Town Records

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Many town records have been kept by town clerks, especially in New England and New York. They generally begin with the founding of the town (which can be as early as the mid-1600’s) and are kept to the present.

These records may contain information about births, marriages, deaths, burials, appointments, earmarks, estrays, freemen’s oaths, land records, military enrollments, mortgages, church records, name changes, care of the poor, school records, surveys, tax lists, town meeting minutes, voter registrations, and “warnings out” (i.e., get outa town fella, we don’t want yer kind ’round here).

They’re wonderful as a source for putting biographical information together on your ancestor.  By putting together all the little details they include, you can often come up with a nice composite of how your ancestor interacted with others in the town.

Many of the original town records are in the town clerks’ offices. Many have also been published and indexed, especially in genealogical periodicals; and many have been microfilmed.

More Info at FamilySearch Wiki

May include:
•   Births
•   Marriages
•   Deaths
•   Burials
•   Appointments
•   Earmarks (brands on animals)
•   Estrays (stray animals),
•   Freemen’s oaths (men eligible to vote)
•   Land records
•   Military enrollments
•   Mortgages
•   Church records
•   Name changes
•   Care of the poor
•   School records
•   Surveys
•   Tax lists
•   Town meeting minutes
•   Voter registrations
•   Warnings out

1)  Family History Library — check the FHL Catalog under [State], [County], [Town] – Town Records.

The Family History Library is your best bet.  If they don’t have it, then consider the following:

2)  Town — many of the original town records are in the town clerks’ offices.

3)  PERSI—this is the Periodical Source Index available on the Internet. See page 39 for details on how to use it.

TIP: See the state research outlines at FamilySearch for the New England states and New York for more help in locating these.

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