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?

5 Answers 5


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.)

  • 1
    Are there any websites that said volunteers or professional genealogists might be found at? Oct 15, 2012 at 16:29
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    The Association of Professional Genealogists's website has an online searchable roster. apgen.org/directory/index.html 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
    Oct 15, 2012 at 16:32

I've successfully found researchers via http://genlighten.com 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.


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.


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


  • In all my searching, I haven't found that one! Thanks! Oct 18, 2012 at 23:03

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


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