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State Secrets
Take your research to the next level at state libraries, archives and historical societies - and tap their collections without leaving home.

When you think of going to the library, you usually head for your city or county public library. Those local repositories can be treasure troves for genealogists, but you shouldn't forget to check libraries and archives on the state level, as well. There, you'll find birth, marriage and death records, plus state census records, tax records, business records, county records, maps, family papers and even photographs and oral histories. Most state archives also have launched ambitious programs to microfilm newspapers dating back to the first issues published in the state.

While they usually focus on their own states, many of these libraries and archives have important holdings for family history research in other states as well. The Sutro branch of the California State Library and the Wisconsin Historical Society, for example, house two of the nation's largest collections of genealogical books. The Wisconsin Historical Society also boasts the second-largest collection of newspapers in the United States (after the Library of Congress) and the most extensive holdings of African-American and American Indian newspapers in the country.

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