Resources in USA, CANADA
Record type and where to search.*
|Record type||Where to find it|
|Birth||Depends on location; usually kept at state/province level since early 1900s (before that, the counties may have records).|
|Birth and Baptism||Recorded by churches. Check with the church; also, some records may be on microfilm at historical organizations and available online.|
|Census-National|| US, census were every ten years from 1790 to 1940.
Canada took a census from 1851 to 1921.
Most are available on Ancestry and FamilySearch, and also available at archives depending on location.
|Census-State||Some US states including MN conducted a State Census every 10 years, one of most interest to Romanian researchers is the last one taken in 1905. IF your ancestors were in MN that early. Check to see whether State Censuses exist where your ancestors lived.|
(Bible, letters, papers,
|Check with all family members. Consider descendants of the siblings of your grandparents and great-grandparents.|
|Fold3 ($) has some City Directories.
Ancestry($) also has some.
For lists of repositories that hold city directories for all of USA, see U.S. City Directories.
For Canadian directories, refer to the Library and Archives Canada website.
|Passenger Lists|| These are federal records so the National Archives is the designed repository.
Ancestry, FamilySearch and other online websites like Ellis Island are places to start. The Family History Library has extensive microfilm collections. The FamilySearch Wiki has a page of links to online immigration records.
|Alien Registration||An “alien” was a person who had not obtained US citizenship. In MN, the Minnesota Historical Society and Iron Range Research Center hold complete collections of 1918 registrations on microfilm. A few other states have 1918 records that survive. There was also a national alien registration in the 1940s; those records are at the US National Archives.|
|WWI Draft Registration||Ancestry has a good collection of these records online. Fold3 has some also.|
|WWII Draft Registration||Original record keeper is National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO. Ancestry has a collection of these records online, as does Fold3. Note: Men born in the years 1877-1900 may have registered twice and have both WWII and WWI draft records.|
|Military||Military service records typically are kept at the National Archives (US & Canada). Check Fold3 also.||Marriage / Divorce||Churches; civil records (marriage licenses and returns) kept by county government. Check indexes at FamilySearch.||Citizenship / Naturalization||Immigrants in U.S. could naturalize in ANY court (city, county, state, federal.) At federal level, original record keepers are National Archives collections (Canada) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (US). Fold3, Ancestry and FamilySearch have some.||Property||Land records are typically kept at the county or state level. Land grant records (original landholders) are at Bureau of Land Management in US (usually doesn’t apply to Romanians, who came late) Canada, Library and Archives Canada .|
|Passports||In U.S. were required for travel during WWI and WWII eras. Originals are in National Archives collections (US & Canada). FamilySearch and Ancestry ($) have some in their collections (1795-1925).||Death||Usually held at the local (county) level until state or province took over. Each state/locality may be different.|
|Funeral & death||Churches maintained records of funerals and burials. Check with the church, or see if church records have been deposited with an archive.|
|Obituary||Newspaper (and more recently online) death notices are full of details about family members, living and previously deceased. They will usually tell you the person’s age, possibly their birth place, and where they are buried. State and local historical societies usually have newspapers on microfilm. Genealogybank ($), Newspapers.com ($) and Library of Congress have some newspapers too.||Tombstone||Besides looking at the physical tombstone, contact the cemetery sexton to see if additional records exist. Sometimes burials were made without a grave marker if one could not be afforded. Findagrave and Billiongraves ($) are websites that may also have information.|
|Funeral home records||Funeral homes are an often-overlooked source of information. They obtained information for the death certificate and handled burial arrangements with the cemetery.|
*Using a Research Checklist can be helpful for tracking what records you have found or still need to locate. A variety of checklists can be found online, for example, Midwest Genealogy Center Checklist.