18 February 2009

Vital Records

Vital records are a key source when researching in the U.S. These are records created by the government and include Birth, Marriage and Death records. In the U.S. generally these records were kept on a state level beginning about 1900. Vital records kept before that time will be found on the county level and in some few cases on the City level. The vital records most commonly found recorded before 1900 are marriage records. Marriage records were typically kept side by side with the land records from the beginning of a county's creation.

There are at least 2 ways to find vital records. The first is to search the Family History Library Catalog. Do a "Place" search for the state and county where the event took place. This search will bring up a long list of available record types, find Vital Records and click on the blue link. This will bring up all the vital records that the Family History Library has for your location. You may be lucky and find that they have the film you need.

Another means of locating a vital record is to request one from the state or county where the record resides. A courthouse address can easily be found in The Handybook for Genealogists, Ancestry's Red Book or online.

The foreign equivalent of Vital Records is Civil Registration.

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