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Photo Detective: Cutting-Edge Research
10/1/2000
Don't miss the potential photo finds in records such as those of state licensing boards.

Most genealogists regularly use government records in their family quest. What seems to be a mission impossible can quickly turn into a mission accomplished through searches of federal records such as census and military records and county records, including those of marriages, taxes, deeds and the county court system. While many genealogists also look to state governments for vital statistics such as birth and death dates, few ever search deeper. This is unfortunate because more and more government records have made their way into state repositories since the advent of records and information management.

State government records range from governors' papers to state land records to records collected by licensing boards. For example, the Records of the Arkansas State Board of Barber Examiners, Deceased Barber Files, 1937-1987 might not raise your heartbeat on first glance. But it's an amazing collection that traces an entire profession throughout the state. While most of us regularly visit our barber or hair stylist, how many would think to search such records for family history information?

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