The law at FGS

Lots of law-related sessions

So… tomorrow is the big day — the official opening of the 2013 conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

FGS_2013_speaker_badgePeople have been arriving in Fort Wayne since the weekend, needing to be there early for meetings or to take advantage of the fabulous genealogical collection at the Allen County Public Library, right next door to the convention center.

But the official opening bells rings tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. when Cyndi Ingle Howells (of Cyndi’s List) begins the society day by asking Is Your Society Website All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

By the time you read this, if you’re lucky enough to be attending this year’s conference, you’ll either be in the throes of last minute travel or deep into your own library research. The one thing you may not have done, if you’re anything like me, is choose which sessions you’re going to attend the rest of the conference.

So The Legal Genealogist has some suggestions. And somehow I suspect it won’t surprise you much that they all have something, in some way, to do with the law.

Records Access

There are two sessions on the problems genealogists face under today’s laws that are targeting records access. They are:

W-106, Wednesday 9:30 a.m.
Records Access and Preservation Committee: Strategies for Protecting Access to State Vital Records
Panel with Jan Meisels Allen, Jan Alpert and Frederick E. Moss.

The draft 2011 Model Vital Statistics Act is already influencing changes in access to vital records. How can genealogists prepare and respond?

F-328, Friday 2:00 p.m.
Roadblocks, Red Lights, and Detours: Records Access Issues

Sponsored by Association of Professional Genealogists
Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Learn what genealogists need to know – and do – as a community and as individuals to help get and keep access to records we need.

Modern genealogical issues and research

Three sessions offer insight into laws that affect how we do research today. Two from Debra Mieszala look at research that focuses on people in modern times, people who may be alive today, and I have one on copyright law:

F-318, Friday 11 a.m.
Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Research, Methods, and Skills

Debra Mieszala, CG

Modern research requires specialized skills, methods and resources. The importance of ethics when locating living people will be addressed.

F-345, Friday 5 p.m.
Options in Post-Adoption Research

Debra Mieszala, CG

The laws governing the release of adoption information are unique to each jurisdiction. Learn about the various options and how to begin a search.

S-432, Saturday 2 p.m.
Speak, Write, and Publish Safely–Staying Out of Copyright Trouble

Sponsored by Genealogical Speakers Guild
Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

A how-to guide for individuals and societies to speaking, writing and publishing while staying out of copyright trouble and protecting our own work.

The law and historical genealogy

And there are six presentations focusing on a variety of more historical laws and the records created as the result of those laws:

T-219, Thursday 2 p.m.
The Homestead Act and Land Entry Files

Billie Stone Fogarty, MEd

The Homestead Act has been called the most important act for the welfare of the people ever passed in the United States.

T-229, Thursday 5 p.m.
Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How of American Divorce

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Our ancestors’ marriages lasted longer than our own. One reason: divorces were hard to obtain. Records created reveal ancestors and the laws they lived by.

F-317, Friday 11 a.m.
Lost Children: Orphans, Vagrants, Delinquents, Half-Orphans, Dependents, Surrendered, Adopted

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG

As the views of society toward children evolved, the types of records and where these records might be located changed.

F-331, Friday 2 p.m.
German Marriage Laws and Customs

F. Warren Bittner, MS, CG

Learn how German marriage laws changed between 1500 and 1900, about tight marriage restrictions, and the culture surrounding births out of wedlock.

F-350, Friday 5 p.m.
Following Slaves & Slaveholders Using Estate and Settlement Records

J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

Property transfers (including slaves) at the time of death provide solid evidence of individuals and family groups. Learn to find these records and understand their practical use.

S-408, Saturday 9:30 a.m.
Ours and Theirs: Tax and Land Laws

Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL

Tax and land records provide clues to real lives when interpreted using laws of the time. Examples include Spanish and English influences and laws affecting women.

Lots to choose from in Fort Wayne!

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