Building a Locality Guide: More on Records, Vital Records & Probate/Court Records

How and when vital records were recorded for a particular area varies by county and state. This is an important section to capture some of these nuances. Some questions I ask myself to help develop this section are:

  • What are my options for vital records for this town/county/state?
  • When did vital registration begin?
  • What county offices hold the records, if any?
  • What state offices are there that hold the records?
  • What is available at FamilySearch? At Ancestry? (etc.)
  • What is available at the state archives and state historical society?

Then I start Googling the state and county offices, looking at Cyndi’s List, checking the FamilySearch catalog and wiki, and so on. As I find the information I need, I build the guide. Here are some example sections for my Vital Records sections:

Example from my Wood County, Ohio Locality Guide.
Example from my Wyoming Locality Guide. I created a table for each county’s entry in the FamilySearch Catalog.

I follow a very similar system for finding the probate and court records for the area of focus.

Example from my Wood County, Ohio Locality Guide.

I also include a section providing more information on the county (or state) offices themselves:

Example from my Wood County, Ohio Locality Guide.

And you just keep building to your heart’s content. Next up, the section on published sources…

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