Q:

How do you access hard-to-find genealogical records?

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Quick Answer

Access some hard-to-find genealogical records online using genealogy sites such as Ancestry.com and AncestorCloud. For records in the United States, start your search with the National Archives website's genealogy section, which includes census, military, naturalization, land and immigration records dating back to the 1700s.

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Full Answer

When researching your ancestry hits a dead end, online genealogical websites can offer solutions. Some sites do charge fees for searching, but many offer free basic access to the records that they have accumulated.

The National Archives contains a wide variety of documents that relate to individuals' interaction with the U.S. Government, such as military records, consensus reports and passport records. It does not include documents such as birth certificates or marriage licenses, which may be found through county and state agencies.

Some personal documents such as these can be obtained from genealogy sites if they have been uploaded by other users. These sites can also eliminate the need for travelling across the country or even to other countries in order to obtain genealogical documents since they link searchers with researchers and organizations around the globe in order to locate the records.

If there are records that are very hard to find, there is a chance that they may not exist in a formal archive. Birth certificates are one example of documents that haven't always been archived. Sometimes a record of birth can be found in an old family bible or birth announcement in a newspaper, so don't rule these sources out as a method of obtaining genealogical information.

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