Materials and records created by others are the bread-and-butter of genealogy. But whether copyright law allows use of old photographs, reports and articles can be murky at best. Understanding what is and isn’t copyrighted and what genealogists can and can’t use is the key to staying out of trouble and to protecting our own work.
The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. A Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side, she is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society and numerous state and regional genealogical societies.