Public Records

Book Review: Online State Resources

Online State Resources for Genealogists by Michael Hait (e-book) (2011). Even novice genealogists know where to find the basic documents needed for research: the census, for example, can be found on several pay services as well as on free sites like HeritageQuest. But everyone also knows that to do a sufficient job of research, one must look high and low …Continue reading →


Grand Genealogy Tour: Denver!

Editor’s Note: It doesn’t usually take nearly 30 days on Amtrak to get from Salt Lake City to Denver.  A funny thing happened on our virtual tour: real life, i.e., work, family, health.  But we expect t continue the tour, with interspersed other stuff. We’ll make it to our next stop, Kansas City, a bit quicker! The California Zephyr  rolls …Continue reading →


Halloween Census Whacking

With the crisis of my father’s recent illness and the minor drama of my own, I feel like I’ve been way out of touch the last two weeks.  It’s time get back into the flow of things.   I thought  little census whacking for Halloween would ease my way back into writing.  So I went hunting for Vampires, Zombies, Ghosts, …Continue reading →


Los Angeles County Record Request Requirements–Just Quirky? Or Unconstitutional?

I was alerted to this issue by a commenter on the Find-A-Grave California Discussion Forum. If you go in person to the main office of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder in Norwalk, California, and ask to view their birth, death, or marriage records, you will be required to sign a form similar to the one below (the example is for …Continue reading →


Louisiana Public Records Online Access: Good and Ugly

I’ve written favorably about the vital records index at the Louisiana State Archives.  It’s easy to use to look up information and it’s set up to make ordering certified copies by snail mail easy.  Unlike Texas, Louisiana does not have an on-line ordering capability run by the state.  But since they make everything else so easy, I barely noticed. Now …Continue reading →


Getting Info from the Government: FOIA 101

Suppose your grandfather or great-grandfather worked for the federal government or for a government contractor, building Hoover Dam. Perhaps he kept a journal that stayed with the government for some reason when the project was completed. Or may be your relative was in the Far North as an early operator of the DEW Line. You might want to learn more …Continue reading →


Colorado Gets Stupid

I like Colorado. I lived there for eight years and have many friends there. And I have praised both their state archives as well as their easily accessible marriage and divorce records. But now Colorado has gone stupid. The State Department of Public Health and Environment has taken down their site that used to list marriages and divorces in Colorado. …Continue reading →


Google Public Records?

From Google’s press office: Google and Four US States Improve Public Access to Government Websites Mountain View, Calif. – April 30, 2007 – Google Inc. today announced partnerships with the states of Arizona, California, Utah and Virginia to make it easier to search for hard-to-find public information on state government websites. These partnerships developed as both Google and officials with …Continue reading →


Illinois State Archives Databases

I’ve been reminded that I really like the Illinois State Archives Databases on that state’s Secretary of State website. There are a few things that could be better, but overall, this is a useful resource. There are the state’s vital records databases, of course. Unfortunately, unlike neighboring Missouri, the Illinois death index (1916-1950) has no retrievable images. On the other …Continue reading →


Some Resources

Nevada marriage and divorce records are now available on These resources can be useful to those researching in just about any state. That’s because when many states had restrictive laws about marriage and divorce (especially divorce), Nevada traditionally has had rather liberal laws on these matters. Thus, those who could afford to do so would sometimes head for Las …Continue reading →

September 2015
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