Trial and Error at the Courthouse

Do you have an ancestor who was on the wrong side of the law? If so, you may find some colorful information at the courthouse in the civil and criminal court records. Even if you don't have an ancestor with a law-breaking past, you can find valuable genealogical records at your local courthouse. Typical records you can find there include land deeds, birth and death certificates, divorce decrees, wills and probate records, tax records, and some military records (provided the ancestors who were veterans deposited their records locally). We discuss many of these types of records in more detail in Chapter 5.

It's a good idea to check online or call ahead to the courthouse to find out whether the record you're looking for is actually at that facility. Sometimes records are kept at storage facilities off-site; it might be a waste of time to hit the road and go to the courthouse. Also, the more information you can provide to the clerk or customer service representative, the easier it will be for him or her to retrieve the record. Useful information includes full name of the ancestor, approximate date of the record, and any record identification number that you might find in an index to the record set.

Canada: Canadian Genealogy Centre — Land

England: Land Conveyances: Enrolment of Deeds, and Registration of Title eafletID=148

Ireland: Land Records index.htm



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