With lots of online information, I feel like I’m forgetting to look for information offline. In the process, I’m also forgetting some of my early research skills.
I’ve recently read several Facebook posts inquiring about who to contact for local information. Thanks to these posts, I’ve been thinking about the question and how I should tackle such a research question. I’ve also been thinking about what I would tell someone looking for Nemaha County, Kansas information.
I believe this question is actually two questions:
- What type of information (or document) do I need?
- Where can I find that information (or document)?
The answer to the first question will make it easier to determine where to look for the document. When I first started researching my family history, I would pull the Handy Book (The Handy Book for Genealogists) off of my shelf and turn to the desired state to learn about where I could write (or sometimes go) to obtain the document.
Included was information for each county stating what documents were available in the county courthouse.
This book still occupies a space on my bookshelf and I still consult it. However, the Internet makes it easier to learn about the availability of records. Below are some of the resources I would check to learn about Nemaha County, Kansas (where I happen to live).
- Family Search Wiki — Results for Nemaha County, Kansas
- Cyndi’s List — Results for Nemaha County, Kansas
- Kansas GenWeb — Nemaha County, Kansas GenWeb page
- Red Book — digital copy available thru Ancestry (similar to The Handy Book) — Kansas Family History Resources
( Note: The issues with RootsWeb being down affected many GenWeb sites, GenWeb Archive sites and the RedBook. Those sites are coming back — but it may take some time.)
The above resources would help me learn about the courthouse, local libraries, local historical societies and possibly provide links to library catalogs, archives, digitized records, books and local newspapers. Since many records were transferred to the state, I would do a similar review of the above resources for the state.
By researching the county/state, I can figure out the best place to contact (or go) to locate the desired information. I need to remember to apply these skills in my research!