CLAIRE BETTAG WEBINAR NOW AVAILABLE – On 17 September 2019, the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) presented a free webinar in conjunction with Legacy Family Tree Webinars: “Civil Law Concepts and Genealogy,” by Claire Bettag, CG®, FUGA, FNGS. Claire has graciously agreed to make a recording of this webinar free to the general public until October 1st, and available to subscribers until November 14, 2019 on our partner website Legacy Family Tree Webinars (

Civil law—as opposed to common law—is a legal system that governs private relationships and interactions in most non-English speaking countries. Rooted in principles derived from ancient Roman law, it is the legal system that governs an estimated sixty percent of the world’s populations, including most European countries. Consequently, researchers tracing ancestral lines outside the United States frequently encounter records created in a civil law tradition. Proper interpretation of those records requires understanding the underlying civil law principles.

In the United States, only the state of Louisiana is today ruled by civil law, a legacy of the state’s unique colonial history under France and Spain. Colonial records created under civil law are also among the colonial records of California, parts of the Mississippi Valley, the Gulf Coast, and the American southwest. This presentation discusses major legal concepts that affect records and research in civil law societies.

Claire Bettag, CG®, FUGA, FNGS, is a professional genealogist in Washington, D.C., focusing on Louisiana French and Acadian families. She has lectured nationally and was a contributing author to Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians (Elizabeth Shown Mills, ed., 2001). She has published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, and elsewhere. Currently she is writing a book about her paternal line for private publication. She has served as the director of the National Institute on Genealogical Research (now Gen-Fed), as a ProGen mentor, and on the boards of NGS, APG, and BCG. She is on the NGSQ editorial board and volunteers at the National Archives.

“The Board for Certification of Genealogists offers monthly webinars on an array of subjects in support of its mission to promote standards and ethics among all who practice genealogy, not just those who are seeking certification,” said President LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG®, CGL℠. “These webinars provide an opportunity for certified associates to participate in advancing the Board’s goals by presenting quality educational experiences to the entire genealogical community.”

To view “Civil Law Concepts and Genealogy,” by Claire Bettag, CG®, FUGA, FNGS, visit Legacy Family Tree Webinars at

For access to all BCG webinars, see the BCG Library at Legacy Family Tree Webinars at BCG receives a commission if you register by clicking via our affiliate link. For additional resources for genealogical education, visit

The words Certified Genealogist and letters CG are registered certification marks, and the designations CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.