Tax Records, A Treasure Chest of Facts About Your Ancestors
The LDS Library, A Great Place To Research Your Family History
I love the LDS Library in Utah.It is filled with every piece of genealogy information the Latter Day Saints can find and they allow anyone to use it.If you can't go to Salt Lake City, Utah to get up close and personal with their library, you can order copies of all the records they've copied onto microfilm or fiche and use them in the LDS Family History Centers located in their churches all across America.
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Once you've accessed the LDS' online library catalog, click on Place Search. Type in the name of the county and state you want to research.What will you find?Wonderful things.Vital Statistics. Court records.Deeds.Wills Probates.Estate sales.Tax lists.Military files.County histories.Anything related to that county and state that can be used for genealogy research.
Lets do a search on Monroe, Virginia for Monroe Co, VA.The first screen will show you all the topics they have for that county.Ill select Vital Records at the very bottom.The result is two screens of available records. I'm selecting the sixth item down, Marriage Records, 1799-1965, Monroe County (West Virginia).
The result is similar to a very detailed bibliography card at a library.On the top right hand corner is a link that says View Film Notes.If it doesn't say that, I can't order it. Since this one does have film, I'll click on that link and it takes me to the image below.
Wow, there are a lot of options.Two screens worth, in fact. I'm only showing you part of the first screen.I'll order the Index first.If I find my ancestors in that, it will tell me which Register to order.See the items below the index, Register of Marriages No 1?Next line, Records no 2-3, etc?Those are the books I'll be referred to if my ancestors are in the Index.Now let's look at the entries for the Loose Marriage Returns. If my ancestors are black and we're married during one of the years those boxes include, I would immediately order that box. Many black people don't have records at all, so I'd go through everything on that microfilm.Ill also go through the regular steps to see if they're there, too.For white ancestors I'd probably only order the Loose Returns if my ancestors we're not listed on the Index and we're married during that time period and I'd exhausted every other method of proving their marriage.
If there was no Index listed, order the microfilm for the year range when you think your ancestors would have married.There may be an Index included within the Register itself.If not, you'll have to have to go through the entire Register.Dont panic it doesn't really take that long and sometimes you find people you're not even looking for but need for your family file anyway.
Although the LDS are currently working to upload all their records onto the Internet, it will a few years before this monumental task is completed.A few of the records are already online.If the file you want isnt, you'll have to take the film number and title you want to order to the local LDS Family History Center.Instead of writing the information down and possibly making a mistake, I go to the bottom of the final page of the film list, click on the link for the printable version and print the resulting page to take with me. I also make notes on that paper for the ancestor I intend to look for when the film arrives in case I forget why I ordered it.Yes, this has happened.There are multiple surnames that I research and occasionally I get confused over which film I ordered for what family.
As for the part of the LDS website that deals with Surname Search, I don't use it very often because there are no sources listed for the information. But that doesn't mean it's useless. I've found clues in this section that have lead me to lost ancestors.But remember, without a verifiable source it's not a fact. After you find clues, you must look for facts to prove them.The LDS Library is full of places to look for those, so take advantage of their generosity and start finding your own facts at a genealogists dream come truethe LDS Library.Until next time, happy hunting!
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