Flummoxed - Modern Period

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Back to: Family History for the Flummoxed Flummoxed - Extending Family Lines

Note: This page is part of the Flummoxed series and made to help those who haven't found family history information in the usual places. More information about searching the usual places is on the Flummoxed - Extending Family Lines page.


You've come here because you're not finding family records from the modern period.

Most Common Reason

The most common reason for not finding family records from the modern period is that they haven't been released to the public and put in archives. That doesn't mean they are not accessible, but to get the records you may need to:

  1. Fill out a form.
  2. Prove relationship.
  3. Pay a fee.


Write for Governmental Vital Records

Instructions for getting vital records from government agencies from most countries can usually be found easily on the Internet. Beware because non-governmental entrepreneurs also advertise on the Internet who will often charge you more than the government agency to get you the record. When searching the Internet, try to pick the governmental site (often with a ".gov" address).

Write for Religious Records

Religious organizations like parishes and synagogues worldwide are also on the Internet today. Contact them directly by email or by letter. Often they do not have set procedures for obtaining recent records, but most will try to help you find information about your immediate family members and direct ancestors in the modern period.

Use Letter Writing Guides

If you need information from a foreign country, search this FamilySearch Wiki for "Letter Writing Guide" along with the name of the country in which you are searching.

Use Other Sources

The modern period is filled with information from other sources:

  • The Internet.
  • Local newspapers (many have online archives).
  • Other governmental records like census, naturalization, license, land, and probate records.
  • Living individuals who remember events.