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In genealogy work, home is a valuable source for family information

Every research project begins at home.
Every research project begins at home.

Every research project begins at home. Whether you are looking for information for the first time or searching through your personal research folders, your home is a valuable source of family information.

Take time to look for records you might already have. Use the following list as a guide to sources of information that you might find in your home or in the home of a relative.

Birth: Birth certificate, adoption record, baby book

Citizenship: Alien registration, deportment papers, naturalization papers

Civil and legal activity: Bonds, contracts, guardian papers, summons or subpoena

Death: Death certificate, funeral book, memorial cards, obituary, will

Divorce: Paperwork

Employment: Apprenticeship records, disability records, income tax records, pension records, retirement records, Social Security card, union records

Everyday life: Biography, journal or diary, letters, newspaper clippings, photographs, publications, scrapbooks

Family: Bibles, bulletins or newsletters, coats of arms, histories, lineages or genealogies

Health: Hospital or medical records, immunization records, insurance papers

Household items: Dishes or silverware, engraved items, quilts, tapestries or needlework

Land and property ownership: Abstracts of title, deeds, estate records, land grants, mortgages or leases, water rights

Licenses: Business or occupation, driver or motor vehicles, firearms, hunting or fishing, passports or visas, professional

Marriage: Anniversary, wedding announcement, wedding book

Military service: Disability records, discharge records, National Guard records, pension records, selective service records, service medals or ribbons, sword or firearms, uniform

Religious activity: Baptismal or christening record, blessing, ministerial record, ordination, confirmation record, church records

School: Awards, graduation diplomas, honor roll, report cards, transcripts, yearbooks

Barry J. Ewell is author of "Family Treasures: 15 Lessons, Tips, and Tricks for Discovering your Family History" and founder of, an online educational website for genealogy and family history.