Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
A local area survey is a systematic evaluation of local sources relevant to your geographic area of interest. Typically, such sources include county and other local area histories, biographies, local genealogical and historical societies, libraries, and local area newspapers. The best place to begin the local area survey is with a history of the county or counties in which the ancestor lived and, where available, the town(s).
The key function of a local area survey is to provide the background and historical context of the time in which your ancestors lived, including Information relative to industry and economy, migration patterns, community growth, churches and other organizations. Biographical sketches are also useful; even if they are not about your ancestor, the subject may be a relative or in some way be associated with the ancestral family. The local area survey can give direction to research and add a new perspective to known facts.