Lesson 6

Gathering Information from Public Records

“Lesson 6: Gathering Information from Public Records,” Instructor’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work (2008), 17–19


Objectives

When class members complete this lesson, they should be able to:

Preparation

In preparation for this lesson:

  • Prayerfully study pages 24–28 of the Member’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work.

  • Review the following segments of the Temple and Family History Course DVD. (If you are not able to show the segments, you can cover some of the same information by presenting the discussion activity that follows the showing of the segments.)

    • “Introduction to Public Records” (5:22 minutes)

    • “Gathering Information from Public Records” (5:55 minutes)

  • Reserve a DVD player from the meetinghouse library for the class session.

Review Assignments

Begin the class by briefly reviewing the assignments from the previous lesson. Ask class members:

  • How many of you were able to contact a family member and request family information?

  • How many of you were able to find new information that could be added to your family pedigree and family group records?

  • What questions do you have?

Encourage class members to record any new information they found about their ancestors, and offer to help them as needed.

Key Points

1. Public Records to Search

Explain to class members that after they have gathered information from home and from family members, they may need to search for additional information in public records. Such records include birth, marriage, and death records; census records; and other types of records kept by governments or churches.

DVD iconDVD Presentation

Before showing this DVD segment, ask class members to look for types of public records that contain valuable family history information.

Show “Introduction to Public Records” (5:22 minutes).

Discuss

Ask class members to identify types of public records as presented in the DVD segment and as listed in the Member’s Guide on pages 24–25. Discuss the kinds of information often found in public records.

2. Gathering Information from Public Records

DVD iconDVD Presentation

Before showing this DVD segment, ask class members to look for the process used to gather information from public records.

Show “Gathering Information from Public Records” (5:55 minutes).

Discuss

Discuss the method for gathering information from public records as presented in the DVD segment. Then do the following:

  • Ask class members to locate the Record Selection Table in appendix C of the Member’s Guide.

  • Explain how the table works. Review with class members some of the information in the table so that they understand how to use it. Point out that the first column shows types of information about an ancestor and important events in an ancestor’s life. The second and third columns show organizations that may have records related to those types of information or events. Explain to the class that vital records are birth, marriage, and death records.

  • Answer any questions that class members may have.

Apply

Ask class members to identify organizations in their area that keep public records. Then discuss the following ways to obtain a copy of a public record:

  • Write to the person who keeps the records.

  • Visit the place where the records are stored.

  • Telephone the caretaker of the records and ask for copies of the records you want.

  • Check to see if the organization has a Web site where records are indexed or available.

  • Check to see if another organization, such as the Family History Library, has a copy of the record.

  • Hire someone to search the records for you.

3. Keeping Notes on What You Find

Explain to class members that they can avoid duplicating their efforts by keeping a record of the research they do and the information they find.

Have class members turn to the sample research log in appendix A of the Member’s Guide. Use the information on page 27 of the Member’s Guide to review how to use the research log.

Show class members how to add information to a research log, and answer any questions they may have.