non-traditional sources

Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.

In genealogy, non-traditional sources refers to sources other than those most commonly referenced, traditional sources such as birth and death, land and probate, military, census, newspaper records, etc. Non-traditional source can take many forms, including high school or college yearbooks; social and fraternal memberships; clubs and associations; organizational publications; insurance claims, and employment records, to name a few. The list is endless.

Non-traditional sources of benefit to genealogical research could include any publication, record, or piece of ephemera that has information pinpointing an ancestor in time and place, indicates some interest, employment, activity; or, perhaps, reveals genealogical data -- names, dates, addresses, relationships, etc. -- that in some cases might not be found elsewhere. Non-traditional sources are often found among home and family sources, but might be overlooked by those seeking more traditional primary source documents. Non-traditional source are considered secondary sources; however, when verified with other information can prove extremely beneficial. Non-traditional sources may also be found on the Internet, tucked away on library shelves, or even in second-hand shops. Genealogy Today offers a wide variety of non-traditional sources, including the http://www.familytreeconnection.com/ database which brings together a vast collection of non-traditional sources.

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