Records Review – The No Records Blues

Posted: January 8, 2011 in For Genealogists, Records Review

Sometimes you are facing a lackluster moment in research and it comes down to a phrase – “All records burned in a courthouse fire.”

That phrase is just one of the many painful ones that genealogists have been stuck with like “Records missing”, “Records removed and discarded”, “Books digitized and destroyed”, “Courthouse Fire”, “Archived at (State, County or National) Library”, “Records Discarded for Age”, “Records kept 20 years and burned”, “Materials being digitized.”

Then you have the strange phrases like “What can I do now that I know the courthouse burned?”  “Any other sources for this information exist?

Well in truth a few other questions can be asked – “What courthouse burned?”  “Archived Elsewhere?”, “The Records Management Policy is posted where?”, “Where is the digitized version going to be made available – on the web and/or in the library?”

For every official notice of missing, destroyed or destruction by criminal act on records is a serious mention.   However, you can tame your fears of never finding anything by simply not thinking of those records as primary sources to search for at this time.

Next week: Records Review – How can heraldry help me?



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