How Burned Was that Burned County?

“The courthouse was burned” is one of those phrases that causes a significant amount of genealogical swearing. When you hear this phrase, remember to ask:

  • Did the entire courthouse burn?
  • Were all offices in the same location?
  • Were any records salvaged?
  • Were some documents “restored?”
  • Were residents asked to bring any originals in to be recorded again?
  • Would newspapers hold some of the missing information?
  • Are there federal records that would provide the same information?
  • Have I asked locals knowledgeable about the local records what materials might be available?
  • etc.