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WHAT TO DO WHEN THE COURTHOUSE HAS BURNED AND YOU ARE ALL OUT OF MARSHMELLOWS!

Note: From a program for the Oklahoma Genealogical Soci­ety given by Mrs. Lois M. Cople on 4 Feb 1985, a copy of which was downloaded from a genealogical BBS years ago.

  1. The courthouse may not have burned totally.  Some records may have been saved because they were in an annex or wing that didn't burn.  Don't always rely on what the Handy Book for Genealogists, or the court clerk says.

  2. There may be/have been two (2) courthouses in the same county.

  3. The records may have been reconstructed or re-recorded, and remember that deeds sometimes are not recorded for years after the transfer.  (Also check with county abstract offices.)

  4. Check neighboring counties for deeds, probate records and marriages.  It may be necessary to go out a second or third county away for a marriage record.  People who elope do not go to their own town courthouse for the license.

  5. Check everything in the courthouse where the family went to and the county where they came from if the county is known.  Many sold land to relatives before moving on.

  6. Check the parent county/counties Land records and the State Land Records for those counties.  In the case of territory claimed by two states, check both state records.  If your problem is in the Fire Lands (Ohio) or a Military District, check the parent States' records.

  7. Check the progeny (those that were formed from your county) county/counties for land records that may have been recorded at a much later date.

FEDERAL RECORDS:
  1. Census Records.

  2. Mortality schedules.

  3. Military records and Pensions.

  4. Federal Land Grants, Homestead States.

  5. Immigration and Naturalization.

  6. DECENNIAL Digest.  This index covers the years 1658 to 1906 and is found in most law libraries.  It indexes cases that went to appellate or higher courts.

  7. Federal court records.
    (Remember that Federal records are records of the Revolution and records created since that time.)

STATE RECORDS:
  1. Census — State and Territorial.
  2. Militia and Pension.
  3. Birth and Death records.
  4. Tax Records:  Real, Personal and Poll.
  5. Land Lotteries, Land Grants, Homesteads.

TOWNSHIP OR TOWN RECORDS:

CITY RECORDS:
  1. Birth and Death records.
  2. Marriage records.
  3. Cemetery records.
  4. Tax records.
  5. City directories (more currently, phone books).

HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS:
  1. State Archives and Libraries.

  2. County Historical Societies.

  3. College Libraries.

  4. Local Libraries.

  5. Private Libraries.  (D.A.R., S.A.R., Railroad, etc.  In all of these libraries, be sure to check the vertical files.)

PUBLISHED RECORDS:
  1. County Histories.
  2. Town and City Histories.
  3. Genealogies.
  4. Genealogical and Historical Society Quarterlies.
  5. Newspapers.

PRIVATE RECORDS:
  1. Church records, Church Historical Libraries.
  2. Funeral home records.
  3. Cemetery records, Sextons' Records, and transcripts of cemeteries made years ago.
  4. School records, College or Grade.
  5. Title and Abstract companies.
  6. Private land company, such as the Holland Land Purchase in New York.

HOME SOURCES:
  1. Bible records.
  2. Photo albums.
  3. Baby books.
  4. Insurance policies.
  5. Family letters, diaries, ledgers.

MISCELLANEOUS:
  1. Lineage Societies.
  2. Masonic Records.
  3. Fraternal Records.

BOTTOM LINE:
Analyze your problem and decide:

  1. What information you really need!

  2. What types of documents may provide that information!

  3. Then analyze the locality or localities where that proof may be found.


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