Find My Ancestor Blog

What Kind of Documents Do You Search For?

There are so many documents and records that are available to genealogists to help us find our ancestors, but sometimes it is hard to know which documents to look for and which ones give us the most information.

Some of the most common records we search for are birth, marriage, death, census, and military records. As we do more research and learn new techniques we learn there are records and documents out there that we never would have thought of using to help us break down those brick walls.

We all have those specific records we search for because we know they can be a goldmine of information. Some of us treasure one record type over another because of the time it was created, where it was created, or because of who it is about. Many of us have a "checklist" of items we search for for each person we do research on. The question is, what records or documents do YOU use to find the most information about your ancestors? Why do you use those documents? Where can they be found? Are they available online, microfilm, or only in person at an archive? Do these documents cost money to access or are they available for free to everyone?

Please take a minute or two and give your input on what kind of records and documents are the most beneficial to your research. Use the form "Genealogy Checklist" to give your input.


Free Census Tools Online

This is kind of a "re-post" from Dick Eastman, but I figured I would post something about it just in case there are followers here and not Dick's site.

Earlier Dick posted an article on some free Census tools available online. I had never heard of this site so I went and checked it out. The gentleman who owns the site has made multiple Census spreadsheets for you to input your family data into that looks just like the Census. I downloaded them and tried them out, and they are great! I have been thinking about doing something like this for myself, but now I don't need to.

Some of the available downloads include:
  • U.S. Federal Census(1790-1930)
  • State Census
  • International Census
  • Cemetery Data
  • Passenger Manifest Data
  • Research Log
  • Family Group Record
If you have been looking for a good way to transcribe all the data from those census records or old family group records, I highly recommend you check out this site!

To learn more about Census Tools and download these forms, visit All forms are both Windows and Mac compatible.