Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: What Genealogists Want

As I write, I am also preparing a talk about “Accessing Land Records Online” that I will give at the Ohio Genealogy Society Conference. I was thinking about what features a good land website would have. Then I realized that they were the same basic features I wanted from any site – ancestry.com or familysearch.org. My list includes:

                -search by name
                -see original document on the screen

                -print or save the original document, free
There are over 3000 land records offices in the U.S. with little coordination between them, but in this day and age, almost all have a web presence. You will find offices with a bare minimum of data online, that is, only their contact information, address, phone and email. Some reach my criteria for a perfect site. The vast majority of the web sites are between the minimum and the ideal.

Fees for copies are common when you visit an office in person.  Losing this revenue when the world went digital was a fiscal issue in many land offices. If a recorder needs or wants to charge and then puts its images online, many genealogists are clever enough to take screen shots to bypass payment so the records offices may not post the images either.
Charges range from $.50 to about $2.00 per page. The copies are cheap when compared to prices for vital records, so that is the silver lining.

The websites are very exciting so go to the one where your ancestors lived and see what is available.

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