During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.
How do I find records in Poland with just a birth date and possible city?
You don't give the date of the birth, and that is important. Some Polish records have been microfilmed by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, including both civil vital records and baptismal records from churches. You should check the online catalog for the name of the town and see what is available for the years you are interested. You should know that for privacy reasons, the FHL was unable to microfilm records after a certain date, usually 1875. You may need to hire a genealogical researcher in Poland to do the research you need. One research firm advertises in the APG Quarterly.
What is the best way to search for family in the "old country?"
This question is difficult to answer because you do not state what country was your family's old country. The research procedures vary widely, depending on the country. It is always wise to check the Family History Library Catalog for the most specific place that you can find. "Germany" or "England" are too general. You will need to know a specific town before you can begin.
What is the most effective search to find documents in a European city that is reported to have burned, along with the records?
First, find a genealogical how-to book for the country. It will give you a brief history of the country, as well as listing archives, churches, and other facilities to locate records. You can also do a catalog search on Family Search. Besides checking their catalog, you may wish to check out their Research Wiki, which also explains what type of records are available and where they are located.