GENEALOGY RESEARCH BY MAIL
Class and Website
LOS ANGELES FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY
Jon Schweitzer - Instructor
Revised 20 November 2011
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This is a Website companion to the class.
Consult the books "Handbook for Genealogical Correspondence" (973 D27hk) and the "Source" (Ref 973 D27sl or 973 D27sl or JGS 973 D27sl) and the Redbook (Ref 973 D27rb or 973 D27rb or JGS 973 D27rb) in this library. Unless stated otherwise, the books mentioned below are in this library.
Topics covered in this class that will improve your armchair research:
· TYPES of MAIL
· GIVEN NAMES and SURNAMES
· LETTERS and ENVELOPES
· RELATIVES and other INDIVIDUALS
· PUBLIC ARCHIVES
· HISTORICAL SOCIETIES
· GOVERNMENT OFFICES
· HEREDITARY and LINEAGE SOCIETIES
· GENEALOGICAL SOCIETIES
· CHAMBERS of COMMERCE
· CEMETERIES and FUNERAL DIRECTORS
· WASHINGTON, D.C.
· 25,000 ADDRESSES
· GENERAL REFERENCES
· FOREIGN COUNTRIES
TYPES of MAIL
E-Mail - transmit computer "letter".
Hard Fax and Fax Mail - requires a Fax machine or computer with modem to transmit image of paper through the telephone that prints out on Fax machine or is stored in a computer.
Tombstone Mail - a request placed on a tombstone for a relative to contact you. See Tombstone Mail
Hard or Snail Mail - letter in an envelope.
GIVEN NAMES and SURNAMES
Use "Names, Nicknames and Missspelled Names" (Ref 929.4 C191c and 929.4 C191c) to work up a list of spellings of given names and Ancestral File to find some of the variations of the spellings of the surname HERE Also consult the book, "A Practical Guide to the MISTEAKS Made in Census Indexes", Richard H. Saldana, 1987, (973 X2pra – Rare Book Area), pages 31 and 32 for other interpretations of each letter in a surname. Use this book to develop additional variations.
LETTERS and ENVELOPES
"Handbook for Genealogical Correspondence" (973 D27hk) - Book
Send a SASE except when it is an U.S. government location. Use a #10 envelope.
The seven C's from the handbook above are: clean, correct, clear, courteous, considerate, concise and complete. Offer to pay for all expenses. Send a "not to exceed" check that is shown at http://www.encinojon.com/nottoexceed/
Don't mention your religion or politics unless it is the same as the person or establishment
you are writing. Develop good questions.
RELATIVES and other INDIVIDUALS
Use a simple form to request information.
Use private investigator methods to locate living persons. See http://websearch.about.com/od/peoplesearch/tp/peoplesearch.htm
Use the annual Genealogical Research Directory books for the years 1990 to 2010 (maybe 929.1025 G286grd) at the Southern California Genealogical Society and other libraries to locate other genealogists researching your surnames.
Use the Ancestral File at from a computer in this library or HERE to obtain the source (submitter's name and address) at the Individual Record and "Details" in the lower right on the screen. Write to them.
Use the 2 volume set of American Library Directory (maybe Ref 973 J54a) at other libraries or http://www.worldcat.org/libraries for names and addresses of libraries.
Local County Public Libraries have - County Histories, all name indexes, card files, folder files, criss-cross directories and newspaper indexes
Ask for copies of newspaper notices and items from all county histories. Use A Bibliography of American County Histories (973 H23bi) and seperate all-names indexes for each county history.
Ask for names and addresses of County Historical Society, Genealogical Societies, DAR
Chapter, DAR Chapter member and the local historians.
Family History Library - Research Inquiry and Photo Duplication of Books
State Historical Archives - Ask for copy of their inventory of newspapers on microfilm and missing issues for a specific city. See NEWSPAPER RESEARCH at http://www.lafhl.org/newspaper.htm
National Archives - WWI draft registration at Ancestry.com
Order veteran records using NATF Form 85 for Pension and 86 for Service. See my MILITARY RESEARCH - U.S. Website at http://www.encinojon.com/military/
County Historical Societies - City history, local papers, files and County history
State Historical Societies - Largest holders of newspapers on microforms, Plat maps and Sanborn Insurance Maps T20-T22
CHURCHES in U.S.
Ask if the church records are on microfilm and if the microfilm can be rented.
Use A Survey of American Church Records (973 K2k) and Handbook of Denominations
Write to the specific church or to the national office for information about the location of a specific church's records and the name and address of the archivist.
When ordering birth, marriage and death records, always ask for a copy of the ORIGINAL
RECORD and not a certificate. Except for a few large cities, certificates were not made until about 1907.
Ask for all marriage records available including the marriage registration.
Try to order the copies of the records from the county and not the state. The county usually has the original and the state only a typed copy.
When ordering probate records, ask for all records made for the probate process.
Coroner Records - might be stated on the death record.
Inquest Records - might be stated on death record. Died under mysterious or unknown circumstances or not with a doctor in attendance or had not seen a doctor in years.
Ask for copies of city licenses for business, physician and pharmacist.
Ask for copies of county maps from the county engineer.
Use Ohio Lands (977.1 H2fe) book and Illinois land records microfiche set # 6,016,848
Use U.S. Military Records (973 M23nu) book for state locations
Land & Property Research (973 R27h) - Book
For Bureau of Land Management - See LAND RESEARCH - US at http://www.encinojon.com/landresclass/
For Social Security - See SOCIAL SECURITY RESEARCH at http://www.lafhl.org/ssclass.htm
For Selective Service and Office of Personnel Management and Department of Army (Military Historical Centers such at the Army Military History Institute (USAMHI) at http://www.carlisle.army.mil/AHEC/USAMHI/researchinquiries.cfm and
Military Records - After 1918 and
Military Records - Before 1918
For the last 2 items see the U.S. Military Records (973 M23nu) book for state locations.
For the last five items see my MILITARY RESEARCH - U.S. Website at http://www.encinojon.com/military/
Immigration and Naturalization Service - See information HERE and HERE
See my Newspaper Research Website at http://www.lafhl.org/newspaper.htm Use the Gales Directory of Publications book here (maybe 940 E4ay) at other libraries and write directly to the newspaper and ask for copies of birth, marriage and obituary notices.
Place an ad in the local newspaper for persons to write to you about ancestors and/or to meet you on a street corner when you visit the town.
Ask the newspaper for copies of things from their morgue folder files.
Ask the newspaper what repositories have their newspapers on microforms.
Use American Newspapers (Ref 970 B33a)- big dark red book for lists of newspapers published in each town.
HEREDITARY AND LINEAGE SOCIETIES
See my DAR Research Website at http://www.encinojon.com/dar/
The DAR has large holdings of printed sources. Use the three DAR blue catalogs (Ref 973 A3DA) to find surname books, genealogies and local histories. DAR Patriot Index – 3 volumes (Ref 973 C42da)
Obtain the name of the local societies from the area public library.CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE
Search the older much larger US Chamber of Commerce at http://www.2chambers.com/ and the newer smaller http://www.chamberofcommerce.com/chambers/ for their chambers. Ask them about their reverse or criss - cross directories, maps and the names and addresses of the local historian, genealogical society, funeral directors and cemeteries.
Use the Official Museum Directory (069.025 A3am) book to find the museums.
Ask for details, drawings and photos of ships and their ship captains. See SHIP RESEARCH at http://www.encinojon.com/ships/
CEMETERIES and FUNERAL DIRECTORS
Obtain the death record and the name of the cemetery might be on it.
Look in the National Yellow Book of Funeral Directors (973 U24y) book for the name and address of a local funeral director. Write and ask them for the name and address of the person or sexton who holds the records for a specific cemetery.
Use Lest We Forget (975.3 D27b 1992) book for names and addresses for the Washington, D.C. repositories.
Ask the school to check their yearbooks or records for the year of graduation and the name and address of the chairperson for class reunions for that year. Write the chairperson for names and addresses.
Use the book The Genealogist’s Address Book (Ref 973 D24ben 1998) - Book
The Redbook (Ref 973 D27rb or 973 D27rb or JGS 973 D27rb) - book has many addresses.
Directory of Family Associations (Ref 973 D24benb 1996) - Book
Address Book (Ref 973 C5sj)
When writing to individuals, send the currency of the country. The postage for them might be 3 times the cost of U.S. postage.
Obtain the foreign currency at a currency exchange or sometimes a coin business.
Try to use a form letter in the language of the country. See foreign language form letters at HERE and HERE
Use the Pedigree Charts and Family Group Sheets printed in the foreign language. See them at the Help Desk.
Order certificates from England. See http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/
Don't ask for too much the first time.
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