Sources of Information for a United States Record Type Article

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FamilySearch Wiki contributors who want to help with an article about a type of U.S. record (like census records) often ask "Where should I look for information on this type of record, and how will I know when the article is 'done'?" This article is an attempt to help with these issues.

Major sources for information about U.S. records

The following sources are some of the major ones that may merit consideration in order to glean adequate information about a record type. The list isn't meant to be comprehensive or set in stone.


Source Delphi vote
Link to data sets or digitized images on  
Linking wiki articles to  Record Search data sets   
Link to data sets or digitized images on Heritage Quest Online  
Family History Library Internet Explorer favorites  
Statewide Indexes pages for each state on FamilySearch Internet  
Link the article's book references to Google Books  
Link the article's book references to BYU Digital Archives  
Link the article's book references to OCLC/Worldcat  
Link the article's book references to Family History Library Catalog  
Information compiled by the Describe team at FamilySearch for Record Search  
"Travelers" information compiled by Collection Management at FamilySearch.  
FamilySearch Source Guide  
FamilySearch Research Guidance  
U.S. GenWeb  
Google search specific to the record type to pick up any important sites not listed in other sources   
Cyndi's List page specific to the locality and record type  
Periodical Source Index (especially useful for counties before 1900)  
Major local repositories. (So when writing about Maryland Census records, you'd mention the state archives and the National Archives, which is close by.)  
Ancestry's The Source  
Ancestry's Printed Sources  
Everton's Handy Book  
Ancestry's Red Book  
Greenwood's The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy  

Proposed Processes

  1. Missionaries and community volunteers find information in the abovementioned sources and add that info. to the Talk page of the articles in question. A good editor/writer/assembler can go in later and add this information into the article itself.

Success Criteria

The abovementioned sources are consulted to compile the information for the articles all the way to the state level. In addition:

  1. Internal and external links
  2. Good source notes
  3. Images
  4. See Also links
  5. Vetted headings

How to flag customers that an article has been thoroughly revised

  • The History page isn't enough of an indicator of thoroughness because most users don't know about it.
  • Can a "last edited on..." date be appended to the bottom of a page? (Even if it's possible, it's probably not enough.)
  • Should the article contain some kind of icon that indicates it has been overhauled?