Researching Coast to Coast

In our most recent podcast, we talk about research in the different regions of the United States. Some states we love and others not so much based on what is available online and at the local level.


Here are a few places to use for your research in the different regions.

New England has a great resource in the New England Historical Genealogical Society. You do have to pay for membership, but if you have research to do in that area (and they also have records from across the country as well) it might be worth the investment. Records in the New England states can be found at the town level so be sure and contact the Sexton at the town clerk’s office. One thing to remember in this region, New York is a restricted access state and this makes research difficult.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, state libraries and archives house most county records but not all are digitized or online. Be sure and check at the county level for your ancestor’s information and independent cities without county affiliation. West Virginia has a great site, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Virginia has the Library of Virginia, Maryland has the Maryland State Archives and New Jersey offers the Department of State.

Mid West research uses County and Circut Court Clerks and the State Archives and Historical Societies are very good resources also. In Ohio, you can join the Ohio Genealogical Society where they have a multitude of resources and check out the Ohio History Connection. If you are researching in Michigan be sure to look at Seeking Michigan for death records and guides on other research in Michigan. Don’t forget the Allen County Library in Indiana and the Indiana State Archives. We also talk a little about the MOMS, the Minnesota Official Marriage System, the Minnesota Historical Society and lastly, the Midwest Genealogy Center.

Headin’ out West we find that records are kept by Couty Clerk or Clerk-Recorders and Probates will be at the District Courts. The state archives are also a great resource. Check out the California State Library and the Montana State Genealogical Society.

Finally, the South. If you are researching in the south you need to remember that there were quite a few fires and many records have been lost at the county and town levels. Records here are located in county or county circuit courts. Birth and Death records are at the state level. State archives in the south can be very helpful. Be sure and check for Confederate Pension files which are full on information. If you are researching in North Carolina, check out Helen Leary’s North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History and in South Carolina be sure and try the South Carolina Archives and the South Carolinainana Library.

These are just a few of the many places to research in the different states and will give you a great start and get you thinking of all the other possibilities there are out there for research. Happy ancestor hunting!


3 thoughts on “Researching Coast to Coast

  1. NY SOURCES: You noted the restrictions on NY documents, which I experienced tracking my Mayflower roots from MA to Cayuga County, NY. The show noted an Italian-American genealogical group that has tracked marriage records. What was their name. Also, the Podcast mentioned a NY Family History Reference book that I bet is at our library here in Vero Beach, FL.

    If you could provide further info on these two sources, I’d appreciate it. I’m one of the three state co-historians for the FL Mayflower Society and I always like to keep state records resources current.

    Also, I’m not on the Board of the Indian River Genealogical Society but I bet IRGS might be interested in a Skype or other remote video presentation at their monthly meeting. The winter crowd is usually SRO. Just a thought. I can’t advise you about speaker’s fees etc. I enjoy your Podcasts!


    Kurt Bressner

    1. Hello Kurt,

      Thank you for listening to our podcast. The book you are referring to is the New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer and most likely would be in your library as you mentioned. The website for the Italian group is and is only for NYC boroughs. There is also another website which also has NY records. Hope that helps in your searches.

      On another note, you mention being one of the three state co-historians for the FL Mayflower Society and I am helping a family member research a connection to Thomas Rogers. That is their family legend but I’m finding it difficult to prove. Might there be lineages somewhere that you could point me in the direction of for this passenger?

      Thanks so much!

      1. Good morning Penny,

        Thank you for the NY sources. I’ve been able to use the documents posted at the Internet Archive that ended up there because of the work of Reclaim the Records. I will look for the NY Family History Center at our Library. When I work with applicants with NY (and NJ) ancestors, getting vital records is always a challenge. I appreciate this info.

        Specific to your question about Thomas Rogers, the most definitive and authoritative source on him is via the Silver Book series on the Pilgrims published by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants based in Plymouth. This is the organization that approves membership in the organization with “proven” lineage back to a Mayflower ancestor. I have copied the cover and inside cover of the book for you. I recommend checking this resource to see if your relative’s line is accepted by GSMD. If so, I would assume it to be valid. I can run the line also for you if you wish. I have attached the form we use to check the line as part of the application process. In the case of Thomas Rogers, there are a lot of incorrect lines or lines that have not yet been proven. Volume 19, 2013 edition is the latest version of the Thomas Rogers Silver Book.

        Let me know if I can assist further. I sent both the .pdf and Word line request file.


        Kurt Bressner 561-436-2328 (Mobile) 772-492-3471 (Home) Twitter: Bressner


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