Using Government Sites for Genealogy Research

On November 10, 2015, Posted by , In Digital Library/Collection,Public Records, By ,, , With Comments Off on Using Government Sites for Genealogy Research


By Diana DeLugan

Diana is the author of Arizona Genealogy Free Resources Sourcebook, and family historian of the Otero family. She curates Genealogy Headline News which reports top news and future events in the genealogy community.


Using Government Sites for Your Genealogy Research

Many state and federal government sites provide access to genealogy resources. In my opinion, using government sites for genealogy research is one of the best ways to begin your family history project because government entities are cautious and link to websites that are reputable.

Rely on government vetted resources as sites you can visit online with confidence. First, remember if you are visiting a site that has a .gov domain, you are visiting a government site. Next, several of the .gov sites list many of the same research links. Duplication is not necessarily a bad thing. Consider it a sort of assurance that the commonly linked research website is authoritative and trustworthy. I recommend that once you find a research location valuable to your own research, build your own personal research web resource log. No two genealogy projects are identical. If a source works for you, you may find that it may yield other resources for you in the future.

How Do I Locate Government Recommended Genealogy Research Sites?

When you are looking for a .gov website, enter “site: .gov” in your web browser along with your keyword search term. For instance, if I want to find a government site related to Arizona history I would write “site: .gov Arizona history” in the web browser. Results may not return all .gov domains, but results will include sources related to Arizona history. Then, you can have a measure of confidence viewing the .gov sites first.

A brief word of caution when using government sites for genealogy research. Be careful because some non-government entities will use the “gov” in their domain title to lure you into believing you are accessing a government site, but their domains end in a “.com” url. Granted, there are some local government entities that use “.com” domains for their use, but this is not the normal practice. Just be a cautious consumer.

To help you get started, following you’ll find a sampling of .gov genealogy sites to begin your research. Enjoy!


US, Genealogy

US, Census Records

US Citizenship and Immigration Services

US Department of the Interior Indian Affairs, Genealogy

US Library of Congress, Local and Family History

US Library of Congress, Virtual Reference Shelf

US National Archives and Records Administration, Archives Library Information Center – Genealogy

US National Archives and Records Administration, Resources for Genealogists

US National Archives and Records Administration at Philadelphia

US National Park Service, Tracing Family History at the National Archives

US National Park Service, Finding Arrival Records Online


Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona Genealogy Birth and Death Certificates

Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records, Genealogy Information Portals

California State Library, California Genealogy Resources

Idaho State Archives Genealogy, Learn About Your Family History

Indiana State Library, Genealogy Collection

Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois State Archives/Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Vital Records and Genealogy Information

Library of Michigan,2351,7-160-50206_54518_18635—,00.html

Library of Virginia

Maryland State Archives, Family Historians

Missouri Digital Heritage, Missouri Death Certificates, 1910-1964

New York City, Genealogy

New York State, Genealogy Records & Resources

New York State Library, Genealogy/Vital Records

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Vital Records Research

Oregon Secretary of State, Archival Records

Pennsylvania Department of Health, Genealogy Requests

South Dakota Department of Health, Certificates and Records

State Library and State Archives of North Carolina, North Carolina Family Records Online

State of Delaware, Delaware Public Archives

State of New Jersey Department of Health, Getting Copies of Genealogical Records Birth, Death, and Marriage

State of North Carolina, How To: Sources of NC Vital Records

Tennessee Secretary of State, History and Genealogy

Tennessee Secretary of State, Finding Birth & Death Records in Tennessee

Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Vital Statistics Indexes

Virginia Department of Health, Genealogy

Washington Secretary of State, Washington State Archives – Digital Archives

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