Anyone doing American genealogy research should take the time to review the Red Book. The guide is alphabetical by state and is laid out consistently for each state, making it easy to use.
When starting a research project for a new state, I always start with the Red Book. I love the map of the counties and pinpoint where my ancestors were when. It provides dates you can expect to find specific records and where you can expect to find them (or not). There are also many references to important publications which can assist you in your quest.
As stated on the first page: “Designed to help you recover the multigenerational facts of your ancestry, this book is an expansive guide to the most useful resources in each of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia….”1
Under each state you will find a short history about the state and information on where to find:
- Vital Records
- Federal and State Census Records
- Background Sources
- Land Records
- Probate Records
- Court Records
- Tax Records
- Cemetery Records
- Church Records
- Military Records
- Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
- Archives, Libraries, and Societies
- Special Focus Categories such as
- African American
- Native American
- County Resources
- A list of counties, dates established and parent counties
- A Map of the state with county boundaries
In my opinion, this book would be at the top for adding to a genealogists library. However, it is available free at Ancestry.com through their Ancestry Wiki for those on a budget or prefer working with an online copy.
Note: I have included some of my referral links in this post. If you click through them and make a purchase. I will make a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you. I really appreciate your support in this way.
1 3rd Edition Red Book, American State, County, and Town Sources, edited by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., C.G., ancestrypublishing, 1989, 1992, 2004, page 1.