Using State Resources for Genealogy
State resources include the state archives and state libraries, as well as county clerks. This topic tells you about the type of information that you may find through state resources and how that information may help you in your research.
Vital records, which include records of births, deaths, and marriages, are one of the most important resources that states have. Vital records can be excellent documents for building up your family tree, because they often include information about people who were related to the person who was born, died, or married. For example, birth certificates usually include parents' names, marriage certificates have maiden names, and death certificates may have survivors" names. In this way, vital records can act as springboards for more research.
States often perform their own censuses, which, like the national census, can be helpful in your genealogical search. The contents of state censuses vary, but they have often mimicked the national census. Then, you can find information such as names, birth dates, birthplaces, and occupations.
Family histories and local histories can also be excellent sources of genealogical information. If one exists about the ancestors that you are searching for, it means that someone has already done at least some of your research for you. It's worth taking the time to find out if one exists. State libraries and historical societies are good places to look for family histories.
When you're looking for information from a state-level resource, make sure you look for it in the state where the event took place. For example, if a woman got married in Georgia, but then moved to Alabama and lived there for the remainder of her life, her marriage record would be in Georgia, not in Alabama. In addition, be aware that as the United States was growing, state boundaries often changed. You need to look for your ancestor's records in the state that your ancestor lived in at the time, regardless of the state's boundaries today. Getting background information about the area in which your ancestor lived can help you determine whether or not a boundary change has occurred since your ancestor lived there. For more information about boundary changes, see the topic Location Names and Boundaries .