13 February 2009

Locality Survey

Before beginning your own research you must find important details about the locations your ancestors lived. This is called a Locality Survey. Certain elements must be included in the survey such as information about the general history of the area, information about the surrounding geographic influences and specific genealogical resources pertaining to the area.

General history of the area can be found in the FamilySearch Research Outlines. These are available online at: FamilySearch.org, under "research helps", then "articles". Search for the country or state you need and click on "outline". Each Research Outline includes a section called "History". These Research Outlines are being expanded and updated and current information can be found at: FamilySearch Wiki. FamilySearch Wiki can be searched by state or country and contains a wealth of current genealogical resources specific to an area.

Other great resources for U.S. research are The HandyBook for Genealogists or Ancestry's Red Book. Each of these books contains a general history of each state, including when the state became a state and when each county within the state was formed and from which county it was formed. Another great piece of information is the list of Genealogical & Historical Societies found within each state. These societies can be a great resource in your research leading you to unique sources for the area. Find at least 2 of these societies that may help in your research.

Another key piece of information needed is a map. If possible find a map contemporary to the time when your ancestors lived in this location. It is beneficial to know the boundries that existed during their lives. All of this information will give you clues as to where the records for your ancesotrs will be found.

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