Family History Law Library

Course Coordinators:
Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL


Claire Bettag, CG
David E. Rencher, AG, CG
Course Overview:
The course will cover the basic legal concepts and legal research approaches appropriate for genealogists and will require the student to employ these concepts with hands on exercises using the resources of the FHL. Topics will include courts and their records, estate laws, legislative records, pensions, and property law. Additionally, elements of both English common law and Roman law will be introduced through classes on the legal concepts found in Irish, German, and French law that relate to research in those countries and their relevance to research in the United States.
  • Case Studies in Legal Research and Analysis [Russell/Sayre]
  • Civil Law: France and its Legal Records [Bettag]
  • Civil Law: Germany and its Legal Records [TBA]
  • Common Law: Ireland and its Legal Records [Rencher]
  • Family Law and its Records [Russell]
  • Federal Courts and their Records [Russell]
  • Immigration and Naturalization and their Records [Russell]
  • Probate and its Records [Russell]
  • State Courts and their Records [Russell]
  • State Property Law and its Records [Russell]
  • Legislative and Executive Records [Sayre]
  • The Serial Set et al Illustrated (case studies and usage concepts) [Sayre]
  • The Claims Committees of the Congress [Sayre]
  • Military Pension Laws [Sayre]
  • Federal Land Law – The Public Domain [Sayre]
  • Federal Land Law – Disposing of Public Land [Sayre]