Genealogical Source Checklist

Genealogical Source Checklist

Need a jump-start? Juice up your research by consulting the roster of family history records listed here.

Business and Employment Records

  • apprentice and indenture records
  • doctors’ and midwives’ journals
  • insurance records
  • merchants’ account books
  • railroad, mining and factory records

Cemetery and Funeral Home Records

  • burial records
  • grave-relocation records
  • tombstone inscriptions

Censuses

  • agriculture schedules (1840 to 1880)
  • American Indian (special censuses)
  • Civil War veterans schedules (1890)
  • defective, dependent and delinquent schedules (1880)
  • federal population schedules (1790 to 1930)
  • manufacturing/industry schedules (1810, 1820, 1850 to 1880)
  • mortality schedules (1850 to 1880)
  • school censuses
  • slave schedules (1850, 1860)
  • social statistics schedules (1850 to 1880)
  • state and local censuses

Church Records

  • baptism and christening records
  • confirmation records
  • meeting minutes
  • membership, admission and removal records
  • ministers’ journals

Court Records

  • adoption records
  • civil records
  • coroners’ files
  • criminal records
  • custody papers
  • estate inventories
  • insanity/commitment orders
  • licenses and permits
  • marriage bonds, licenses and certificates
  • military discharges
  • minute books
  • name changes
  • property foreclosures
  • wills

Directories

  • biographical
  • city
  • professional/occupational
  • telephone

Home Sources

  • baptism and confirmation certificates
  • birth certificates and baby books
  • checkbooks and bank statements
  • death records and prayer cards
  • diaries and journals
  • family Bibles
  • funeral/memorial cards
  • heirlooms and artifacts
  • letters and postcards
  • marriage certificates and wedding albums
  • medical records
  • photographs
  • recipe books
  • school report cards, yearbooks and scrapbooks
  • wills

Immigration Records

  • alien registration cards
  • citizenship papers
  • passenger lists
  • passports

Institutional Records

  • almshouse
  • hospital
  • orphanage
  • police
  • prison
  • school
  • work-farm

Land and Property Records

  • deeds
  • grants and patents
  • homestead records
  • mortgages and leases
  • surveys
  • tax rolls
  • warrants

Military Records

  • Colonial wars
  • Revolutionary War and frontier conflicts (War of 1812, Indian wars and Mexican War)
  • Civil War
  • Spanish-American War
  • World War I
  • World War II
  • Korean War
  • Vietnam War
  • draft records
  • pension applications
  • records of relocations and internment camps for Japanese-Americans, German-Americans and Italian-Americans during World War II

Newspapers

  • birth announcements
  • classified advertisements
  • engagement, marriage and anniversary announcements
  • ethnic newspapers
  • family reunion announcements
  • gossip and advice columns
  • legal notices
  • local news
  • obituaries
  • runaway notices (slaves, indentured servants, wives)
  • unclaimed-mail notices

Published Sources

  • compiled genealogies
  • genealogical periodicals
  • local and county histories
  • record abstracts and transcriptions

Vital Records

  • birth
  • death
  • divorce/annulment
  • marriage

From the July 2008 Family Tree Magazine

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