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Types of Records (and Where to Find Them)

Genealogical records live across a variety of local, state, federal, and private institutions. Vital Records (marriage, death, birth, etc.) are government owned and housed. The chart below shows where these records can be found. 


Categories of Records: Where are they? Examples of Records:

Federal Records

National Archives and Records Administration

Immigration/Naturalization Records, Passports, Military Records, Census Records, Criminal Records, Taxes

State Records

State Library and Archives

Vital Records, Land/Deeds, Criminal Records, Naturalization Records, Taxes, Adoption Records

County/Town Records

County Courthouse – Later transferred to the State Library and Archives

Vital Records, Land/Deeds, Wills, Criminal Records, Taxes

It can be helpful to figure out where records "live" or who might be keepers of them when you are tracking down information on your family. Most genealogical records would be found on the federal or state level (like NARA or a state archives), but there are some records that can be found on the local level (in churches, municipalities, or local historical societies).

Contact these local institutions before arriving to conduct your research - some places require an appointment.