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Black's Law Dictionary on CD, 1st edition (1891) and 2nd edition (1910)

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A Dictionary of Law Containing Definitions of the Terms and Phrases of American and English Jurisprudence, Ancient and Modern (First Edition, 1891)

CD: 2,485 pages

Bonus: Also includes a free copy of the Second Edition (1910) on the same CD.

Every genealogist, regardless of their time and place of interest, must have a copy of Black's Law Dictionary in their library. Legal terminology differs from place to place and time to time, and successful genealogical research depends on the clear understanding of this changing terminology.

The publishers of Black's Law Dictionary are now producing their eighth edition, and the newer editions have added information on the developments in the law in recent decades. But for genealogists the earlier editions retain their value, since they have a higher proportion of information on older law, especially the English feudal law, which is essential for the interpretation of documents from the American colonial period and from the England that the colonists left.

While these volumes contain just the sort of legal verbiage that one would expect, there are many other reasons for consulting these volumes. Terms from legal Latin and legal French are included, as well as words and phrases from Scottish and Welsh law. There are dozens of Latin and French terms of kinship, which appear in older wills and lawsuits. There are definitions from the lexicon of agriculture, such as "treet," meaning fine wheat, and "tremesium," meaning the season or time of sowing summer corn. And much more.

In the second edition, also included here, Black included more citations to law reports and case law, in support of his definitions, and also added many more terms of medical jurisprudence.

Summary by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, for Archive CD Books USA:

This CD is fully searchable and can be viewed using Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 4 or later recommended) on any Windows, Macintosh, or Unix computer. The data on this CD is completely self-contained, and requires no installation.

The paper edition of the book has long been recognized as an essential reference tool for genealogists:

"Black's Law Dictionary is absolutely indispensable for genealogy, given the wide range of legal documents we work with and the specialized and archaic language we must interpret."
   Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
   Samford University Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research

"I consider Black's Law Dictionary as one of the "must have" references in my personal library. Genealogists should never be without a copy."
   Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG

"Editions of Black's Law Dictionary more recent than the Fourth are much less useful to genealogists than earlier ones. To make room for new material, more modern editions have dropped the very words the genealogist may need to interpret old documents--the archaic and obsolete terms that haven't been used for a century or more."
   Donn Devine, CG, CGI

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