Genealogy Friday: 16 Places for Searching Offline Records in Family History

With, Fold 3, FindAGrave, and there are numerous genealogy records now available online.  These are wonderful, saves time and has increased an interest in family history.

However, there are numerous records that are still not available online.

Courthouses have numerous resources to be explored
Courthouses have numerous resources to be explored

You never know what gems you may find in these records that would have been missed otherwise.

So where are these records?

  1. Courthouses—they have records such as land records, deeds, court records, marriage records, divorce records, adoption records, and probate records.
  2. Cemeteries—not everyone is on FindAGrave. Not only can you search for a grave, but also what information the cemetery may have in their files.
  3. Funeral Homes—they have records that contain next of kin, obituaries, place of burial and other information.
  4. Libraries—this is a great resources and many larger cities have genealogy libraries. These have family histories, county histories, city directories, obituaries, and a variety of other records.
  5. Society Libraries—many societies have large libraries with genealogy information. For instance think about the DAR.
    Library of Congress reading room
    Library of Congress reading room
  6. Genealogy Societies—many counties and states have genealogy societies that have records. I know the genealogy society in Asheville, NC has a large library with great research information. In the meantime join the society, connect with others and learn more about the area.
  7. State Archives—the state archives have a lot of records from the 16th-20th Centuries that the counties have sent to them. These can include wills, court records, land grants, colonial information, naturalization information and numerous other sources of information to check.
  8. Library of Congress—they have a large library that can and should be checked.
  9. Newspapers—the newspaper office may have older newspapers not available anywhere else. However, you may want to check with the local library first.  If the library does not have the newspapers, don’t forget the office of the local newspaper.
  10. Churches— these records may include church membership information, record marriages, christenings, baptisms, and burials in the church cemetery. I’ve also seen in some church records where “John Doe” excommunicated for drinking on Saturday evening.  Then a few months later “John Doe confessed to public drunkenness,
    National Archives
    National Archives

    asked forgiveness and membership was reinstated.”

  11. Mill Employment Offices—mill offices kept a number of records on their employees. After all the mills were the nucleus of life and communities were set up to revolve around the mill.  If you had an ancestor that worked in a mill, check their records.  Note: railroads also have great records
  12. School and College Records—there may be records at the local school and/or university where your ancestor attended school.
  13. National Archives—they contain military records, land grants, pictures, declassified information, collections, and numerous other records.
  14. Citizenship and Immigration Services—they may have information on immigration, citizenship, and naturalization of your ancestor.
  15. Museums—they may have a library or can put you in contact with a local historian that can help you find more information.
  16. History Societies—they often have libraries related to the area or subject matter

Where else have you found genealogy records off line?


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