Monday, October 10, 2011

31 Days of Genealogy - Days 8-10

For the month of October, which is Family History Month, I've been working through the daily activities that Lisa Lee of Got Genealogy?, has devised to get us working on our Genealogy. Lisa touts that these activities can be done in 10 minutes.

Due to getting slightly behind on reading my e-mails, it was a few days into the month before I realized that Lisa was doing this. As a result, I've been trying to catch up by doing several of the activities each day.

The activities for Days 8-10 are as follows:

DAY 8) County Courthouse Day
 It may be Saturday, and even though your county courthouse is closed, the internet is open 24/7.  Spend a few minutes looking to see what online databases and resources your county courthouse has available.  Pick a county where one of your ancestor lived, and do the following searches:
Buncombe County, NC register of deeds  (customize this search with YOUR county)
… registrar or deeds
… recorder
… court recorder
… courthouse or court house
… clerk

Each county is a separate entity.  Some offer oodles of online information, some offer none, and they constantly change.  Even if you've looked before, look again.  If you find something useful, be sure to bookmark it.

DAY 9) Public Library Day
 Just like county courthouses, public libraries may or may not offer information useful to genealogists.  One neat trick I've found is that if I search for public libraries in the county where my ancestor, the search results will include any county public libraries found along with all of the cities within the county that also have their own public libraries.  Try search for, say, "wayne county michigan public library" and you'll get a list of libraries in Detroit, Westland, Garden City, and others, along with a map of where each is located.
You can also go to, which gives an alphabetical list within each state, which may be helpful.
Some public libraries offer free research assistance, the Richland County, SC public library will do free lookups of obituaries and will scan the images and email them to you (for free), the Indiana State Library has free genealogical databases online including marriages, newspaper indexes, military records, etc., and you don't have to be a member to access this information.

State, county and local libraries are a great start, but be sure to look for college and university libraries, private, genealogical, historical society and ethnic libraries.  For example, a search for "african american libraries" or "jewish library association" will provide dozens of links of such libraries all over the U.S. There's a ton of information out there – go find it!

Day 10) Join a Genealogical or Historical Society
Even if you're not a professional genealogist, if you want to become one, the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) is a wonderful place to start ( You can join for as little as $35/year, which entitles you to the quarterly journal (APG Quarterly), or for $65/year you'll get full voting rights, discounts to genealogical conferences, will be listed on the APG's Web site and can attend APG meetings.  One of the hallmarks of the APG is their commitment to high research standards, to ensure that all APG members conform to their Code of Ethics.

If your ancestor lived in a faraway county, there's probably a genealogical or historical society there, and you should consider joining.  Most provide a quarterly journal of local information, and being a member, I've found the ones to which I belong more than happy to help me with look-ups and tips for trip planning… even a free place to stay when I came to town on a research trip.  You know how the old saying goes, "You can never join too many genealogical societies."

Day 8: I research primarily in Georgia (maternal lines) and North Carolina (paternal lines). For the counties that I research in Georgia, I don't find much online for the individual counties but I do make full use of Georgia Virtual Vault, which has a considerable amount of information online. In North Carolina, my county of focus has primarily been Martin County. A lot of old deeds and even more recent deeds can be found at the Martin County Register of Deeds Remote Access Site.

Day 9: While I've not done it often, I have employed local libraries in the areas that I research. Most often I write, but I've also visited them if I'm in the area. I appreciate Lisa providing the site to find the listing of Public Libraries. Until now, I did not know of this site.

Day 10: I've already joined a few genealogical societies. I've joined the local ones where my ancestors lived, East Georgia Genealogical Society (EGGS) and Martin County (NC) Genealogical Society. I've also joined the North Carolina Genealogical Society. Depending on funds, I'm also planning to join the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) and the National Genealogical Society (NGS).

And with this post, I'm finally up to date on the daily activities. So far, I've really enjoyed the activities. Thank you Lisa for coming up with this idea.

1 comment:

  1. County Courthouse Day sounds like something I should do.


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