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Dixie Details
7/31/2014
Tips for Southern vital records

Digging into Dixie? Alas, sometimes forgotten records have been lost or destroyed over the years. Because of the Civil War and the South's fondness for wooden courthouses, you'll find many “burned counties” where records have gone up in smoke. (Record keeping itself also suffered during the Civil War, with manpower in short supply and much of the actual fighting taking place in the South.)

Federal census records also have gaps. Among the missing and destroyed census records are: most of 1820 Alabama; 1790, 1800, 1810 and parts of 1820 Georgia; 1790 and 1800 Kentucky; some counties in 1790, 1810 and 1820 North Carolina; 1790, 1800 and parts of 1810 and 1820 Tennessee; 1790, 1800 and parts of 1810 Virginia. The good news is that you can find state, county and even colonial censuses, as well as tax lists and other substitutes. See the state-by-state resource guides in the Toolkit on page 45 to get started with these. Also keep in mind that the bulk of the entire national 1890 census was lost to fire.

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