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Your Interactive Guide: Essential Steps for Beginners - cont.

Finding Your County of Research

The county is one of the basic units of research in genealogy. If you don’t know the county of research, follow the link and enter the name of the city or town. If you don’t get results, then ask your relatives for the name of the nearest town, generally the county seat. You can also use a standard road atlas of the US for this exercise. (Many rural areas had informal names that were never recorded on maps, and there are many “dead towns” that can not be found in an atlas.)

County Locators

Your State of Research

You will need to know what genealogical sources exist in your state of research. Names, addresses and hours for libraries and the state’s archives will appear at this site as well as lists of materials and guidebooks on doing research in the state.

  • The USGenWeb Project:
    Click on your state and download information about how to do research in that state, including the address of the state’s archives, genealogical societies in that state, and other useful information.

Your County of Research

Return to the state’s home page of and go to your county of research. Examine the types of listings that appear, including message boards and e-mail lists that you can subscribe to. Note that African American genealogy groups may also appear on UsGenWeb. Feel free to follow the links for African American special interest groups. Then go to the message boards and post your first query (see next step). Bookmark the county site and plan to visit it frequently because new information is being posted everyday.


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