The internet has breathed fresh new life into what was typically pretty dusty genealogical research. There is an abundance of records available online that can be used to research family history, and for the most part, they’re often enough to build an impressive family tree.
However, seasoned researchers know that the majority of valuable family history records aren’t digitized or indexed. These records sit in libraries, archives, cemeteries, courthouses, and historical societies.
Exploring these offline resources can help you find new and better leads and can also help confirm facts about your family that you’ve already found online.
Here are some tips to keep in mind, though, while researching offline genealogy resources.
Start Your Offline Search with Online Means
While the internet shouldn’t be your final destination and online records aren’t even the most important resources, they are very integral tools for a family researcher.
You’re probably confused about where we’re going with this but hear us out.
The idea is that the records you’re looking for could be anywhere in the world. And while you could go backpacking around the world without any leads, it’d be like looking for a needle in a haystack. This is why you need to start your search online.
You can post queries about what you’re looking for in online forums and try contacting local genealogy societies. You may be able to find something in their collections, or you might find local members who are willing to help you find more by searching offline records in the area.
Call The Local Library/County Clerk’s Office
Another way to look for offline records while being off-site is by making calls to local public places that hold information. This might be the local library or the county clerk’s office. Getting a librarian on the phone can bevery beneficial for your research. They’re usually very familiar with the intricacies of genealogical research and can help you find information that you may not even know you needed.
Those working in the county clerk’s office can be a lot of help too. They know precisely what you can or can’t find in the courthouse, which is very helpful if you plan to visit. You’d know in advance if a visit is worthwhile.
Keep Expanding Your Network
Genealogy is all about networking and constantly learning. So, you should always be looking for more people to connect with, whether it’s online or in-person.
When you’re exploring offline genealogy resources, always try and find new leads while exploring a resource. So, for instance, if you’re talking to a librarian, ask for suggestions about others that they think you should talk to for more information.
Networking like this will lead you to other local resources that you might not have been familiar with earlier.
Get A Professional Genealogist on Board
Needless to say, though, family research using offline resources is a lot more challenging than doing a few quick searches online.