United States Record Selection Table
This table can help you decide which records to search. It is most helpful for post-1800 research.
1. In column 1 find the goal you selected.
2. In column 2 find the types of records most likely to have the information you need.
3. In column 3 find additional record types that may be useful.
4. Then look for the record type you need in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog.
Note: Records of previous research (Genealogy, Biography, History, Periodicals, and Societies) are useful for most goals, but are not listed unless they are especially helpful.
|1. If You Need||2. Look First In||3. Then Search|
|Age||Census, Vital Records, Cemeteries||Military Records, Taxation|
|Birth date||Vital Records, Church Records, Bible Records||Cemeteries, Obituaries, Census|
|Birthplace||Vital Records, Church Records, Census||Newspapers, Obituaries|
|City or parish of foreign birth||Church Records, Genealogy, Biography, Naturalization and Citizenship, Societies||Vital Records, Obituaries, History, Emigration and Immigration|
|Country of foreign birth||Emigration and Immigration, Census, Naturalization and Citizenship, Church Records||Military Records, Vital Records, Newspapers, Obituaries|
|County origins and boundaries||History, Maps, Historical Geography||Gazetteers|
|Death||Vital Records, Cemeteries, Probate Records, Church Records, Obituaries, Societies||Newspapers, Bible Records, Military Records, Town Records|
|Ethnicity||Minorities, Native Races, Societies||Church Records, Emigration and Immigration, Naturalization and Citizenship, Periodicals|
|Historical background||History, Periodicals||Minorities|
|Immigration date||Emigration and Immigration, Naturalization and Citizenship, Genealogy, Societies||Census, Newspapers, Biography|
|Living relatives (and adoptions)||Genealogy, Directories, Court Records, Obituaries, Internet||Census, Biography, Societies, Church Records, Probate Records|
|Maiden name||Vital Records, Church Records, Newspapers, Bible Records||Cemeteries, Military Records, Probate Records, Obituaries|
|Marriage||Vital Records, Church Records, Census, Newspapers, Bible Records, Town Records||Cemeteries, Military Records, Probate Records, Naturalization and Citizenship, Land and Property|
|Occupation||Census, Directories, Emigration and Immigration||Newspapers, Court Records, Biography|
|Parents, children, and other family members||Vital Records, Church Records, Census, Phone Disc, Probate Records, Obituaries, Genealogy||Bible Records, Newspapers, Emigration and Immigration|
|Physical description||Military Records, Biography||Naturalization and Citizenship, Vital Records, Emigration and Immigration, Genealogy|
|Place-finding aids||Gazetteers, Maps, Historical Geography||History, Periodicals|
|Place (town) of residence when you know only the state||Census (indexed), Genealogy, Military Records, Vital Records, and other records with a statewide index, Soundex||Biography, Probate Records, History, Directories, Societies, Taxation|
|Places family has lived||Census, Land and Property, History, Directories||Military Records, Taxation, Obituaries|
|Previous research (compiled genealogy)||Genealogy, Periodicals, Societies||History, Biography|
|Record-finding aids||Archives and Libraries, Societies||Periodicals|
|Religion||Church Records, History, Biography||Bible Records, Cemeteries, Genealogy|
|Social activities||History, Biography Newspapers, Societies||Town Records, Court, Records, Cemeteries, Directories, Obituaries|