There are many types of compiled records, but for the purposes of simplicity, it's useful to break them into online and printed works.
Traditionally, when genealogists spoke of compiled records, they were referring to published genealogies, local histories, historical and
regional periodicals, "such as those found in historical and genealogical societies", and state, local and university libraries and archives.
Well-known examples of these include the Library of Congress,
the National Genealogical Society, the
New England Historic Genealogical Society
, and the Daughters of the
American Revolution Society (DAR).
Of particular note is the LDS Family History Library,
which is recognized as the premier genealogy library in the world. Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, it is open to the public. The massive main
library operates branch Family History Centers in hundreds of communities around the world. For
decades,, the LDS Church has been microfilming millions of records from around the globe and collecting books of published genealogies and
biographies. The public has access to computerized records and can order microfilm to be sent to a branch center from the main Family
History Library, in Salt Lake City. Visit Familyseargh.org to locate
the center closest to you.
In recent years, the advent of the Internet and other technologies (please see the episode on
computer resources for more on this) has served to broaden the understanding of "compiled records," as there are more "traditional"
resources than ever, as well as an exploding variety of other compilations. An area of particular interest, for instance, has been the
transcription of previously unindexed port or immigration records, in some cases with emphasis on a selected ethnic group. But this is just
one of literally thousands of topics that have been captured in database form over the last decade.
While all of these new compiled records are a boon to the genealogists, caution
must be taken against the danger of "GIGO" or "garbage in, garbage out." This means that that anyone can put any information they care to
out on the Internet (and even in printed, if not formally published form), but this information is only as reliable as the research behind it.
Even some of the more established resources can contain errors, especially those comprised of data contributed by individual genealogists,
as no one entity has the resources to check the accuracy of all the externally contributed information.
Because they are so plentiful, it would be difficult to summarize all of the different types of compiled records available today, but the
following tables will provide a sample of some of the more common or popular ones. Beginning with printed, compiled records, we'll examine
the more traditional, published family genealogy or local history: