28 October 2013

Tell to me this: What are the 5 most useful records in genealogy? (Sans the obvious)

I'm about to send out for a land patent application packet for one of my clients' ancestors in the hopes that it will tell me where he's from. I've never dealt with land patent applications before, so I'm excited to get some experience with something new!

And, it made me think. I wonder what other super useful records are out there that I haven't used or don't know about?  Birth, christening, marriage, death, obituary, burial, and census records all go without saying, so let's not say them, and say other things instead.

In the comments below, tell to me this: What are the top 5 records (or evidence of any kind) that you find are the most useful and informative in genealogy research?


  1. Welcome to Geneabloggers. The top five. I guess I would say ancestry.com, familysearch.org, findagrave.com, federal land records site, and number five would be a lot of others including civil war sites. I have some of these listed on the right hand side of my blog so people can click and go to them. I try to write articles highlighting some of these sites. Another one would be google books which I wrote an article about. Enjoyed reading your blog. Maybe we should follow each other.

    I would highly recommend Jacqi Stevens blog. I see she is following you. She is such a great writer. She inspires me to work on writing skills I really like the titles Jacqi comes up with as well..

    Regards, Grant


  2. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels in The Homeplace Series such as: "Back to the Homeplace"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist: http://www.indepthgenealogist.com/

  3. How about military records, especially WWI and WWII Draft Cards (which has been especially helpful for my husband's family) and Civil War, War of 1812 and Revolutionary War Pension files (though I admit I need to do some more work searching those for my ancestors).

    Welcome to Geneabloggers!

  4. Top 5 -- how about just a top 2:

    1. Land records--even if your ancestor didn't own any land, he almost certainly lived on it!

    2. Pension records--even if your ancestor didn't serve, he almost certainly knew someone who did, for most of the U. S.'s history.

    If you can find all of the relevant records in these two record groups for a particular ancestor, and use them effectively to identify not only direct evidence but also all relevant indirect evidence, you will agree!