United States: Research Sources Checklist

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U.S. GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH CHECKLIST


GOALS:

FAMILY NAME .......................................................................

PLACE / LOCALITY ................................................................

DATE/EVENT ........................................................................


I. REFERENCE AIDS

□ research guides and handbooks = "how-to", research methods

□ library inventories = availability and access of records

 [start with FHL Catalog online]

□ maps, gazetteers, finding aids = geography, locations, changes of place names


II. SOURCES FOR SURVEYING PREVIOUS RESEARCH

□ family and home sources = compiled stories and genealogies, traditions

□ databases = compiled genealogies and indexes [beware of errors and duplication]

 √ LDS Ancestral File	 √   LDS Pedigree Resource File
 √ International Genealogical Index	
 √ other mega Internet files: ………………………………………………

□ local histories, biographies = stories, history, life sketches of settlers


III. SOURCES FOR ORIGINAL RESEARCH

A. Preliminary materials □ family and home sources = vital statistics, memorabilia, family documents

□ directories = residence, occupation


B. Vital records (civil and church)

□ birth or christening = date and place of birth, parentage, religion

□ marriage = date and place of marriage, age, parents, witnesses

□ death = date and place of death and birth, spouse, cause of death, burial place

□ cemetery, sexton = age, death date and place, spouse, residence, birth


C. Census records

□ indexes = year, state and county of residence [most now on Internet]

□ federal enumerations = age, occupation, residence, place of origin, family

□ state and special lists = age, occupation, residence, origin, family


D. Probate court records

□ wills = family links, property ownership, place of death

□ administrations, etc. = relatives, property settlement


E. Land and property records

□ deeds or mortgages = spouse, residence, property ownership

□ grants and surveys = residence, property ownership


F. Court records

□ civil and criminal = lawsuits, debts, occupation, lifestyle

□ adoption, guardianship = relatives, lifestyle

□ divorce = vital statistics, family links, residences


G. Naturalization and citizenship records

□ declarations of intention = birth date and place, arrival, residence

□ petitions = birth date and place, arrival, residence, occupation, etc.

□ oaths, final certificates = place or court of prior naturalization applications


H. Emigration and immigration records

□ passenger lists = age, occupation, origin, family members, arrival

□ border crossings = birthplace, relatives, arrival, occupation

□ passport applications = birth date and place, occupation, description


I. Military records

□ pension files = age, spouse, heirs, occupation, residence, birthplace

□ service files = rank, unit, age, physical description

□ bounty land records = age, residence, military service


J. Miscellaneous records

□ tax, school, voting, commercial = residence, occupation, age

□ lineage society files = biography, family links, vital statistics

□ newspapers, obituaries = vital statistics, residence, occupation

□ others (family Bibles, funeral homes, prisons, etc.)


IV. LOCATIONS OF RECORDS (list those near you)

□ LDS Family History Centers ..................................................

□ LDS Family History Library ...................................................

□ Public and university libraries ................................................

□ Genealogical & historical societies .........................................

□ Local courthouses ..............................................................

□ Church archives ................................................................

□ National Archives & regional branches ....................................

□ Others .........................................................................


P.S.: ORGANIZING THE SEARCH

◘  family group records	◘  pedigree chart
◘  research logs		◘  other forms or software: 

Learn to gather, evaluate, and organize historical documents. The better you describe a search or a source, the more focused you will be, and less likely to repeat a search. The more you are organized, the more accurate the results will be. One pedigree chart is your first ‘road map’.

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