With the recent release of Michael Hait's Ebook, “Online State Resources for Genealogy Review”, I have started making a point of looking at genealogical databases of a different type, other than the ones I have usually gone to – Ancestry and FamilySearch. I have had some wonderful success. Here are some examples of documents I found when searching these often unused databases:
- A friend recently told me about the Escambia, Florida public records. While viewing their marriage records, I found my Fred P. Smith and Mollie Fralick’s marriage documentation of 1868!
- Hardin County, Kentucky has a website that we can use when we sign in as a guest. I discovered a Marriage License and the Marriage Bond for a client of mine. In the bond was a questionnaire that really helped me break thru his brick wall. It told me that it was both of their second marriages and the city where they were born. They were married in 1872 and I am at home looking at copies of the original documents!
- The Shelby County Register of Deeds has been a gold mine to me for families that resided in the Memphis, Tennessee areas. Just this week I found an 1876 Will, marriage license, divorce document and some data in the loose court documents.
- I had used the Georgia archives many times before they closed down their internet site recently. I was very disappointed when I heard the State Archives of GA was cutting back due to finances; I truly hope this is not a sign of the future for other archives!
We also need to realize that only a very small portion of what is available to researchers is online. We still need to visit the archives, cemeteries, courthouses, libraries, genealogical societies, museums, churches and other places where genealogical data may be. It is important to remember to get those interviews from family and friends before it is too late.
There is something that we must remember. All the records and documents that we see on Ancestry and FamilySearch were all found in these courts, libraries, churches, cemeteries, etc. These websites have not been able to access every record that ever existed. So, it is very important for us to visit these places and see what is there. We may discover that document that has not been scanned and put on Ancestry or FamilySearch.