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Family History Learning Community

Military Records

Did your ancestor register for military service?  Was he drafted?  Did he or she serve?  Receive a pension or land grant?  The mlitary records section of is a great place to check for materials.  In addition to birth dates, next of kin, service records, and the regular material you might expect, sometimes you will find physical descriptions (WWI records), marital status (Civil War Draft Registrations), casualty records, bounty land records, and pension records for people who served or their remaining spouses.

Church Records

Historically in many countries, better records were kept by churches than civil governments.  Baptisms, marriages, and funerals were carefully documented and included names of relatives.  In the United States and England, records for the Church of the Latter Day Saints and Society of Friends (Quakers) are very complete and are available.  Many other groups are beginning to digitize and release records as well.  Continue to watch for these to be added (through the Card Catalog dropdown or through announcements from Ancestry).

Farmers, Farms, Livestock and Crops

Our humble farm ancestors were documented by the US government from 1850-1880.  Types of information recorded include "total acreage of land, the value of the farm, machinery and livestock, amount of staples (wool, cotton, grain, etc.) produced, and the value of animals slaughtered, etc. In 1880 farm operators were classified as owner, tenant, or sharecropper."  [ non-population schedules description]

Land Records


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the General Land Office (GLO) provide access to Federal land conveyance records for the Public Land States, including image access to more than five million Federal land title records issued between 1820 and the present.  Most of these were from the Homestead Act and thus in the western portion of the United States.