How To Use Microfiche Records for Genealogy Research

Do you need to find critical information about your family lineage? Well, prepare to go through volumes of records. But instead of combing through the “actual trails”, simply refer to their microfiche reproductions.

Microfiche reproductions are very common now. In fact, it is already a practice to convert public records into microfilms. For one, they are quite easy to store. Also, they can be organized in a number of logical ways.

Now, if you are currently involved in genealogy research and you have to find and to extract pertinent facts and details from microfiche reproductions, here are some guidelines for you:

  • Learn where to find the records. Start with your local library. They should have the microfiche version of your community newspaper. If you are lucky, they should have a section solely dedicated to genealogy research. From there, you can readily access the U.S. census and the state records, the plat maps, and the cemetery indexes.
  • Your next stop is the historical society in your area. If they don’t the actual records for your county or your state, they can recommend institutions or organizations that archive them. They may also have a wider selection of newspaper compilations compared with your local library.
  • If the local library and the historical society are still not enough, you can check out the Mormon Family History Center in your area. Aside from their census records, they also maintain the passenger listings of their ships. But since most of their microfiche records have been collated and stored in the Salt Lake City central library, processing or granting your request may take some time. Or, you can go on-line. Visit a trustworthy genealogy site. One good example is Cyndi’s List. You can also seek help from a genealogy forum, especially if you are not sure about where you can find your required information.
  • Know how to extract the information. Census records are best if you have to mine the names of your ancestors, their approximate birth years, their birthplaces, and their respective occupations. Meanwhile, the records from state census can cull details about your family’s farm acreage, including the livestock and crops that have been raised there.
  • If you refer to the ship’s passenger listings, you can learn about the actual vessels your ancestors took when they arrived here. You can also determine their departure point and the kind of occupation they had in their home country. You can also get the names of the other family members who went along with them.
  • If you wish to be particular about the birth and death dates of your ancestors, go through the cemetery records. You can also find out where your ancestors were buried. On the other hand, church records can let you gather records of baptism, marriage, confirmation, and death. If you exhaust the baptismal records, you can note your ancestors’ names, their parents, and their sponsors.
  • Of course, you can’t afford to ignore the newspaper obituaries. They can help you collect information about your ancestor’s life accomplishments. In fact, you can read about how they actually lived.

Don’t forget to document your sources along the way. Credit them properly. It is also ideal if corroborate the information with the other available sources.


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