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HIS 122: The U.S. Since 1865, Dr. Don Fisher: Genealogy Online Resources

Open Access Databases and Websites

Vital Records

Vital records are birth, marriage, divorce, and death records kept by the government. These records provide names, dates, places, and relationships—information that uniquely identifies a person. Vital records are primary sources and the information on them is usually correct. Vital records provide a strong foundation for building a valid family history.

Good Places to Start

Internet resources can give you clues for researching your family tree. Remember to verify everything you find on the the Internet and evaluate your sources just like you would for any other website  You can find many clues to your family's ancestors and even original documents. Search for stories, maps, photos, and other facts to make your research interesting.

It's also important to recognize that much family history is also not available online but located within the collections of a variety of historical repositories, like small historical societies and public libraries. Oftentimes, your research will require you to contact one of these places and request information. Knowing that, start your research early if you have a deadline.

Genealogical Societies

Land Records

Land records are a valuable source of genealogical and historical information. In addition to researching the history of a property, land records documenting the sale and ownership of land may cite the kinship between parties or provide other vital records information. Land records may infer the approximate date when a person moved to a town or when a building was erected. They may also include the residence of the buyer. 


These sites give general information on searching for family information from various churches and religions.

Niagara County Community College. Henrietta G. Lewis Library. 3111 Saunders Settlement Rd., Sanborn, NY 14132 | 716-614-6786