Introduction to Red Book: County Resources
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This entry was originally written by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Finally, each state’s chapter outlines, in chart form, the county (or town or parish) resources that can be found either on microfilm or in the local holding agencies. Addresses are given for those agencies, with the date that the county or town was formed, parent counties, other names, and (where possible or available) the first year that primary sources remain extant in that location. Beginning dates for vital records, land, probate, and court records held in the counties, towns, or parishes are included. Inquiries to these counties should be addressed to the county courthouse or town clerk’s office at that address. The column labeled “Map” gives coordinates that correspond to the state map giving the location of the county or town within that state. Accompanying each state’s chart is a map detailing the political divisions and some geographic features.
Information for each state’s county resources section was gathered in a number of ways. State archives, county officials, the FHL, and local repository catalogs were all used. Not all sources agree, and numerous discrepancies were found. An annotated edition would have produced a volume three times this size. The listing of beginning dates for primary sources is a guide only and not to be considered a definitive statement of every extant record in every location. A question mark (?) indicates that records exist, but the starting date is uncertain. Dashes (—) indicate that there are no known records in that category. Many states are thoroughly organized with centralized records. However, many states are not. Several have not had many of their records microfilmed, and others are in progress. What is given in the county chart here is the best information that could be gathered.
Sources for county formation used in this section, in addition to the personal knowledge of the contributors and sources listed under each state, included:
- Thorndale, William, and William Dollarhide. Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790–1920. rev. ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000.
- Long, John H., ed. Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788–1980. 5 vols. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1984.
- National Association of Counties, 440 First Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001.