Local Public Records

Local Public Records

Most towns and counties have records of which a lot of us are unaware. Below are listed just a few of them.

Record SourceLocationInformation contained
NewspapersLocal Library or Newspaper OfficeObituaries, Will Readings, Visits of family members, weddings
Cemetery RecordsCourthouse - Recorders OfficeBirth, Death Dates, Place of Birth
School RecordsLocal Schools and Public LibrariesAddresses, birthdates and name of colleges or school information was sent to
County HistoriesPublic LibrariesFamily Histories, Names of people involved in town government or happenings
Telephone DirectoriesPublic LibrariesNames and addresses of family, business addresses to help locate land and tax records
City and County Plat MapsCounty Recorders Office/Local Genealogical SocietyNames of owners of town lots
Church RecordsLocal Church and Genealogical SocietiesBirth, Marriage and Death Records before vital records start
Local Police RecordsCity Hall or County Clerk's OfficeNames, addresses, birthdates and details of offenders
Local Militia RecordsCity Hall - Public Library - Local Genealogical SocietyNames of Militia members before Civil War Era

To begin your research make a visit to each of the following offices to find out if they have any of the above records:

  • Public Library
  • City Hall
  • Newspaper Office
  • Local School Superintendents Office
  • County Clerk and Recorders Office
  • Local Genealogical or Historical Society

While there, make a note of the dates covered by the records and whether or not they are complete. Also note the author, to make certain the records are reputable, and any printing dates. Use a blank piece of paper for every SURNAME, list all the information you find concerning EVERYONE by that surname. You may find later they are related and won't have to go back and research the records again. You may as well get all the information on every surname on your pedigree chart that comes from that local area. That way you only have to make this trip one time.

We suggest that you make a copy of the front page of the source as well as copying the pages that contain the information you were seeking. On the back of that copy, put the title, call number and location where you found the record.

Keep a research log of EVERY record searched, the date you searched it and the names for which you searched. Label each piece of blank paper you've written information on and file it in the correct surname folder for future reference.

When visitiing a cemetery and checking tombstones, draw a picture of the cemetery layout with each row marked and numbered to help you if you ever need to find that exact tombstone again.

Public records searched and recorded, you're ready to move on to the vital records!

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