Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Red Book

The Red Book by Ancestry is a very valuable resource for genealogists. The subtitle is American State, County, and Town Sources. In its 3rd edition this book is divided by state. Within each state's "chapter" you'll find information about where to research vital records, what various types of censuses were taken, information about maps, land records, probate records, court records, tax records, cemetery records, and military records. A list of suggested periodicals, newspapers, and manuscripts, to consult is offered. The book can be a great resource for planning a research trip as it includes detailed information on archives, libraries, and societies in the state. A map of each state shows the county locations and county seat for each. To me the best part of the book is the chart at the end of the chapter. It shows an alphabetical listing for each county with the address for the county seat government center, the date the county was established and which county it was formed from, the earliest date of birth, marriage, and death records and the earliest date for land, probate and court records. Before you spend time and money requesting a record from a particular county, check to be sure that county actually existed in the specified time period of your ancestor. You may need to contact the parent county. The person could have been born in one county and died in another without ever having moved from one home to another.

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