Using Government Sites for Genealogy Research
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 Census.gov, Genealogy http://www.census.gov/topics/population/genealogy.html
US Census.gov, Census Records https://www.census.gov/history/www/genealogy/decennial_census_records/census_records_2.html
US Citizenship and Immigration Services http://www.uscis.gov/genealogy
US Department of the Interior Indian Affairs, Genealogy http://www.bia.gov/FOIA/Genealogy/
US Library of Congress, Local and Family History http://www.loc.gov/teachers/additionalresources/relatedresources/ushist/special/local.html
US Library of Congress, Virtual Reference Shelf http://www.loc.gov/rr/askalib/virtualref.html
US National Archives and Records Administration, Archives Library Information Center – Genealogy http://www.archives.gov/research/alic/reference/genealogy.html
US National Archives and Records Administration, Resources for Genealogists https://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy/index.html
US National Archives and Records Administration at Philadelphia https://www.archives.gov/philadelphia/public/family-history.html
US National Park Service, Tracing Family History at the National Archives http://www.nps.gov/elis/learn/education/tracing-family-history-at-the-national-archives.htm
US National Park Service, Finding Arrival Records Online http://www.nps.gov/elis/learn/education/finding-arrival-records-online.htm
Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona Genealogy Birth and Death Certificates http://genealogy.az.gov/
Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records, Genealogy Information Portals http://www.azlibrary.gov/arm/research-archives/genealogy-and-family-history/genealogy-information-portals
California State Library, California Genealogy Resources https://www.library.ca.gov/calhist/genealogy.html
Idaho State Archives Genealogy, Learn About Your Family History http://history.idaho.gov/idaho-state-archives-genealogy
Indiana State Library, Genealogy Collection http://www.in.gov/library/genealogy.htm
Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois State Archives/Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900 http://www.ilsos.gov/isavital/marriagesrch.jsp
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Vital Records and Genealogy Information http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/vital/
Library of Virginia http://www.lva.virginia.gov/
Maryland State Archives, Family Historians http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/homepage/html/family.html
Missouri Digital Heritage, Missouri Death Certificates, 1910-1964 http://s1.sos.mo.gov/records/archives/archivesdb/deathcertificates/
New York City, Genealogy http://www.nyc.gov/html/records/html/archives/genealogy.shtml
New York State, Genealogy Records & Resources https://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/genealogy.htm
New York State Library, Genealogy/Vital Records http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/genealogy/vitrec.htm
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Vital Records Research http://vitalrecords.nc.gov/research.htm
Oregon Secretary of State, Archival Records http://sos.oregon.gov/archives/Pages/records.aspx
Pennsylvania Department of Health, Genealogy Requests http://www.health.pa.gov/MyRecords/Certificates/Genealogy/Pages/14125.aspx#.VkGOorfnvq4
South Dakota Department of Health, Certificates and Records http://doh.sd.gov/Records/
State Library and State Archives of North Carolina, North Carolina Family Records Online http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/digital/ncfamilyrecords/
State of Delaware, Delaware Public Archives http://archives.delaware.gov/index.shtml
State of New Jersey Department of Health, Getting Copies of Genealogical Records Birth, Death, and Marriage http://www.state.nj.us/health/vital/gen.shtml
State of North Carolina, How To: Sources of NC Vital Records http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/ghl/resources/genealogy/vitalrecords.html
Tennessee Secretary of State, History and Genealogy http://sos.tn.gov/tsla/history
Tennessee Secretary of State, Finding Birth & Death Records in Tennessee http://www.tennessee.gov/tsla/history/vital/vital.htm
Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Vital Statistics Indexes https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/vitalfaq.html
Virginia Department of Health, Genealogy http://www.vdh.state.va.us/vital_records/gene.htm
Washington Secretary of State, Washington State Archives – Digital Archives http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/