NGS Books

Genealogy and the Law

Genealogy and the Law: A Guide to Legal Sources for the Family Historian guides readers through the variety of legal sources that genealogists need to explain many of the events that occurred in their ancestors’ lives. Land ownership, estate administration, and taxation are a few of the many aspects of life that cannot be fully understood without knowledge of the law in effect at the time. Written by an award-winning genealogist and an attorney, the textbook uniquely combines the perspectives of genealogy and the law. It covers the language of the law, how to find pertinent laws, the kinds of sources available, where they can be found, citation of legal works, and how to apply legal research to genealogical problems.

Genealogy and the Law is available for purchase in the NGS online store in print and as a Kindle e-book on Amazon.


Kay Haviland Freilich (1940–2022) was a 2012 NGS Fellow and author of Research in Pennsylvania, 3rd edition. She was a former president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and winner of the NGS 2009 Family History Writing Competition. Her husband William B. Freilich, Esq., (1940–2019) was an attorney with long service in his profession.