Step 7 Where and How to Locate the Records You Need


Now that you know the kinds of records that may be useful in doing your research, you will need to know how to obtain these documents for each particular event in your ancestor’s life. You need to have an understanding about where these documents might be kept.

Here are some of the issues that genealogical researchers face:  If the records don’t exist, we can’t solve the customer’s problem.  Records grow scarce and less detailed as you go back in time.  Courthouses may have been burned.  Borders of counties and states fluctuate.  Many records have not been filmed, much less published, indexed or digitized.  Spellings were not codified.  A problem may require searching many documents from many locations and take days, weeks, or more, and perhaps travel.  Writing a comprehensive summary report may take hours as well.

In spite of these issues, be assured that we will give full attention to your request and if the records are out there, we will do our best to find them!  We have decades of experience locating difficult records and will keep you posted all along the way in finding what you need.

  • Are they in the courthouse, church, or other institution in the town where your ancestor lived?
  • Were they collected at the state level of government? The federal?
  • Were they published in the local hometown newspaper at the time of the event?
  • Are they in a family Bible or the personal collection of a family member?
  • Are they in the special collections of your ancestor’s hometown library?
  • Perhaps they are in the special collections of the nearest university library?
  • Are they located in one of the fifty state archives? Perhaps in a regional library?
  • Are they in the National Archives or one of their many regional facilities?
  • Is the information in a book at the Library of Congress or a genealogy library in another state?
  • Is it at the Daughters’ of the American Revolution library in Washington?
  • Do you know where the largest genealogy libraries are located?
  • Is the information on the Internet? If so, is it reliable and documented?

These are a few of the questions that Genealogy One-on-One can answer for you. You can ask any of the above questions or others by going to our Help Me! form.

After you have culled information from your home and your family, there are basically eight avenues by which you may find the records you need to complete your genealogy. Do not overlook any of them.