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The Top 10 Things to Know About Public Domain Genealogy Records

When doing a genealogy search, there are some things that it is better to learn ahead of time.  Read these top ten tips to help you navigate the world of genealogy records.

  1. The public domain offers free genealogy records to help you with your information finding.

  2. Be sure to use all of your resources when searching for genealogy records, including the National Archives and the Mormon Church genealogy records.

  3. Be wary of copyrighted material – it can provide good information, but is not always usable.

  4. It is not possible to copyright facts, such as a person’s name, date of birth, or date of death.

  5. If a genealogy record is in the public domain, then it is free to use for whatever purpose you would like.

  6. Genealogy records come in many types of forms, including family history books, old newspapers, birth announcements, official records and census documentation, and much more.

  7. Many services online will try to charge you to access public domain genealogy records which are available free of charge if you simply do the research yourself.

  8. The only way to avoid putting a fact into the public domain is to not publish it (in any form).  Facts cannot be copyrighted.

  9. The government cannot copyright any of its material, so items such as census reports, marriage certificates, and other government documentation is in the public domain and available to use in your genealogy search.

  10. Sometimes there will be a small fee to access public domain genealogy records from the local government (this covers their administrative costs of locating the record).