United States, How to Use the Records Summary

From FamilySearch Wiki

(Difference between revisions)
(Created page with '== About birth records: == *Name indexes to births make it possible to access a specific record quickly. *Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misint…')
 
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| Look for the names and residences of other family members in cemetery records.
 
| Look for the names and residences of other family members in cemetery records.
 +
|}
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 +
<br>
 +
 +
<br>
 +
 +
== About marriage records:  ==
 +
 +
*Name indexes make it possible to access a specific marriage record quickly.
 +
*Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations. If the information was scanned, there may be character recognition errors.
 +
*The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
 +
*Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
 +
*The type of information given may vary from one record to another record.
 +
 +
== To search the index, you need to know the following:  ==
 +
 +
*The county where the marriage occurred.
 +
*The name of the person at the time of marriage.
 +
*The approximate marriage date.
 +
*The marriage place.
 +
*The name of the intended spouse.
 +
 +
== Tips for finding your ancestor:  ==
 +
 +
*Verify whether the name you found is your ancestor’s. Compare the information you know to the information you find. Look at relationships.
 +
*When looking for a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
 +
*Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
 +
 +
== If you don’t find your ancestor in the index, do the following:  ==
 +
 +
*Search for the marriage record of the marriage partner, if known.
 +
*Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
 +
*Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
 +
 +
== Find your ancestor’s marriage record:  ==
 +
 +
1. Find your ancestor in the index.
 +
 +
*Note the locator information (such as page, entry, or certificate number) for the record.
 +
 +
2. Find your ancestor’s marriage record:
 +
 +
*Look for the page, entry, or certificate number (or other locator information) you found in the index.
 +
 +
3. Evaluate and record each piece of information you find.
 +
 +
== Find marriage records for other family members:  ==
 +
 +
While you are searching marriage records, it is helpful to follow the same steps to find the marriage records of other family members who lived in the same time and place.<br>1. Look for:
 +
 +
*Every person with the same surname. This is especially helpful if the surname is unusual or the family lived in rural areas.
 +
*Children, siblings, parents, and other relatives whose records may be in the same county.
 +
*A second marriage of a parent.
 +
 +
2. Compile the individuals into families, with the appropriate parents. (Create family group records for the families.)<br>3. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
 +
 +
== Continue your research:  ==
 +
 +
Use the information you found to search other records. You can learn more about the same family or look for additional ancestors. Choose what you want to look for next.<br>
 +
 +
{| border="3"
 +
|-
 +
| style="background: #f0f0f0" align="center" | '''If you know this information:'''
 +
| style="background: #f0f0f0" align="center" | '''Search for or do this:'''
 +
|-
 +
| Marriage date and place
 +
| Create a family group record for this husband and wife.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find the family in census records.
 +
|-
 +
| Birth date or age and place of birth of the husband and wife.
 +
| Find the couple’s birth records and parents’ names.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find census records.
 +
|-
 +
| Residence and names of parents
 +
| Find church records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find land records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find census records.
 +
|-
 +
| Occupations
 +
| Find employment records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find military or other types of records.
 +
|-
 +
| Parents’ birth places
 +
| Find former residences.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Establish a migration pattern for the family.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find census records.
 +
|-
 +
| Name of the marriage officiator (clue to the religion)
 +
| Find church records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find the area of residence. Note that ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
 +
|-
 +
| Number of marriages, more than one
 +
| Look for previous marriages.
 +
|}
 +
 +
<br>
 +
 +
<br>
 +
 +
== About general vital records:  ==
 +
 +
*Name indexes make it possible to access a specific record quickly.
 +
*Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations. If the information was scanned, there may be character recognition errors.
 +
*The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
 +
*Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
 +
*The type of information given may vary from one record to another record.
 +
 +
== To search the index, you need to know the following:  ==
 +
 +
*The name of the individual or individuals (such as the names of the bride and groom, the infant, or the deceased).
 +
*The place where the birth, marriage, or death occurred.
 +
*The approximate date the event occurred.
 +
 +
== Tips for finding your ancestor:  ==
 +
 +
*Verify whether the name you found is your ancestor’s. Compare the information you know to the information you find. Look at relationships.
 +
*When looking for a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is your ancestor.
 +
*Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
 +
 +
== If you don’t find your ancestor in the index, do the following:  ==
 +
 +
*Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
 +
*Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
 +
 +
== Find your ancestor’s vital record:  ==
 +
 +
1. Find your ancestor in the index.
 +
 +
*Note the locator information (such as page, entry, or certificate number) for the record.
 +
 +
2. Find your ancestor’s vital record:
 +
 +
*Look for the page, entry, or certificate number (or other locator information) you found in the index.
 +
 +
3. Evaluate and record each piece of information you find.
 +
 +
== Find vital records for other family members:  ==
 +
 +
While you are searching vital records, it is helpful to follow the same steps to find the vital records of other family members who lived in the same time and place.<br>1. Look for:
 +
 +
*Every person with the same surname. This is especially helpful if the surname is unusual or in rural areas.
 +
*Children, siblings, parents, and other relatives whose records may be in the same county.
 +
*A second marriage of a parent.
 +
 +
2. Compile the individuals into families, with the appropriate parents. (Create family group records for the families.)<br>3. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
 +
 +
== Continue your research:  ==
 +
 +
Use the information you found to search other records. You can learn more about the same family or look for additional ancestors. Choose what you want to look for next.
 +
 +
{| border="3"
 +
|-
 +
| style="background: #f0f0f0" align="center" | '''If you know this information:'''
 +
| style="background: #f0f0f0" align="center" | '''Search for or do this:'''
 +
|-
 +
| Marriage date and place
 +
| Create a family group record for the husband and wife.
 +
|-
 +
| Birth date or age and place of birth of the husband and wife
 +
| Find the couple’s birth records and look for their parents’ names.
 +
|-
 +
| Birth date or age and place of birth
 +
| Find the family in census records.
 +
|-
 +
| Residence and names of parents
 +
| Find church records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find land records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find census records.
 +
|-
 +
| Occupations
 +
| Find employment records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find military records, or other such records.
 +
|-
 +
| Parents’ birthplaces
 +
| Find former residences of the family.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Establish a migration pattern.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find census records.
 +
|-
 +
| The name of an officiator (clue to the family’s religion)
 +
| Find church records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Look for an area of residence in the county. (Note: Sometimes an officiator recorded events that took place in another county.)
 +
|-
 +
| Number of marriages, more than one
 +
| Find previous marriages.
 +
|-
 +
| Name of undertaker or mortuary
 +
| Look for names and residences of other family members in funeral records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Look for names and residences of other family members in cemetery records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Look for names and residences of other family members in census records.
 +
|}
 +
 +
<br>
 +
 +
<br>
 +
 +
== About probate records:  ==
 +
 +
*For earlier times, use probate records to substitute for civil birth and death records that do not yet exist.
 +
*Name indexes make it possible to access a specific record quickly.
 +
*Check the index for the surname and then the given name.
 +
*Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations. If the information was scanned, there may be character recognition errors.
 +
*The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the deceased or the testator.
 +
*Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
 +
*The type of information given may vary from one record to another record.
 +
*Wills are more likely to be found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas.
 +
 +
== To search the index, you need to know the following:  ==
 +
 +
*The name of the deceased.
 +
*The place of residence.
 +
*The approximate death or probate date.
 +
 +
== Tips for finding your ancestor:  ==
 +
 +
*Verify whether the name you found is your ancestor’s. Compare the information you know to the information you find. Look at relationships.
 +
*When looking for a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
 +
*Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
 +
 +
== If you don’t find your ancestor in the index, do the following:  ==
 +
 +
*Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
 +
*Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
 +
 +
== Find your ancestor’s probate record:  ==
 +
 +
1. Find your ancestor in the index.
 +
 +
*Note the locator information (such as page, entry, or certificate number) for the record.
 +
 +
2. Find your ancestor’s probate record:
 +
 +
*Look for the page, entry, or certificate number (or other locator information) you found in the index.
 +
 +
3. Evaluate and record each piece of information you find for all the family members.
 +
 +
== Find probate records for other family members:  ==
 +
 +
While you are searching probate records, it is helpful to follow the same steps to find other family members who lived in the same time and place.<br>1. Look for:
 +
 +
*Every person with the same surname. This is especially helpful if the surname is unusual or the family lived in rural areas.
 +
*Children, siblings, parents, and other relatives whose records may be in the same area.
 +
 +
2. Compile the individuals into families, with the appropriate parents. (Create family group records for the families.)<br>3. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
 +
 +
== Continue your research:  ==
 +
 +
Use the information you found to search other records. You can learn more about the same family or look for additional ancestors. Choose what you want to look for next.
 +
 +
{| border="3"
 +
|-
 +
| style="background: #f0f0f0" align="center" | '''If you know this information:'''
 +
| style="background: #f0f0f0" align="center" | '''Search for or do this:'''
 +
|-
 +
| Probate records and wills
 +
| Identify heirs and relatives.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Learn about adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Approximate a death date from information you find.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Learn about land transactions.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Look for the second marriage of a parent.
 +
|-
 +
| Birth date or age and residence or birth place of the deceased
 +
| Find census records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find church records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find land records.
 +
|-
 +
| Occupations
 +
| Find employment records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find military or other types of records.
 +
|}
 +
 +
<br>
 +
 +
<br>
 +
 +
== About state census records:  ==
 +
 +
*Census records may identify persons for whom no other records exist.
 +
*Name indexes make it possible to access a specific death record quickly.
 +
*Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations. If the information was scanned, there may be character recognition errors.
 +
*The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
 +
*Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
 +
*The type of information given may vary from one record to another record.
 +
 +
== To search the index, you need to know the following:  ==
 +
 +
*The name of the person.
 +
*The place of residence at the time of the census.
 +
 +
== Tips for finding your ancestor:  ==
 +
 +
*Verify whether the name you found is your ancestor’s. Compare the information you know to the information you find. Look at relationships.
 +
*When looking for a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
 +
*Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
 +
 +
== If you don’t find your ancestor in the index, do the following:  ==
 +
 +
*Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
 +
*Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
 +
 +
== Find your ancestor’s census record:  ==
 +
 +
1. Find your ancestor in the index.
 +
 +
*Note the locator information (such as page, entry, or certificate number) for the record.
 +
 +
2. Find your ancestor in the census.
 +
 +
*Look for the page, entry, or certificate number (or other locator information) you found in the index.
 +
 +
3. Evaluate and record each piece of information you find for all members of the household.
 +
 +
== Find other family members in the census:  ==
 +
 +
1. While you are searching census records, it is helpful to follow the same steps to find all related families who lived in the same time and place.<br>2. Look for:
 +
 +
*Married family members who lived nearby but in a separate household. Search an entire town, neighboring towns, or even a county.
 +
*An earlier generation. Elderly parents may have been living with or close by a married child.
 +
*A younger generation. A young married couple may have lived with one of their sets of parents.
 +
*All members of a family. Do additional searches to make sure you locate all members of a family in the census.
 +
*All families with the same surname in the same general area. This is especially helps if the surname is uncommon; it is likely that those living in the same area were related.
 +
 +
3. Compile the individuals into families, with the appropriate parents. (Create family group records for the families.)<br>4. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
 +
 +
== Continue your research:  ==
 +
 +
Use the information you found to search other records. You can learn more about the same family or look for additional ancestors. Choose what you want to look for next.
 +
 +
{| border="3"
 +
|-
 +
| style="background: #f0f0f0" align="center" | '''If you know this information:'''
 +
| style="background: #f0f0f0" align="center" | '''Search for or do this:'''
 +
|-
 +
| Age (calculate a birth date) and place of birth
 +
| Find a birth record. Look for information about the parents and their marriage.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Find a birth record. Look for information about other close relatives.
 +
|-
 +
| Birth places
 +
| Look in birth places for former residences.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Establish a migration pattern for the family.
 +
|-
 +
| Race information
 +
| Look for ethnic records, such as the Freedman’s Bureau or Indian censuses.
 +
|-
 +
| Naturalization information
 +
| Find naturalization papers in the county court records.
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| Look for immigration records, such as passenger lists that are usually kept at the port of entry into the United States.
 +
|-
 +
| If a person was subject to military service
 +
| Look for military files in the state or national archives.
 +
|-
 +
| Occupations
 +
| Look for employment records.
 +
|-
 +
| Child listed as “at school”
 +
| Look for school records.
 
|}
 
|}
  

Revision as of 04:47, 30 December 2010

Contents

About birth records:

  • Name indexes to births make it possible to access a specific record quickly.
  • Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations. If the information was scanned, there may be character recognition errors.
  • The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • The type of information given may vary from one record to another record.

To search the index, you need to know the following:

  • The name of the person born.
  • The place where the birth occurred.
  • The approximate birth date.

Tips for finding your ancestor:

  • Verify whether the name you found is your ancestor’s. Compare the information you know to the information you find. Look at relationships.
  • When looking for a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.

If you don’t find your ancestor in the index, do the following:

  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Find your ancestor’s birth record:

1. Find your ancestor in the index.

  • Note the locator information (such as page, entry, or certificate number) for the record.

2. Find your ancestor’s birth record:

  • Look for the page, entry, or certificate number (or other locator information) you found in the index.

3. Evaluate and record each piece of information you find.

Find birth records for other family members:

While you are searching birth records, it is helpful to follow the same steps to find the birth records of other family members who lived in the same time and place.
1. Look for:

  • Every person with the same surname. This is especially helpful if the surname is unusual or the family lived in rural areas.
  • Children, siblings, parents, and other relatives whose records may be in the same county.
  • A second marriage of a parent.

2. Compile the individuals into families, with the appropriate parents. (Create family group records for the families.)
3. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.

Continue your research:

Use the information you found to search other records. You can learn more about the same family or look for additional ancestors. Choose what you want to look for next.

Next Research Steps

If you know this information: Search for or do this:
Birth date and place of birth Find the family in census records.
Residence and names of parents Find church records.
Find land records.
Find census records.
Father’s occupation Find employment records.
Find military or other types of records.
Parents’ birth places Find former residences.
Establish a migration pattern for the family.
Find census records.




About death records:

  • Name indexes make it possible to access a specific death record quickly.
  • Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations. If the information was scanned, there may be character recognition errors.
  • The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • The type of information given may vary from one record to another record.

To search the index, you need to know the following:

  • The name of the person at the time of death.
  • The place where the death occurred.
  • The approximate death date.

Tips for finding your ancestor:

  • Verify whether the name you found is your ancestor’s. Compare the information you know to the information you find. Look at relationships.
  • When looking for a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.

If you don’t find your ancestor in the index, do the following:

  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Find your ancestor’s death record:

1. Find your ancestor in the index.

  • Note the locator information (such as page, entry, or certificate number) for the record.

2. Find your ancestor’s death record:

  • Look for the page, entry, or certificate number (or other locator information) you found in the index.

3. Evaluate and record each piece of information you find.

Find death records for other family members:

While you are searching death records, it is helpful to follow the same steps to find the death records of other family members who lived in the same time and place.
1. Look for:

  • Every person with the same surname. This is especially helpful if the surname is unusual or the family lived in rural areas.
  • Children, siblings, parents, and other relatives whose records may be in the same county.
  • A second marriage of a parent.

2. Compile the individuals into families, with the appropriate parents. (Create family group records for the families.)
3. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.

Continue your research:

Use the information you found to search other records. You can learn more about the same family or look for additional ancestors. Choose what you want to look for next.

If you know this information: Search for or do this:
Birth date or age and place of birth Find or verify birth records and parents names
Find the family in census records.
Residence and names of parents Find church records.
Find land records.
Find census records.
Occupations Find employment records.
Find military or other types of records.
Parents’ birth places Find former residences.
Establish a migration pattern for the family.
Find census records.
Names of the officiator (clue to the religion) Find church records.
Find the area of residence in the county.
Name of the undertaker or mortuary. Look for the names and residences of other family members in funeral records.
Look for the names and residences of other family members in cemetery records.



About marriage records:

  • Name indexes make it possible to access a specific marriage record quickly.
  • Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations. If the information was scanned, there may be character recognition errors.
  • The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • The type of information given may vary from one record to another record.

To search the index, you need to know the following:

  • The county where the marriage occurred.
  • The name of the person at the time of marriage.
  • The approximate marriage date.
  • The marriage place.
  • The name of the intended spouse.

Tips for finding your ancestor:

  • Verify whether the name you found is your ancestor’s. Compare the information you know to the information you find. Look at relationships.
  • When looking for a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.

If you don’t find your ancestor in the index, do the following:

  • Search for the marriage record of the marriage partner, if known.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Find your ancestor’s marriage record:

1. Find your ancestor in the index.

  • Note the locator information (such as page, entry, or certificate number) for the record.

2. Find your ancestor’s marriage record:

  • Look for the page, entry, or certificate number (or other locator information) you found in the index.

3. Evaluate and record each piece of information you find.

Find marriage records for other family members:

While you are searching marriage records, it is helpful to follow the same steps to find the marriage records of other family members who lived in the same time and place.
1. Look for:

  • Every person with the same surname. This is especially helpful if the surname is unusual or the family lived in rural areas.
  • Children, siblings, parents, and other relatives whose records may be in the same county.
  • A second marriage of a parent.

2. Compile the individuals into families, with the appropriate parents. (Create family group records for the families.)
3. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.

Continue your research:

Use the information you found to search other records. You can learn more about the same family or look for additional ancestors. Choose what you want to look for next.

If you know this information: Search for or do this:
Marriage date and place Create a family group record for this husband and wife.
Find the family in census records.
Birth date or age and place of birth of the husband and wife. Find the couple’s birth records and parents’ names.
Find census records.
Residence and names of parents Find church records.
Find land records.
Find census records.
Occupations Find employment records.
Find military or other types of records.
Parents’ birth places Find former residences.
Establish a migration pattern for the family.
Find census records.
Name of the marriage officiator (clue to the religion) Find church records.
Find the area of residence. Note that ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
Number of marriages, more than one Look for previous marriages.



About general vital records:

  • Name indexes make it possible to access a specific record quickly.
  • Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations. If the information was scanned, there may be character recognition errors.
  • The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • The type of information given may vary from one record to another record.

To search the index, you need to know the following:

  • The name of the individual or individuals (such as the names of the bride and groom, the infant, or the deceased).
  • The place where the birth, marriage, or death occurred.
  • The approximate date the event occurred.

Tips for finding your ancestor:

  • Verify whether the name you found is your ancestor’s. Compare the information you know to the information you find. Look at relationships.
  • When looking for a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is your ancestor.
  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.

If you don’t find your ancestor in the index, do the following:

  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Find your ancestor’s vital record:

1. Find your ancestor in the index.

  • Note the locator information (such as page, entry, or certificate number) for the record.

2. Find your ancestor’s vital record:

  • Look for the page, entry, or certificate number (or other locator information) you found in the index.

3. Evaluate and record each piece of information you find.

Find vital records for other family members:

While you are searching vital records, it is helpful to follow the same steps to find the vital records of other family members who lived in the same time and place.
1. Look for:

  • Every person with the same surname. This is especially helpful if the surname is unusual or in rural areas.
  • Children, siblings, parents, and other relatives whose records may be in the same county.
  • A second marriage of a parent.

2. Compile the individuals into families, with the appropriate parents. (Create family group records for the families.)
3. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.

Continue your research:

Use the information you found to search other records. You can learn more about the same family or look for additional ancestors. Choose what you want to look for next.

If you know this information: Search for or do this:
Marriage date and place Create a family group record for the husband and wife.
Birth date or age and place of birth of the husband and wife Find the couple’s birth records and look for their parents’ names.
Birth date or age and place of birth Find the family in census records.
Residence and names of parents Find church records.
Find land records.
Find census records.
Occupations Find employment records.
Find military records, or other such records.
Parents’ birthplaces Find former residences of the family.
Establish a migration pattern.
Find census records.
The name of an officiator (clue to the family’s religion) Find church records.
Look for an area of residence in the county. (Note: Sometimes an officiator recorded events that took place in another county.)
Number of marriages, more than one Find previous marriages.
Name of undertaker or mortuary Look for names and residences of other family members in funeral records.
Look for names and residences of other family members in cemetery records.
Look for names and residences of other family members in census records.



About probate records:

  • For earlier times, use probate records to substitute for civil birth and death records that do not yet exist.
  • Name indexes make it possible to access a specific record quickly.
  • Check the index for the surname and then the given name.
  • Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations. If the information was scanned, there may be character recognition errors.
  • The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the deceased or the testator.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • The type of information given may vary from one record to another record.
  • Wills are more likely to be found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas.

To search the index, you need to know the following:

  • The name of the deceased.
  • The place of residence.
  • The approximate death or probate date.

Tips for finding your ancestor:

  • Verify whether the name you found is your ancestor’s. Compare the information you know to the information you find. Look at relationships.
  • When looking for a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.

If you don’t find your ancestor in the index, do the following:

  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Find your ancestor’s probate record:

1. Find your ancestor in the index.

  • Note the locator information (such as page, entry, or certificate number) for the record.

2. Find your ancestor’s probate record:

  • Look for the page, entry, or certificate number (or other locator information) you found in the index.

3. Evaluate and record each piece of information you find for all the family members.

Find probate records for other family members:

While you are searching probate records, it is helpful to follow the same steps to find other family members who lived in the same time and place.
1. Look for:

  • Every person with the same surname. This is especially helpful if the surname is unusual or the family lived in rural areas.
  • Children, siblings, parents, and other relatives whose records may be in the same area.

2. Compile the individuals into families, with the appropriate parents. (Create family group records for the families.)
3. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.

Continue your research:

Use the information you found to search other records. You can learn more about the same family or look for additional ancestors. Choose what you want to look for next.

If you know this information: Search for or do this:
Probate records and wills Identify heirs and relatives.
Learn about adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents.
Approximate a death date from information you find.
Learn about land transactions.
Look for the second marriage of a parent.
Birth date or age and residence or birth place of the deceased Find census records.
Find church records.
Find land records.
Occupations Find employment records.
Find military or other types of records.



About state census records:

  • Census records may identify persons for whom no other records exist.
  • Name indexes make it possible to access a specific death record quickly.
  • Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations. If the information was scanned, there may be character recognition errors.
  • The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • The type of information given may vary from one record to another record.

To search the index, you need to know the following:

  • The name of the person.
  • The place of residence at the time of the census.

Tips for finding your ancestor:

  • Verify whether the name you found is your ancestor’s. Compare the information you know to the information you find. Look at relationships.
  • When looking for a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.

If you don’t find your ancestor in the index, do the following:

  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Find your ancestor’s census record:

1. Find your ancestor in the index.

  • Note the locator information (such as page, entry, or certificate number) for the record.

2. Find your ancestor in the census.

  • Look for the page, entry, or certificate number (or other locator information) you found in the index.

3. Evaluate and record each piece of information you find for all members of the household.

Find other family members in the census:

1. While you are searching census records, it is helpful to follow the same steps to find all related families who lived in the same time and place.
2. Look for:

  • Married family members who lived nearby but in a separate household. Search an entire town, neighboring towns, or even a county.
  • An earlier generation. Elderly parents may have been living with or close by a married child.
  • A younger generation. A young married couple may have lived with one of their sets of parents.
  • All members of a family. Do additional searches to make sure you locate all members of a family in the census.
  • All families with the same surname in the same general area. This is especially helps if the surname is uncommon; it is likely that those living in the same area were related.

3. Compile the individuals into families, with the appropriate parents. (Create family group records for the families.)
4. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.

Continue your research:

Use the information you found to search other records. You can learn more about the same family or look for additional ancestors. Choose what you want to look for next.

If you know this information: Search for or do this:
Age (calculate a birth date) and place of birth Find a birth record. Look for information about the parents and their marriage.
Find a birth record. Look for information about other close relatives.
Birth places Look in birth places for former residences.
Establish a migration pattern for the family.
Race information Look for ethnic records, such as the Freedman’s Bureau or Indian censuses.
Naturalization information Find naturalization papers in the county court records.
Look for immigration records, such as passenger lists that are usually kept at the port of entry into the United States.
If a person was subject to military service Look for military files in the state or national archives.
Occupations Look for employment records.
Child listed as “at school” Look for school records.