed 21 Aug 2014).
  8. See Karin Wulf, “Assessing Gender: Taxation and the Evaluation of Economic Viability in Late Colonial Philadelphia,” 64 Pennsylvania History (July 1997), 201-235; PDF, Pennsylvania History Archives ( : accessed 21 Aug 2014).
  9. Jack Marietta, “The Distribution of Wealth in Eighteenth-Century America: Nine Chester County Tax Lists, 1693-1799,” 62 Pennsylvania History (Oct. 1995), 532-545; PDF, Pennsylvania History Archives ( : accessed 21 Aug 2014).
  10. See “An Act to Regulate the Mode of Assessing and Collecting County Rates and Levies,” 15 Pa. Statutes at Large 322 et seq. (Harrisburg, Pa. : State Printer, 1911); digital images, Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau ( : accessed 21 Aug 2014).
  11. T. E. Tomlins, editor, The Law-Dictionary : Explaining the Rise, Progress, and Present State, of the English Law… (London, England : p.p., 1729), vol. III, pp. 449-450, “Inmate”; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 21 Aug 2014).
  12. Ibid.
Posted in Legal definitions, Statutes | 2 Comments

The self-inflicted wound…

Okay, The Legal Genealogist has really done it this time.

There was this blog post last week, see, about a fun walk the Federation of Genealogical Societies was doing to support the Preserve the Pensions effort.

Pensions1812For those genealogists who have lived in a cave (or tied to a microfilm reader) for the last two years, that’s the truly wonderful initiative now underway to digitize millions of pages of fragile documents in grave danger of deterioration: records of War of 1812 pension records held by the National Archives.

These particular records — documenting more than 180,000 pension records for War of 1812 soldiers and their families — are among the most heavily requested documents at the National Archives and, because of their use, their age and their fragile nature, they really need to be digitized to protect them and keep them available forever.

The effort to get these wonderful records digitized is being led by the Federation of Genealogical Societies, with matching funds support from Ancestry.

It’s a cause that’s near and dear to my heart, so when FGS said it was going to do a Fun Walk at the FGS Conference next week in San Antonio to help raise funds for the cause, I cast caution and good sense to the winds and said I’d do it if folks would sponsor me.


The original “the only time I see the sun rise is if I haven’t been to bed yet” night owl.

I agreed to be awake, out of bed and even dressed.

By six freakin’ thirty in the morning.

Also known as oh-dark-thirty.

To walk a mile or so to the Alamo. And, presumably, a mile or so back.

All in the name of raising money to Preserve the Pensions.

Well, a lot of people chimed in, and now I’m stuck. Really stuck.

You see, FGS decided to make this a contest on who could raise the most money. And, to comply with some pesky little legal requirements, they’re limiting this to four walkers.

Me, and three other people who are a lot — and I mean a lot — younger than I am: D. Joshua Taylor, Kenyatta Berry and Ed Donakey.

Now think about that for a minute. I could have lollygaggled around the back of the pack with a lot of walkers. There’s nothing in the rules that says I have to get there and back in any particular amount of time.

Except now there will only be three other walkers.

Who, given their ages compared to mine, will undoubtedly end up leaving me in the dust.

So to at least avoid embarrassing myself completely, I need to come in somewhere other than dead last in the fundraising department.

So sponsor me, willya?

Look, Josh Taylor has the whole FindMyPast organization behind him, Ed Donakey has all of FamilySearch, Kenyatta Berry has the Association of Professional Genealogists, and they’re all younger and cuter than I am. So I need all the help I can get here!

Besides, it’s for a good cause — and every dollar raised in support of the walkers goes directly to the Preserve The Pensions fund. Every dollar is matched first by FGS, then again by Ancestry. Every $25.00 sponsorship becomes a $100.00 contribution to the preservation of this incredibly important collection of War of 1812 pensions.

You can read more in the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ conference blog at as well as in the Preserve the Pensions web site at

And to sponsor me (or… sigh… one of the youngsters…), if you’re attending the FGS Conference, you can do it in person by stopping by the Preserve The Pensions booth (booth 506, 508) in the Exhibit Hall. And if you want to do it from home, visit the donate page at

You’ll see a section marked “Honor and Tribute” where you can select the walker you’d like to sponsor.

And thank you.

I think.

As long as I survive…

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