By Jere Harris
There are many research sources available at the Genealogy and Local History Dept. at Muskogee Public Library. This is a short overview of just a few of them.
“The Source — A Guidebook of American Genealogy” by Loretto D. Szucs identifies and describes original research material that is available. It is arranged in chapters by type of record, for instance, church records. It explains what types of church records are available, such as confirmation, baptism, marriage and death. There is also a listing of addresses and contact information for many religious groups.
The chapter on land and tax records explains what the term “deed” means and what state-land states are. There are many tables and drawings about plat maps and about the federal township and range system. Each state is then listed with an explanation about their land records. This volume includes chapters on immigration, types of directories and newspapers.
“Ancestry’s Red Book American State, County & Town Sources” can be very helpful to the researcher. Listed alphabetically by state, this book gives history, how and where vital records have been and are currently kept. It gives addresses for state archives, university and public libraries. State maps showing counties and county seats, charts showing the date a county was formed, the parent county, the years available for birth, marriage and death records as well as land, probate and court records are included also.
“The Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Census, 1790-1920,” by Thorndale and Dollarhide, shows the way state and county lines changed through each 10 year period of the census.
One can look up by state each year of the census to compare the state and county land boundaries with the modern boundaries. Sometimes you find that the family didn’t move to a different county, the county line moved!
“Township Atlas of the United States” by Jay Andriot provides maps of and indexes to county subdivisions of the 48 contiguous United States. Arranged by state, this volume gives state history, state map with counties and county seats marked, lists of counties with their precinct or township names listed. County maps are also shown with precinct and township areas marked. Many rural communities went by a township name and this resource can help track down that area.
A couple of Oklahoma resources that are worth mentioning are the “Historical Atlas of Oklahoma” by Charles R. Goins and Danney Goble and “Oklahoma Place Names” by George Shirk.
The “Historical Atlas of Oklahoma” gives Oklahoma’s geography and history in great detail. The illustrations are beautiful in this volume and bring to life our state’s exciting and intriguing history. It covers everything from the physical qualities to public practices. From tornadoes to musicians, this book has everything you need to know about Oklahoma.
Our copy of “Oklahoma Place Names” by George H. Shirk is well-worn from use by our patrons. You can look up the name of a place and it will tell what county it is in, when the post office was established, who it was named for or how the name came about. This book lists places that are no longer on the map, so it is very helpful to the genealogist.
These are just a few of the many items we have available for research at the Genealogy & Local History Department at Muskogee Public Library.
Jere Harris is a library assistant in the Genealogy & Local History Department at the Muskogee Public Library.