United States, Public Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|Access the Records|
United States Public Records, 1970-2009 .
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Flag of the United States of America|
|Location of the United States of America|
|Record Type||Public Records|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 Collection Content
- 3 What Can This Collection Tell Me?
- 4 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Citing This Collection
- 7 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in This Collection?
This collection is an index of names, birth dates, addresses, phone numbers, and possible relatives of people who resided in the United States between 1970 and 2009. Not everyone who lived in the United States during this time will appear in the index. These records were generated from telephone directories, property tax assessments, credit applications, and other records available to the public. Birth information may be included for those residents born primarily between 1900 and 1990.
These records have been gathered from multiple sources. The original sources are not available.
In the United States, public records comprise an important class of genealogical sources. Public records are most often records collected and subsequently released by local, state, and federal government agencies. Many genealogists are familiar with public records such as the federal censuses and the Social Security death index. Other types of public records exist and often go underutilized by genealogists. Examples include county tax assessments, property liens, driver licenses, hunting licenses, civil and criminal court records, vehicle registrations, and voter registrations.
In addition to public records generated by government agencies, corporations and private organizations also collect and disseminate records about individuals. Examples of these include telephone and address listings, credit applications, and membership directories.
Public records are most useful to genealogists by providing information about a person's residence, often with associated dates of residence—much like a census record. These “residence events” are critical clues and help a genealogist find other records about individuals and families as research can be more narrowly focused to specific counties, cities, and even neighborhoods. Public records databases often contain a conglomeration of many different public records sources and can be combined to reveal individuals who lived at a common address at the same time—giving clues to possible family relationships. Additionally, public records frequently contain telephone numbers and even birth dates. These records can be extremely helpful in placing individuals and families in time and locality and lead directly to the discovery of other sources such as cemetery, church, school, and vital records. Genealogists often use public records databases to identify and contact distant cousins for DNA research and kinship determination projects.
What Can This Collection Tell Me?
The content varies by record. You may find any of the following:
- Name variations
- Address or residence
- Birth date
- Phone numbers
How Do I Search This Collection?
To search the collection it is helpful to know:
- The name of your ancestor.
- The approximate date of birth or age.
- The residence of your ancestor.
Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your relatives to determine if this is related to you. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own relative’s name.
- Your relative may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
What Do I Do Next?
When you have located your relative’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details about your family. The information may also lead you to other records about your family.
I Found Who I Was Looking For, What Now?
- Use the information to search for other collections in FamilySearch.org.
- Use the information to collaborate with family members to do genealogical research.
I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For, What Now?
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
- Look for another index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
- Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.
Citing This Collection
Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.
- Collection Citation
- "United States Public Records, 1970-2009." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing MyRelatives.com, a third party aggregator of publicly available information.
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.