Contact a Local

No matter how long you’ve researched and how adept you are at locating, interpreting, and understanding records, it is always a good idea to communicate with someone familiar with the resources in a location where you’ve never done research before. That “new” county may organize materials in a slightly different fashion, have a finding aid you’ve never encountered, or have other “issues” with their records that may hinder your research if you are unaware of them.

That local may know things about the location that are not “common” knowledge, be aware of others who could be able to assist you, and may give you suggestions on navigating the materials in their local area. It’s a mistake to assume that just because you are familiar with records in some locations, that you’ll know everything about them everywhere.

A good way to stumble on your genealogical research path is to not realize you may need a new map or area guide when your research moves to a new location.