The vertical files found in archives and local libraries can be a source of genealogical information not found anywhere else. These are not “official” records generated by a government body, but these files hold a variety treasures for the genealogist.
Eight Things That Can Be Found In Vertical Files
- Church Histories – I found a church history for Matrimony Creek Baptist Church in Rockingham County, NC. Included were early church rolls. [Yes, the person I was looking for was on there!]
- Maps – I have found hand drawn maps of a neighborhoods. These maps showed where individuals lived in relationship to each other.
- Other Genealogist’s Notes – These can be particularly helpful. While much of the data can be found in the official records, the genealogist’s personal notes on their thoughts and theories provided many clues. These clues can prove extremely helpful in developing the next phase of a research project.
- Family Trees – I have found copies of family trees drawn and/or written out. These trees may not be sourced, but again, provide valuable clues for the researcher to use.
- Family Newsletters – Newsletters from family associations provide lots of clues to the family history. More importantly newsletters provide names of possible family contacts.
- Family Bibles – Copies of family Bible pages are invaluable.
- Newspaper clippings – Clippings about family events that provide information about a family and possible contacts for future research.
- Photographs – Photographs are not found very often, but when they are, it is a real bonus.
Next time you see those file cabinets in the corner of the library or archives, don’t just pass them by. Take time and see what interesting information you can find.