Genealogy at a Glance: Old Southwest Genealogy Research

SW At a GlanceLike so many children, for generation past, I grew up playing variations of good guys and bad guys. Sometimes it was cops and robbers, other time the Republic vs. the evil Empire (Star Wars reference), and then there was cowboys and Indians (before the days of political correctness). The setting for many of these games (except Star Wars of course) was the “Old West,” or the “Wild West.” If someone were to said the “Old Southwest,” I would have thought it to be the same. But, as it turns out, the proper historical reference for the “Old Southwest” is really further east than the “Wild West.”

The “Old Southwest” generally refers to colonial period American territories ruled, at different times, by the Spanish, French, and British governments. More specifically, this area included the territory east (yes, east) of the Mississippi river, through modern Alabama, parts of Louisiana and Florida, and up to the Flint River in Georgia. Numerous Indian tribes lived throughout the area and it was attractive to many European settlers. These “pre-statehood settlers generated a vast amount of records.” Specifically, there were many records of the type found interesting to many genealogists. Genealogy at a Glance: Old Southwest Genealogy Research, was put together by Dorothy Williams Potter, to help the reader with their late 18th and early 19th century genealogical research in this geographical area.

Finding travelers and immigrants can be difficult for researchers. Fortunately, this guide examines the historical background, early migration, Indian relations, and pre-statehood records for the “Old Southwest”. Major resources are identified and explained, including document collections. Along with some “Quick Facts” and her own tips, Potter has added another excellent research guide to the growing Genealogy at a Glance collection.

Like all the Genealogy At A Glance sheets, this guide is a four-page, full-color limited brochure meant to be easily stored and sized to take with you when conducting related research. Also, like other guides, there are plenty of tips by the author and suggested readings.


Quick Facts

Settlement Background

  • Spanish Occupation
  • Indian Relations
  • Territorial Organization
  • Earliest Migratory Paths
  • Main Travel Routes

Major Genealogical Sources

  • American State Papers
  • Passport Records

Major Document Collections

For Further Reference

Major Area Libraries

Online Sources

  • State Archives and Libraries
  • National Archives
  • Non-government Websites


Find the help you need, and carry it with you, with your own copy of Genealogy at a Glance: Old Southwest Genealogy Research available at Family Roots Publishing; Price: $8.77.

Click here to see a full listing of  laminated guides available from Family Roots Publishing.

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