How to Locate Your Ancestor in the United StatesEdit This Page

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''[[Image:Boy-with-binoculars.jpg|right|250x190px|Boy-with-binoculars.jpg]][[United States|United States]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[How_to_Locate_Your_Ancestor_in_the_United_States]]''
  
 
== Introduction  ==
 
== Introduction  ==
  
Often you will find clues in records such as censuses, death certificates, county histories, military records, and obituaries stating that your ancestor was born or lived in a particular state. Many times only the state is given. Thus it becomes a challenge to find out the county and town where he or she lived. Fortunately there are many types of records to search to help you locate your ancestor.  
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Knowing where your ancestor lived is key to successful research, since records may be kept by state, county, or town agencies. Local records such as [[United States Census|censuses]], [[United States Vital Records|death certificates]], [[United States, Histories of Towns, Counties, and States|county histories]], [[United States Military Records|military records], and [[United States Obituaries|obituaries]] tell so much about the people who lived there.  
  
This guide lists these types of records. This guide will give you suggestions on how to find where your ancestor lived in the United States. Records may be kept by state, county, or town agencies.  
+
You may find in your research that your ancestor was born or lived in a particular state, with no county or town given. Thus it becomes a challenge to find out exactly where he or she lived in that state.  
  
To successfully do research in the United States, you need to search for your ancestor in the records for the state, county, and town. Therefore, you need to determine where he or she lived.  
+
Fortunately there are many [[Choose a Record Type|types of records]] to search to help you locate your ancestor. This guide lists these types of records and give suggestions on how to find where your ancestor lived in the United States.  
  
== What You Are Looking For: ==
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'''[[How to Begin a Search for Your Ancestor|What You Are Looking For]]''': The place where your ancestor lived so that you can use the records of that place to find more information about your ancestor, such as [[United States Vital Records|birth, marriage, and death]] information.  
 
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The place where your ancestor lived so that you can use the records of that place to find more information about your ancestor, such as birth, marriage, and death information.  
+
  
 
== Steps  ==
 
== Steps  ==
  
The following 7 steps list sources which may give the state, county, or town where your ancestor lived.  
+
The following steps list sources which may give the [[United States, Histories of Towns, Counties, and States|state, county, or town]] where your ancestor lived.  
  
<br>
+
<br>  
  
 
==== Step 1. Check previous research.  ====
 
==== Step 1. Check previous research.  ====
  
<br>Research done by other people may have the information you are seeking. For suggestions on previous research, including Internet sites, see How to Use Previous Research.  
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Research done by other people may have the information you are seeking. For suggestions on previous research, including Internet sites, see [https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Special:Search?fulltext=true&search=How+to+Use+Previous+Research.+&searchbutton=Search How to Use Previous Research.]&nbsp;
  
==== <br>Step 2. Check the following sources for the state, county, or town where your ancestor lived.  ====
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==== Step 2. Check these sources to learn&nbsp;where your ancestor lived.  ====
  
<br>Social Security Death Index lists people whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration. Most people in this index died after about 1961. The index also shows the state where the person received a Social Security Number and the state where the person died. These Internet sites have the index: Ancestry.com or FamilyTreeMaker.com. The Family History Library and many Family History Centers also have the Social Security Death Index.  
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*Census indexes and images online through [https://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch Record Search], [http://www.ancestry.com/ Ancestry.com], or [http://www.heritagequestonline.com/hqoweb/library/do/index HeritageQuestOnline.com].
 +
*[http://www.deathindexes.com/ssdi.html Social Security Death Index] lists people whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration. Most people in this index died after about 1961. The index also shows the state where the person received a Social Security Number and the state where the person died. These Internet sites have the index: [http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3693&cj=1&netid=cj&o_xid=0000584978&o_lid=0000584978&o_sch=Affiliate+External Ancestry.com] or [http://familytreemaker.com/home/search?s_kwcid=social+security+death&o_xid=21892&o_lid=21892&o_sch=Search FamilyTreeMaker.com]. The [[Family History Library]] and many [[Family History Centers]] also have the Social Security Death Index.
 +
*[[Accelerated Indexing Systems U.S. Census Indexes (on Microfiche)|Accelerated Indexing Services Index (AIS)]] is an index of census records covering either all the United States or large sections of the United States for given times up to about 1880. A few other records, such as some tax records, are also included. The index usually tells the county and town where people lived. This index is available on the Internet through [http://www.ancestry.com/ Ancestry.com] and [http://familytreemaker.com/home/search?s_kwcid=social+security+death&o_xid=21892&o_lid=21892&o_sch=Search FamilyTreeMaker.com]. The [[Family History Library]] and many [[Family History Centers]] have this index on fiche.
 +
*[[United States Military Records|Military Records]] and [[US Military Pension Records|Military Pension Records]] are indexed on a national or state level. Places to search: [http://www.archives.com/ga.aspx?_act=ancestorsearch&klp=GA13002&cam=853&KW2=Military&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc Archives], and [http://militaryrecordsusa.com/ Military Records USA]
 +
*[[United States Passports|Passports]] can help you if your ancestor applied for a [http://www.naturalizationrecords.com/usa/passports.shtml United States passport]. These are indexed on a national level.
  
Accelerated Indexing Services Index (AIS) is an index of census records covering either all the United States or large sections of the United States for given times up to about 1880. A few other records, such as some tax records, are also included. The index usually tells the county and town where people lived. This index is available on the Internet through Ancestry.com and FamilyTreeMaker.com. The Family History Library and many Family History Centers have this index on fiche.  
+
==== Step 3. Check these sources if you know the state but not the county or town. ====
  
Military Records and Military Pension Records are indexed on a national or state level.
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'''[[United States Census Indexes|Census indexes]]''' usually give the town and county where the head of the household lived. The censuses were taken every 10 years starting in 1790. [[United States Census Indexes|United States Census Indexes]] are available from 1790 to 1940 for most states. For more information about censuses, check [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/list#page=1&region=UNITED_STATES Census on the FamilySearch] or in this [[United States Census Indexes|Research Wiki]] <br>
  
Passports can help you if your ancestor applied for a United States passport. These are indexed on a national level.  
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*'''[https://libraries.ucsd.edu/info/resources/persi-periodical-source-index Periodical Source Index (PERSI) indexes]''' about 5,000 genealogical and historical magazines by surnames and places. Also check: <br>&nbsp;:[[Periodical Source Index (PERSI)]] <br>
  
==== Step 3. Check the following sources if you know the state but not the county or town.  ====
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:[https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/837186 PERiodical Source Index]
  
Census indexes usually give the town and county where the head of the household lived. The censuses were taken every 10 years starting in 1790. Indexes are available from 1790 to 1930 for most states. For more information about censuses, choose Census on the Search list.  
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*'''[https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States_Genealogy#Family_Histories%7C Family histories]'''. Also Check: <br>&nbsp;:[https://familysearch.org/family-trees Genealogies]<br>
  
Periodical Source Index (PERSI) indexes about 5,000 genealogical and historical magazines by surnames and places. <br>
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:[http://www.archives.com/ga.aspx?_act=combo&cam=4423&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc Archives] <br>&nbsp;:[http://www.myheritage.com/page/free-family-history Free family history]<br>
  
==== Step 4. Check the following sources if you know the state and county but not the town. ====
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*'''[[:Category:States of the United States|County and town histories]]''' To go to the county and town histories. Find the state you want to search click on it. Each state has links to all its counties and almost each county has a county history and many have town histories. Also check: <br>&nbsp;:[[United States, Histories of Towns, Counties, and States]]&nbsp;:[http://www.newberry.org/genealogical-index-newberry Genealogical Index of the Newberry] <br>
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*'''[http://www.archives.com/ga.aspx?_act=combo&cam=4423&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc Archive Free Family Histories]'''enter your state and search. <br> Also: <br>&nbsp;:[http://www.myheritage.com/page/free-family-history Free family history]
 +
*'''[[United States Land and Property|Land records]]'''. Also: <br>&nbsp;:[http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/ The Official Federal Land Records Site] <br>&nbsp;:[http://search.ancestry.com/search/category.aspx?cat=144 Ancestry Land Records] <br>
  
The following types of county records may help you find the town where your ancestor lived:  
+
:[http://genealogy.about.com/od/land_records/tp/land_online.htm U.S. Land Records Online (About.com)]
  
*Family histories.
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*'''[[United States Court Records|Court records]]'''. Also check:&nbsp;:[http://www.uscourts.gov/CourtRecords.aspx U S Courts/Court Records] <br>&nbsp;:[[United States Probate Records]] <br>
*Statewide indexes to county and town histories.
+
*Land records.
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*Court records.  
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*Marriage indexes.  
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*Probate indexes.  
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*Tax lists.
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*Militia lists.
+
  
<br>
+
:[http://publicrecords.searchsystems.net/United-States/Court-Records/ Search System.net] <br>&nbsp;:[http://blacksheepancestors.com/usa/courts.shtml GENEALOGICAL COURT RECORDS] <br>
  
==== Step 5. If you want to know where your ancestor lived previously, check the following sources. ====
+
*'''[[How to Find United States Marriage Records|Marriage indexes]]'''.&nbsp;:[https://familysearch.org/catalog-search familysearch.org/catalog-search] Put in Marriage indexes + county, town, or state. (106,000+ results with just marriage indexes) <br>&nbsp;:[http://www.ancestry.com/cs/us/marriage-records-overlay?state=&kw=Marriage+Records&s_kwcid=free+marriage+records&o_xid=21892&o_lid=21892&o_sch=Search Marriage Records at Ancestry] <br>&nbsp;:[http://www.genwed.com/ U.S. Marriage Records at GenWed] <br>&nbsp;:[http://genealogy.about.com/od/marriage_records/tp/marriages_online.htm Online Marriage Indexes at About] <br>
 +
*'''[[United States Probate Records|Probate indexes]]'''.&nbsp;
  
Check the following for a place where you know your ancestor lived. These records might mention where your ancestor lived previously. The words in parentheses ( ) indicate whether to search for town, county, state, or national records.  
+
:[https://familysearch.org/catalog-search familysearch.org/catalog-search] Enter Probate indexes + county, town, or state. <br>
 +
:[http://www.uscourts.gov/CourtRecords.aspx U S Courts.gov/CourtRecords] <br>&nbsp;:[http://www.genealogyblog.com/?p=10692 Genealogy Blog] <br>
  
<br>Family histories (national) Local histories (town, county, or state)) Biographical works (town, county, or state) Land records (county). Church records (town). Obituaries (town or county). Public or town records (town). Court records (town, county, or state). Censuses for 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 (state or United States). Regional militia lists (county or state). Migration patterns and maps (state or United States).  
+
*'''[[United States Taxation|Tax lists]]'''. <br>
  
<br>
+
:[https://familysearch.org/catalog-search familysearch.org/catalog-search] Enter Tax lists + county, town, or state. <br>&nbsp;
 +
:[http://search.Ancestry.com/search/category.aspx?cat=142 Tax Lists Ancestry] <br>
  
==== Step 6. Find information about the relatives of your ancestor. ====
+
*'''[[United States Military Records|Militia lists]]'''. <br>&nbsp;:[https://familysearch.org/catalog-search familysearch.org/catalog-search] Enter Militia lists + county, town, or state. <br>&nbsp;
  
Use the sources in steps 1 to 4 to find where the following people lived:  
+
:[http://boards.ancestry.com/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=16561&p=localities.northam.usa.states.northcarolina.unknown State militia lists at Ancestry] <br>&nbsp;:[http://www.cyndislist.com/us/mo/military/ Cyndis List Military Lists]
  
<br>Children of your ancestor. Parents often lived near their children. <br>Brothers and sisters. Siblings often lived together or nearby. <br>In-laws. In-laws often lived nearby.
+
==== Step 4. If you want to know where your ancestor lived previously, check:  ====
  
<br>Since people usually moved with others who were relatives, friends, or neighbors, learning about these people may lead you to information about your ancestors.  
+
Note: The words in parentheses ( ) indicate whether to search for town, county, state, or national records.  
  
<br>
+
*[https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States_Genealogy#Family_Histories%7C Family histories] (national) <br> *[https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States_Genealogy#Family_Histories%7C Local histories] (town, county, or state)) <br> *Biographical works (town, county, or state) put "Local Histories of the United States" in the search box at the right on this page and search. Pick the one closest to area you are searching. <br> *[[United States Land and Property|Land records]] (county). <br> *[[United States Church Records|Church records]] (town). <br> *[[United States Obituaries|Obituaries]] (town or county). <br> *[[United States, How to Use County and Town Records (Those Including Vital Records)|Public or town records]] (town). <br> * [[United States Court Records|Court records] (town, county, or state). <br> *[[United States Census|Censuses]] for 1790, 1800, 1810,1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 (state or United States). <br> *[[United States Military Records|Regional militia]] lists (county or state). <br> *[[United States Migration Internal|Migration patterns]] and [[United States Maps|maps]] (state or United States). also see[[United States Land and Property]]and [[United States Emigration and Immigration]]
  
==== <br>Step 7. Check places where other events happened. ====
+
== United States ==
  
If you know where your ancestor was married, check marriage records, deeds, county and town histories, and other records of that place for birth information.  
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{| width="99%" border="0" class="FCK__ShowTableBorders"
 +
|-
 +
| valign="top" align="left" |
 +
*[[Image:Alabama flag.png|border|22x15px|Alabama flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Alabama Emigration and Immigration|Alabama]]
 +
*[[Image:Alaska flag.png|border|22x15px|Alaska flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Alaska Emigration and Immigration|Alaska]]
 +
*[[Image:Arizona flag.png|border|22x15px|Arizona flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Arizona Emigration and Immigration|Arizona]]
 +
*[[Image:Arkansas flag.png|border|22x15px|Arkansas flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Arkansas Emigration and Immigration|Arkansas]]
 +
*[[Image:California flag.png|border|22x15px|California flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[California Emigration and Immigration|California]]
 +
*[[Image:Colorado flag.png|border|22x15px|Colorado flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Colorado Emigration and Immigration|Colorado]]
 +
*[[Image:Connecticut flag.png|border|22x13px|Connecticut flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Connecticut Emigration and Immigration|Connecticut]]
 +
*[[Image:Delaware flag.png|border|22x15px|Delaware flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Delaware Emigration and Immigration|Delaware]]
 +
*[[Image:District of Columbia flag.png|border|22x11px|District of Columbia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[District of Columbia Emigration and Immigration|Dist. of Col.]]
 +
*[[Image:Florida flag.png|border|22x15px|Florida flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Florida Emigration and Immigration|Florida]]
 +
*[[Image:Georgia flag.png|border|22x14px|Georgia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Georgia Emigration and Immigration|Georgia]]
 +
*[[Image:Hawaii flag.png|border|22x11px|Hawaii flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Hawaii Emigration and Immigration|Hawaii]]
 +
*[[Image:Idaho flag.png|border|22x18px|Idaho flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Idaho Emigration and Immigration|Idaho]]
 +
*[[Image:Illinois flag.png|border|22x13px|Illinois flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Illinois Emigration and Immigration|Illinois]]
 +
*[[Image:Indiana flag.png|border|22x15px|Indiana flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Indiana Emigration and Immigration|Indiana]]
 +
*[[Image:Iowa flag.png|border|22x15px|Iowa flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Iowa Emigration and Immigration|Iowa]]
 +
*[[Image:Kansas flag.png|border|22x13px|Kansas flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Kansas Emigration and Immigration|Kansas]]
 +
 
 +
| valign="top" align="left" |
 +
*[[Image:Kentucky flag.png|border|22x15px|Kentucky flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Kentucky Emigration and Immigration|Kentucky]]
 +
*[[Image:Louisiana flag.png|border|22x15px|Louisiana flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Louisiana Emigration and Immigration|Louisiana]]
 +
*[[Image:Maine flag.png|border|22x15px|Maine flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Maine Emigration and Immigration|Maine]]
 +
*[[Image:Maryland flag.png|border|22x15px|Maryland flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Maryland Emigration and Immigration|Maryland]]
 +
*[[Image:Massachusetts flag.png|border|22x13px|Massachusetts flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Massachusetts Emigration and Immigration|Massachusetts]]
 +
*[[Image:Michigan flag.png|border|22x15px|Michigan flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Michigan Emigration and Immigration|Michigan]]
 +
*[[Image:Minnesota flag.png|border|22x14px|Minnesota flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Minnesota Emigration and Immigration|Minnesota]]
 +
*[[Image:Mississippi flag.png|border|22x13px|Mississippi flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Mississippi Emigration and Immigration|Mississippi]]
 +
*[[Image:Missouri flag.png|border|22x13px|Missouri flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Missouri Emigration and Immigration|Missouri]]
 +
*[[Image:Montana flag.png|border|22x15px|Montana flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Montana Emigration and Immigration|Montana]]
 +
*[[Image:Nebraska flag.png|border|22x13px|Nebraska flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Nebraska Emigration and Immigration|Nebraska]]
 +
*[[Image:Nevada flag.png|border|22x15px|Nevada flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Nevada Emigration and Immigration|Nevada]]
 +
*[[Image:New Hampshire flag.png|border|22x15px|New Hampshire flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New Hampshire Emigration and Immigration|New Hampshire]]
 +
*[[Image:New Jersey flag.png|border|22x15px|New Jersey flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New Jersey Emigration and Immigration|New Jersey]]
 +
*[[Image:New Mexico flag.png|border|22x15px|New Mexico flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New Mexico Emigration and Immigration|New Mexico]]
 +
*[[Image:New York flag.png|border|22x11px|New York flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New York Emigration and Immigration|New York]]
 +
*[[Image:North Carolina flag.png|border|22x15px|North Carolina flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[North Carolina Emigration and Immigration|North Carolina]]
 +
 
 +
| valign="top" align="left" |
 +
*[[Image:North Dakota flag.png|border|22x17px|North Dakota flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[North Dakota Emigration and Immigration|North Dakota]]
 +
*[[Image:Ohio flag.png|22x14px|Ohio flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Ohio Emigration and Immigration|Ohio]]
 +
*[[Image:Oklahoma flag.png|border|22x15px|Oklahoma flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Oklahoma Emigration and Immigration|Oklahoma]]
 +
*[[Image:Oregon flag.png|border|22x13px|Oregon flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Oregon Emigration and Immigration|Oregon]]
 +
*[[Image:Pennsylvania flag.png|border|22x15px|Pennsylvania flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration|Pennsylvania]]
 +
*[[Image:Rhode Island flag.png|border|21x20px|Rhode Island flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Rhode Island Emigration and Immigration|Rhode Island]]
 +
*[[Image:South Carolina flag.png|border|22x15px|South Carolina flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[South Carolina Emigration and Immigration|South Carolina]]
 +
*[[Image:South Dakota flag.png|border|22x13px|South Dakota flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[South Dakota Emigration and Immigration|South Dakota]]
 +
*[[Image:Tennessee flag.png|border|22x13px|Tennessee flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Tennessee Emigration and Immigration|Tennessee]]
 +
*[[Image:Texas flag.png|border|22x15px|Texas flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Texas Emigration and Immigration|Texas]]
 +
*[[Image:Utah flag.png|border|22x15px|Utah flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Utah Emigration and Immigration|Utah]]
 +
*[[Image:Vermont flag.png|border|22x13px|Vermont flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Vermont Emigration and Immigration|Vermont]]
 +
*[[Image:Virginia flag.png|border|22x15px|Virginia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Virginia Emigration and Immigration|Virginia]]
 +
*[[Image:Washington flag.png|border|22x13px|Washington flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Washington Emigration and Immigration|Washington]]
 +
*[[Image:West Virginia flag.png|border|22x12px|West Virginia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[West Virginia Emigration and Immigration|West Virginia]]
 +
*[[Image:Wisconsin flag.png|border|22x15px|Wisconsin flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Wisconsin Emigration and Immigration|Wisconsin]]
 +
*[[Image:Wyoming flag.png|border|22x15px|Wyoming flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Wyoming Emigration and Immigration|Wyoming]]
 +
 
 +
|}
 +
 
 +
<br>
 +
 
 +
==== Step 5. Find information about the relatives of your ancestor.  ====
 +
 
 +
Use the sources in steps 1 to 4 to find where the following people lived:
 +
 
 +
*Children of your ancestor. Parents often lived near their children.
 +
*Brothers and sisters. Siblings often lived together or nearby.
 +
*In-laws. In-laws often lived nearby.
 +
 
 +
Since people usually moved with others who were relatives, friends, or neighbors, learning about these people may lead you to information about your ancestors.
 +
 
 +
==== Step 6. Check places where other events happened.  ====
 +
 
 +
If you know where your ancestor was married, check marriage records, deeds, county and town histories, and other records of that place for birth information. See lists above.  
  
 
If you know where your ancestor was born, check for marriage records of that place as many ancestors were married in the town or county where they were born.  
 
If you know where your ancestor was born, check for marriage records of that place as many ancestors were married in the town or county where they were born.  
Line 80: Line 155:
 
See the list of suggested records for the other events.  
 
See the list of suggested records for the other events.  
  
<br>
+
|}
 +
 
 +
== Related Content  ==
 +
 
 +
*[[How to Guess Where to Start|How to Guess Where to Start]]
 +
*[[Principles of Family History Research]]
 +
*[[Family Trees: An Online Research Tool|Family Trees: An Online Research Tool]]
 +
*Toms, Gary R. [http://broadcast.lds.org/elearning/fhd/Community/Mid_Continent_Library/Tips_and_Tactics/Player.html ''Tips and Tactics from 50 Years of Research''] (35 minute online video) [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/education/frameset_education.asp?PAGE=education_research_series_online.asp%3FActiveTab=2 FamilySearch Research Classes Online], 2010.
 +
*Miller, Ellen. [http://broadcast.lds.org/elearning/fhd/Community/Mid_Continent_Library/Beginning_Genealogy/Player.html ''Beginning Genealogy''] (29 minute online video) [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/education/frameset_education.asp?PAGE=education_research_series_online.asp%3FActiveTab=2 FamilySearch Research Classes Online], 2010.
  
<br>
+
[[Category:Beginners]]

Latest revision as of 13:39, 12 June 2013

Boy-with-binoculars.jpg
United States Gotoarrow.png How_to_Locate_Your_Ancestor_in_the_United_States

Contents

Introduction

Knowing where your ancestor lived is key to successful research, since records may be kept by state, county, or town agencies. Local records such as censuses, death certificates, county histories, [[United States Military Records|military records], and obituaries tell so much about the people who lived there.

You may find in your research that your ancestor was born or lived in a particular state, with no county or town given. Thus it becomes a challenge to find out exactly where he or she lived in that state.

Fortunately there are many types of records to search to help you locate your ancestor. This guide lists these types of records and give suggestions on how to find where your ancestor lived in the United States.

What You Are Looking For: The place where your ancestor lived so that you can use the records of that place to find more information about your ancestor, such as birth, marriage, and death information.

Steps

The following steps list sources which may give the state, county, or town where your ancestor lived.


Step 1. Check previous research.

Research done by other people may have the information you are seeking. For suggestions on previous research, including Internet sites, see How to Use Previous Research. 

Step 2. Check these sources to learn where your ancestor lived.

Step 3. Check these sources if you know the state but not the county or town.

Census indexes usually give the town and county where the head of the household lived. The censuses were taken every 10 years starting in 1790. United States Census Indexes are available from 1790 to 1940 for most states. For more information about censuses, check Census on the FamilySearch or in this Research Wiki

PERiodical Source Index
Archives
 :Free family history
U.S. Land Records Online (About.com)
Search System.net
 :GENEALOGICAL COURT RECORDS
familysearch.org/catalog-search Enter Probate indexes + county, town, or state.
U S Courts.gov/CourtRecords
 :Genealogy Blog
familysearch.org/catalog-search Enter Tax lists + county, town, or state.
 
Tax Lists Ancestry
State militia lists at Ancestry
 :Cyndis List Military Lists

Step 4. If you want to know where your ancestor lived previously, check:

Note: The words in parentheses ( ) indicate whether to search for town, county, state, or national records.

United States


Step 5. Find information about the relatives of your ancestor.

Use the sources in steps 1 to 4 to find where the following people lived:

  • Children of your ancestor. Parents often lived near their children.
  • Brothers and sisters. Siblings often lived together or nearby.
  • In-laws. In-laws often lived nearby.

Since people usually moved with others who were relatives, friends, or neighbors, learning about these people may lead you to information about your ancestors.

Step 6. Check places where other events happened.

If you know where your ancestor was married, check marriage records, deeds, county and town histories, and other records of that place for birth information. See lists above.

If you know where your ancestor was born, check for marriage records of that place as many ancestors were married in the town or county where they were born.

See the list of suggested records for the other events.

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  • This page was last modified on 12 June 2013, at 13:39.
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