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* All about county and town resources

Photograph of a Library
Photo courtesy of the Rosenberg Library,
Galveston Texas.
County and town resources usually include county courthouses, county offices, and city, county and regional libraries. This topic tells you how county and town resources may help you in your research.

Vital records are normally available at county courthouses. These are some of the most important genealogical research documents because they contain basic information such as birth, marriage, and death dates, as well as occupations and parents' names. Since there are no national standards for this type of record-keeping, the dates for which vital records are available will vary. However, when records are available for your ancestors, they can be a great tree-building information source.

Probate records can also be found at county courthouses or other county offices. In probate records, you'll often find the names of an individual's immediate family members, such as children and a spouse. Some counties may also have naturalization papers, because it used to be the case that naturalization could take place at any courthouse.

Local histories, family histories, and biographies are also excellent sources of genealogical information, and are available in many local and regional libraries. Although not everyone will find information about his or her ancestors in a local or family history, it's worth taking the time to find out if one exists.

This is just a partial list of county and town records that may be useful to you in your research. Check with the courthouses, county offices, and libraries in the area where your ancestor lived to get more specific information. Click either of the topics listed below to get more complete descriptions of court records. To return to the topic that you were previously reading, click the Back button at the top of the screen.

All about court records

Types of court records

How to find court records

Keys to successful genealogical research:

*Guidelines for writing to places to request information

*Preparing for outside research

*Using libraries

*Taking notes

*Problems with old records: what to watch for

*Determining accuracy of information

*Other danger zones

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