Introduction To U.S. Records

AS YOU BEGIN your search for information about your family, you’ll find there are all kinds of different records available (see the list in the nav bar to the right)—each potentially containing valuable information about your ancestors.

Now, obviously, not all of these records exist for each of your ancestors.  But, chances are, each of your ancestors is listed in many of these. The trick, of course, is actually finding your ancestors’ specific records.

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This Records Help Center shows many of the records available to you in your search for your ancestors.

Each record category is organized as follows:
…….. •  A description of what the record is
…….. •  A picture of what the record looks like
…….. •  What information the record contains
…….. •  Where you can find the record

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Many of the original records described here are now available on the Internet — typically on FamilySearch,, and similar websites. And the great thing is, millions of new records are being added online every day.

The largest repository of family history records in the world is the Family History Library in Salt Lake. It has over 2.5 million rolls of microfilmed records containing billions of names, with new records pouring in every day from around the world.

The Church is currently embarked on an enormous project to digitize and index all these millions of records, and make them available for free on the FamilySearch website — so you can sit at home in your pajamas and find your ancestors online, in the original records that documented their lives.

As records are completed and indexed, they’re posted on the FamilySearch website, where you can access them right now.

Meanwhile, vast numbers of records are not on the Internet.  To find the original records you need that aren’t currently online, you’ll have to locate them the old-fashioned way: which means writing or visiting the repository (court house, library, archive) where they’re kept.

The records on your ancestors are out there somewhere, just waiting to be found. So let the fun begin—and good luck in your search!

P.S. — Here’s a nice 5-minute video that gives you a nice Overview On Records