In genealogy, we are focused on tracing our family back several generations. However, there is also value in tracing our family forward. All families have branches that they have lost touch with over the years. Connecting with cousins can be a crucial step in learning more about your ancestors. Afterall, successful research is more than just tracing our direct line ancestors, it is also tracing our collateral relatives.
So with that in mind, I decided to pick up a book new to my local library, The Public Record Research Tips Book: Insider Information for Effective Public Record Research by Michael Sankey. (This book was published in 2008.)
Now this blog posting isn't meant as a review, since I just picked this book up this afternoon. But so far, as I browse the book I know it will provide some useful informaiton. There is quite a bit on genealogy with website recommendations and information about vital records. But I am interested in those things not traditionally considered genealogy and this book looks like it will deliver. Chapter headings are as follows:
Chapter 1: The Fundamentals of Public Record Searching
Chapter 2: Searching Criminal Records
Chapter 3: Searching State and Local Court Records
Chapter 4: Searching Federal Court Records
Chapter 5: Searching Liens and Recorded Documents
Chapter 6: Searching Business Entity Records
Chapter 7: Searching Motor Vehicle Records
Chapter 8: Working with Public Record Vendors
Chapter 9: Searching A thru Z (lots of great tips here for everything from aviation records to passport records to trade associations).
Now, I have read quite a few books similar to this one. So far my favorite is written by genealogist Kathleen W. Hinckley. I have to say her book, Locating Lost Family Members & Friends: Modern Genealogical Research Techniques for Locating the People of Your Past and Present (Betterway Books, 1999) is a must read. Unfortunately, it is out of print but you should be able to get it through a library or used bookstore.
I highly recommend reading some books about finding lost relatives. The techniques will not only help you find your present-day relations but give you tools to help your research into the past.