How to do research using local resources remotely?



My great great great grandfather spent some of his life in Houghton, Houghton, Michigan, United States, and I would like to find more records for that area regarding his family. The problem is that I live in Utah and cannot make a trip myself.

I can call the local library, but would they be willing to send me the information I need? What is the best way to get research done from such a far distance?


Posted 2012-10-15T16:09:11.133

Reputation: 375



Not all libraries have the same staff support or policies. Sometimes, the library staffing and policies are reported on their website.

Many of the public libraries I contact are able to provide information for postage or a small fee. In several towns, a genealogical society mans the genealogy section only on some days--once a week, or twice a month.

There are other alternatives to long distance research, too, ranging from look up volunteers to professional genealogists.

P.S. If you are inquiring about a book or generally published material, check WorldCat to learn if a library near you carries the work. If it doesn't, inquire whether the book is available by inter-library loan. (I believe that sometimes WorldCat reports whether or not inter-library loan is offered on the item.)


Posted 2012-10-15T16:09:11.133

Reputation: 8 477

1Are there any websites that said volunteers or professional genealogists might be found at? – david.tanner – 2012-10-15T16:29:15.960


The Association of Professional Genealogists's website has an online searchable roster. The local genealogical society (or library) may have names of those to whom they refer you. You might check the US GenWeb site, too.

– GeneJ – 2012-10-15T16:32:27.303


I've successfully found researchers via to do research in local repositories for me. And although I've never used it, I've heard Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness was a good site. It appears to still be down (source: RAOGK wiki), but you could try their Facebook group if you are on FB.


Posted 2012-10-15T16:09:11.133

Reputation: 389

I just wish I could mark two answers as accepted. – david.tanner – 2012-10-15T20:28:43.777

@david.tanner Compliment appreciated! This discussion on a related issue may be of interest...

– TAH – 2012-10-16T00:26:23.743


Searching the web for genealogical or historical societies in either the town or the county is helpful. I've found that local societies frequently have data that will never appear in a library and since they are usually volunteer organizations, are understanding of your needs. I belong to several societies in areas I will probably never visit, but their staff and newsletters keep me informed when they have created indices of B/M/D. It usually costs less than $30 to join.

Lynda Cook

Posted 2012-10-15T16:09:11.133

Reputation: 41


Don't forget to check state-level resources, which may include digitized local materials. Start by exploring the resources linked from

B. R. Miller

Posted 2012-10-15T16:09:11.133

Reputation: 116

In all my searching, I haven't found that one! Thanks! – david.tanner – 2012-10-18T23:03:36.870


If the records have been digitised you could visit your local Church of Latter day Saints research centre and order the microfilms.


Posted 2012-10-15T16:09:11.133

Reputation: 3 480

It probably does appear that the question and answers were narrowly focused. That is probably because of the question and dialog about a related, earlier question.

– GeneJ – 2012-10-16T23:22:25.597