WHAT TO DO WHEN THE COURTHOUSE HAS BURNED AND YOU ARE ALL OUT OF MARSHMELLOWS! 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 Genealogist' or the court clerk says. 2. There may be/have been two 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 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 and 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. STATE RECORDS 1. Census - state and territorial 2. Militia records and pensions 3. Birth and death records 4. Tax records - real, personal and poll 5. Land lotteries, land grants and homesteads TOWNSHIP OR TOWN RECORDS Items vary according to the state. In Ohio I saw a list of men available and of the right age for military duty from the late 1800s. Other states may have townships that function like a county or a city and have the equivalent records. CITY RECORDS 1. Birth and death records 2. Marriage records 3. Cemetery records 4. Tax records 5. City directories and 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 verticle 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 and church historical libraries 2. Funeral home records 3. Cemetery records, sextons records and transcripts of cemeteries made years ago 4. School records - grade or college 5. Title and abstract companies \ 6. Private land companies (i.e. Holland Land Purchase in New York) HOME SOURCES 1. Bible records 2. Photo albums 3. Baby books 4. Insurance policies 5. Family letters, diaries and 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. **From a program at the Oklahoma Genealogical Society on February 4, 1985, given by Mrs. Lois M. Coople.
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