RussellThe 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 native of the American west 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 (U.S.) and numerous state and regional genealogical societies. She has attended numerous genealogy training programs including the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR) at the U.S. National Archives in Washington, D.C., and was a Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. prizewinner in Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis at the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University in Alabama.

Now on the faculty of IGHR as well as the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), from which she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist? and Certified Genealogical Lecturer?. She has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the National Genealogical Society Magazine and BCG’s OnBoard newsletter.

Her blog – chosen as one of the American Bar Association’s top 100 in 2013 – appears at The Legal Genealogist website

Web site –

Unlock the Past Cruises – 10th


  • John Scott Davenport (Judy G. Russell, editor), The Pamunkey Davenport Papers: The Saga of the Virginia Davenports Who Had Their Beginnings in or near Pamunkey Neck, CD-ROM (Charles Town, West Virginia : Pamunkey Davenport Family Association, 2009).
  • numerous articles, blog posts and more


Group I. Divided by a Common Language, United by the Common Law

  • Fair Use and Fair Dealing: Copyright Law for Genealogists
  • How Common is the Common Law?
  • The Common Poor: Transported, Indentured, Enslaved
  • Feme Sole, Feme Covert: Women under the Common Law
  • Of Public Wrongs: Our Common Scoundrels

Group II. Hidden in Our Genes

  • ABCs of DNA
  • Beyond X and Y: The Promise and Pitfalls of Autosomal DNA Testing
  • DNA and the Golden Rule: The Law and Ethics of Genetic Genealogy
  • DNA and the 21st Century Reasonably Exhaustive Search
  • What Test for Me?

Group III. Methods to Our Genealogical Madness

  • No Vitals? No Problem! – Building a Family through Circumstantial Evidence
  • Shootout at the Rhododendron Lodge: Reconstructing Life-Changing Events
  • More than Just Names and Dates
  • Just Three Generations