Not all sources are online

I know that comes as a be surprise to you. As matter of fact, the majority is not. Here is where I push writing or better yet visiting the county where your ancestors spent a few generations. Most of the colorful things about your family may be already available in local libraries, historical societies, and genealogical societies. https://usgenweb.org is a good site to get an overview of what resources are available for the county you are researching. It lists local and state organizations, databases, searchable databases, lists of graveyards, indexes of all kinds. Familysearch.org has a tab called “catalog”. You type in the specific county or region and it lists books written about the area, histories, church records, and sometimes the records are online. Sometimes old marriages and christenings are easier to find in church records than courthouse records. One of the first sources to check is books written about the county or region. If you find the name and author of a book not in your local library, look it up on https://worldcat.org. It will show you libraries who have it anywhere in the country. Then you can contact a librarian at that location and request “a lookup”. Be nice, Librarians are overworked people. Old County Histories often contain biographies of prominent families, early township maps. Back East counties were not generally divided into uniform grids. Voting townships were drawn around geography and named after early settlers or presidents. These history books also contain clues about boundary changes through time. Even State lines and territories moved. The people didn’t move, just the lines. Our White River Valley was originally in Summit County, then Garfield County and presently in Rio Blanco County. This knowledge is valuable to you. Land records for the same ranch might be found in three different county seats. If you can’t find an ancestor in the county you expect, widen your search to surrounding counties. I had relatives who picked up their mail in one county, paid taxes in another, and courted a wife in a third. Most old deeds are available only at the county courthouse. Many county clerks are hiring companies to come in and make digital images of all their public records. The images are then made available at a commercial website which you pay a fee to get the image downloaded to your computer. Rio Blanco County is in the process of doing that right now. I will let know when that is finished. Sweden has most of its church and public records online already, for a fee. 

IF YOU ARE COMPUTER-PHOBIC, THERE IS STILL A WAY TO GET DOCUMENTS.

By ED PECK


Special to the Herald Times