Which records should I be trying to get? Where do I get the records I need for my genealogy work?

Which records should I be trying to get? Where do I get the records I need for my genealogy work?

Q: Which records should I be trying to get?

 Where do I get the records I need for my genealogy work?

Like any good artist there comes a time in the creative process where a decision must be made.  Should I put a mountain here or a tree over there?  What colors should I use, etc. to make everything look beautifully balanced on the canvas.  So also, should a genealogist make vital decisions to have their family canvas develop beautifully. 

Once you have identified what you already know about your family from your personal memories and family knowledge, an original record must be found to make sure you are recording the correct and true information.  Review the facts you have gathered.  Do you need a birth certificate or baptism record?  Is a death record or marriage needed? Naturalization papers and passport applications can contain some useful information.  Probate records can be chocked full of tidbits as can service records and pensions.  Try to think about what types of papers your ancestors might have generated during their lifetime.   There are many good records that a researcher can obtain.  You will be surprised at the wealth of information available.  In addition to those just noted, you may find yourself wanting to acquire Federal and State Census records, church registers, business, and phone directories.  These are just of few of the valuable resources that can be searched.  Plan to get a variety of records as no single record will give you everything that you will need. 

Websites for digitized images are very helpful.  There are just too many to note here but www.ancestry, www.familysearch, www.fold3.com, www.cyndislist.com and www.findmypast are some very good sources.  On Familysearch.org a researcher can find articles regarding research strategies. The title is “United States: How to find genealogy records”. This website also has recommendations for other countries as well. “Wiki”, produced by the people at Familysearch, have put together a wonderful resource for every state or country that you can imagine.  Use Google’s search engine and type in the term “Familysearch wiki” and then the geographical area you want.  A researcher should also try placing the person, place, or thing that you might be researching into the Google search engine. If you insert “German genealogy” into the search you could be surprised at the results.


Don’t forget local Historical Societies, Archives and State Libraries.  Many local libraries have genealogy sections and should not be missed while you are hunting.


Note: For local patrons of the Handley Regional Library system with up-to-date cards, you can access www.fold3.com and www.heritagequest.com for free.  Use the library website’s portal to use these two website services. 


If you have any genealogy technique questions that you would like to have answered please email at: www.archives@handleyregional.org


Have fun and good hunting!