Courthouse Research For Family Historians
Courthouse Research For Family Historians
Price: $21.98
Sale Price: $21.54
Product #: CR0003

 Product Information:

Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures; by Christine Rose; 237 pp; soft cover; 8 1/2 x 11; ISBN: 9780929626161; Item # CR0003; fully illustrated and indexes.

The only guidebook devoted totally to courthouse research. From an author who has researched in more than 500 courthouses of the U.S. Christine starts with the preparation, giving advice on which courthouse to research first, how to prepare, and how to get past the clerks into the records. She then offers concrete examples of what will be found in each office, how to use the indexes in that office, and how to interpret what is found. Going beyond the location of the record, she discusses evaluation of the records, significance to your family's search, and many other facets of research. Written in a clear style, concise, and with many tips for novices to advanced researchers.

An unsolicited recommendation!

"I just finished your Courthouse Research for Family Historians book and then went to a lovely courthouse ... I had a new confidence and overview of what was available there thanks to your book ... I've done courthouse research a few times, and was on the way to becoming knowledgeable, but your book got me around the corner. Your descriptions of how the records are formed and how they come to be in the courthouse is invaluable. You are such a good, clear, concise writer. And, there is even a little nurturing in your book, for those who are a little nervous about going into the courthouse ... I will say that your courthouse book set me up well for ...[a] very efficient use of my time ... Thanks again, for a simply scrumptious book. It was like water to the parched in the desert." [Peggy Baldwin]


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Preparation is the Key

Start in a County Courthouse...or?

Counties Can Have Parents Too

Counties Formed From the Initial County of Research

Does the County Still Exist?

Independent Cities

Other Considerations

Will They Be Open?

Can You Handle the Record Books?

Packing With a Purpose

What's in Your Briefcase

Taking Files


Skills to Practice Before Leaving

Reading the Handwriting

Transcribing Faithfully

Books and Tapes will Assist


Other Practical Considerations

Should You Take Your Computer into the Courthouse?


Chapter Points to Ponder

Chapter 2: You're There–Now What?

Arriving at the Courthouse

Staring the Search


Hints for Success

Differences in Indexes

Numbering of Record books

A Variety of Indexing Systems

Russell Index System

Additional Hints with the Russell System

The Campbell System and Other "First Name" Indexes

Cott Indexes

Graves Tabular Initial Indexes

Additional Indexes

Can’t Find a Name in the Index?

Did the Index Err?

Did You Miss Some Entries?

What's Missing in the Index?

Using the Index for Maximum Results

After the Index in Examined

brought Your Computer?

Legal Age

There was a Fire!

Those Other Records on the Shelves

Chapter Pints to Ponder

Chapter 3: Property Matters

Importance of Land Ownership

State-Land States vs. Federal-Land States

Surveying Differences

Land Surveys

Indexes for Land Records

Entry Book Indexes

Peculiarities of Deed Indexes in Land Records

What do Deed Indexes Include?

Indexes Prepared by Others

Types of Documents


Chapter Points to Ponder

Chapter 4: Searching for Property Records

The Office for Land Records

Types of Record Books

Deed Books

Survey Books and Warrants

Plat Books and Plat Maps

Powers of Attorney Books

Mortgage Books

What a Deed Tells Us

The Recording Process

Clues in the Deeds

Other Considerations


Sr. and Jr., Elder and Younger, 1st and 2nd

Absence of Records

Strategies for Searching Local Land Records

Connecting Families Through Their Deeds

Records Not a Part of the Local Land Records

Land Records are Crucial to Research

Chapter Points to Ponder

Deed Transcribed and Annotated

Chapter 5: Estates Galore

Which Office Handled Estates?

Was the Estate Probated?

Women and Wills

Kinds of Estates

The Probate Indexes


Understanding the Law

Naming Children in the Will

Primogeniture or Double Portion


Interstate Division Per Stripes or Per Capita

Heirs at Law, Sons-in-Law, and Others

Probate Court Minutes and Court Orders

The Estate Packets

But Keep in Mind

Chapter Points to Ponder

Chapter 6: Estate Documents

Wills (Testate Proceedings)

Codicils to Wills

More Than One Kind of Will

The Probate Process

Other Documents Associated with Estates



"Letters" Issued



Accounts of Sale and Sale Bill

Petition for Sale of Real Estate

Final Settlement or Final Distribution



Relinquishment in an Administration

Public Administrator or Other Public Official


Guardianship of Minors

Bonds for Guardians

Entailed Property in the Hands of Minors

Choosing a Guardian for a Minor

Next Friend

Guardianship for Incompetents

Committee (in Case of Incompetency)

Guardian's Accounts

Chapter Points to Ponder

Chapter 7: Milking Every Clue from Estates

Let's Consider


Were There Two Wills?

Wills of Unmarried Adults

Making it Fair

Gleaning Clues from Wills

More on Packets

Varied Documents in the Estate Packet (Annotated)

Transcribing a Will

Abstracting a Will

Wills are Marvelous in More Ways Than One

Is a Search Among Estates Worth the Effort?

Don't Be Content With One Record

Chapter Points to Ponder

Chapter 8: Understanding the Court System

The Court System

Types of Courts

Our Legal System

Record Books

Type of Documents

Civil Court Indexes

The File Packets: Civil and Criminal


Chapter Points to Ponder

Chapter 9: Civil and Criminal Court

Civil Records

Finding Civil Court Records in the Courthouse



Your Strategy in Becoming Acquainted with Civil Court Records

The Civil Court Process

Other Records Which Might Be Found

Changes of Name

Tax Records

How Tax Records Help You

What was Taxed

Land Books

Tax Assessor

Tax Foreclosures

Road Records

Road Commissioners

Coroner's Records

Registrar of Voters


Locating the Naturalization Papers

Naturalization of Women

Formation of Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization


Can't Find the Divorce Proceeding?

Criminal Matters

The "Gaols"

Bail Bond

Duties of a Criminal Court Clerk


Chapter Points to Ponder

Chapter 10: Birth, Marriage, and Death

Registrations of Vital Records

Which Courthouse Office?

Cities May Keep Their Own Records

Are the Records Open to the Public?

Register Book Indexes and Their Organization

Transcribing and Abstracting Vital Records

Birth Records

Delayed or Corrected Birth Records

Other Courthouse Documents Can Substitutes for Birth Records

Local Customs Help


The Process by License or by Banns

Marriage Applications and the License

Marriage Bonds

Marriage Certificates

Marriage Registers

Marriage Contract

Where Did They Marry?

Substitute Marriage Records

Breach of Promise

Common-Law Marriages

Special Notes on Marriages


Where is the Death Register and What's In It?

When You Cannot Find the Death Record

Substitute Records Can Prove a Death

Vital Records Assistance

One Action Can Prove Birth, Marriage, and Death

Chapter Points to Ponder

Chapter 11: The Internet, Microfilm, and Libraries

The Internet and Courthouses

Cyndi's List is Always a Place to Start

Other Cyndi's List Resource Items


County Forums

County Sites Other Than USGenWeb

State Archives on the Internet

Federal Land Records Online

Local Land Records Online

Probate Records Online

Vital Records Online

Civil Records Online

Online Subscription Services

Microfilm for Courthouse Records

Family History Library (FHL) and Their Microfilm

Finding Family History Centers

FHL Catalog

Ordering FHL Microfilm

Microfilm Other than FHL

Microfilm Problems

Library Genealogical Collections

Family History Library Books

Other Major Library Collections

Advantage of Library Preparation

Use WorldCat OCLC

Law Libraries for Statutes

United States Statutes


Other Finding Aids


PERSI Index to Published Articles

County Inventories and County Guides

Work Project Administration (WPA)

Original Courthouse Records Found Elsewhere

Unusual Sites

Chapter Points to Ponder

Chapter 12: Strategies that Work

Example 1: Allow One Record to Lead to Another

Example 2: Locating the Children

Example 3: Locating Parents

Example 4: Following the Separations and Divorces

Example 5: The Will is Missing

Example 6: Widening the Search

Strategies for Letter Writing

General Rules When Writing

Stating the Request Clearly

Strategies for Finding African-American Records

Strategies for "Knowing" Our Ancestors

Keeping Us Going

The Saga of a Revolutionary Soldier

Resource References



  "Courthouse Research for Family Historians" Book Review

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