Here’s where to find the millions of records that are offline and not available on Ancestry, Family Search, or any other digital clearinghouse. You literally have to go old school and try your hand at some next-level researching, that is to say, find out where the original repositories of genealogical information are and then get to digging.
For those that have the time, patience, and wherewithal, his type of research can be intensely rewarding. Luckily there is a service out there that will help you locate where to go! It’s called ArchiveGrid.
This archival service houses over 5 million records across 1,000 different institutions. It is touted as the place to go to find primary research materials.
It’s in its beta phase but it is powered by World Cat, which if you know is one of the largest online digital repositories of information available. They are basically the World Catalogue of books and records out there, or at least they are endeavoring to be. Unlike Ancestry and other similar sites, World Cat does not charge and will provide physical references for any item that they list in their catalogue. This is where ArchiveGrid comes into play.
ArchiveGrid is basically the MapQuest of archival research.
You can search by state or other parameters. There are some limitations that I’ve noticed, however. The locator is not exhaustive, that is to say that if you plug in your home state I’ll bet you’ll notice a few locations that are not mentioned. I did for my home state and found good refs but not all refs. You can also search other countries.
When I was doing research in Texas last year I could have seen this coming in handy if I was looking for places to dig for genealogical records on the fly. Although I pre-plan all my research trips like a 5 star OCD champ, this might have been useful in detecting a location I had not thought of. You can enter any zip code in the field and it should instantly find archival locations around you, pretty nifty!