Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Today's topic is "records about records" -- how cool is that?

Midwestern researchers should be familiar with the WPA county records inventories from the late 1930s. They do not exist for all counties but are valuable when they do -- at least you know what was available then and where it was. (If you're not familiar, the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center has the Allen County inventory on line.)

For those who have New York forebears, one of the assets that state has is a set of county-level inventories done out of Cornell University in the 1980s. The generic title is "Guide to Historical Resources in Generic County, New York, Repositories." They are funny-shaped books with an idiosyncratic format, but your time with them will not be wasted. Really good genealogical libraries such as Allen County and the Wisconsin State Historical Society have them, but be careful how you search on WorldCat, as sometimes they are catalogued without the commas.

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