The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree who writes and lectures on topics ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. On the faculty of numerous genealogy institutes, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, from which she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical Lecturer℠. Her award-winning blog is at http://www.legalgenealogist.com.
The “best evidence” rule in law requires the presentation in court of an original rather than a copy, and a copy won’t even be admitted if the original is available. In genealogy, our rules require us to do the same: to discriminate, choose in favor of, prefer certain types of evidence to others, certain bits of information to others, certain sources to others. That sounds right, but just how do we do that? What are the rules we follow, what do we need to know to do this right, and what tools are available to help us? Those are the focus of this presentation.