Basic Sources: Let’s face the facts. Right up front to begin with. The words, “the courthouse burned,” or “the family Bible was lost coming West,” or “the church house was torn down when the Mall was built,” can strike terror to a budding genealogist’s heart. Don’t worry. Genealogists, and those who support their efforts, have been at work for generations--reconstructing official records from originals in private hands. Collecting substitutes.