Bay County Landscape

Getting Started in Bay County
Genealogical Research

What to do if you find information about your ancestor on this site

Most of the information you find on this site is derived from original documents. All derivative information is subject to a variety of errors, including omission, and should be used only as a finding aid. Researchers should always seek out, examine, and copy the original document pointed to by the index. This site holds few original records, but it includes information about where to obtain copies of original records. In many cases, especially for older records, the easiest and least expensive way to examine originals is through your local Family History Center (FHC), which is your portal to the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City.

The Family History Library holds the world's largest collection of genealogical materials. If you see “FHL” listed as the repository, follow the links to the record type of interest. Click on “View Film Notes” at the top right corner. When you find the microfilm containing the record you want, be sure to write down the seven-digit microfilm number and the item number listed under “Location/ Film.” That is the number you will need to order your microfilm.

How to order microfilm. After you determine the location of your nearest Family History Center, call to check on hours of operation and get driving directions. FHC volunteers will be glad to help you order microfilms from the FHL and show you how to use their viewing and copying equipment. There is no charge for this service except handling and mailing expenses and modest copying fees.

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About the site administrator

This site is administered by the Bay County Genealogical Society. Among the Society's objectives are (1) To locate, preserve, and index public and private genealogical records of the area and make them available to the general public. (2) To publish genealogical news and historical information. The
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About this site. This site is designed as a convenient research tool for family researchers seeking ancestors or cousins in Bay County, Florida. It is organized in a logical fashion so that you can quickly locate the specific records you need. Each database link displays the years covered by the collection and the name of the compiler. Collections are believed to be complete within the years specified unless noted otherwise. Most of the information provided on this site is either online electronically or available worldwide via FHL microfilms.

New to genealogy? If you are just starting your family search, you may need some general guidance. If you live in northwest Florida, a variety of educational opportunities is available through the Bay County Genealogical Society, which produces monthly programs with a variety of speakers and an annual seminar with nationally-recognized speakers. Their monthly meeting provide opportunities to meet and converse with many local researchers. The Gulf Coast Community College Education Encore sponsors a comprehensive introduction to genealogy course at least once per year. Several online learning opportunities are also available, including the National Genealogical Society Online Learning Center.


Don't live here? If you don't live in the Bay County area, you may want to consider joining your own local genealogical society. That will provide you with plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with some experienced genealogists. Most societies offer a variety of educational opportunities in their community. What you will discover is that most seasoned genealogists love their hobby and actually enjoy sharing their knowledge with others. That can save you a lot of time, money, and effort.

Getting Help. Bay County offers several options for personal assistance. Start at the Bay County Genealogical Society. If you feel you need professional assistance, you can find one at any of this sites:

Queries and discussuion topics can be posted and checked here: You can post a message to the List Server above via e-mail at You can also subscribe to the list to receive e-mails by sending an e-mail with "SUBSCRIBE" in the body to for digest mode or for mail mode. To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to the list you originally subscribed to with "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the body.

Lookups. Several Bay County residents have volunteered to do brief lookups in the Panama City area. Check our Volunteers page for more information.

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