Home » Home and Family » Genealogy

How Important Is Vital Records In Your Genealogy Searches?

Aug 18, 2007
Vital records provide many details for those seeking to complete a family tree. A vital record provides birth, marriage, and death record information, allowing individuals to fill in missing areas of a family tree with a more complete portrait of the life of an past family member with accurate dates and locations.

Therefore, it is important to understand how to access and use vital records. A major advantage of official vital records is that they are both complete and accurate. The information contained within has been verified instead of being based on estimates or guesswork.

Depending on the country, city and time period of the event, they are kept by a variety of sources. Some European countries began keeping them at the national level during the nineteenth century.

In the United States and Canada, record keeping is left to the individual state and/or city. New Orleans has the oldest required vital records in the U.S., dating back to 1790, while South Carolina did not require their registration until 1915.

Prior to official registration requirements, they were generally kept by churches. Those early records may vary widely in the information that they contain, but can be a valuable resource when official records are unavailable.

It is important to understand prior to beginning your genealogical research that vital records will not be available for all locations and all periods. Prior to official registration requirements, the registration rate was only 55% or so at best.

Even now, registration only occurs 90% to 95% of the time. Additionally, before the days of computerization, records were handwritten and kept in fairly secure locations. Nonetheless, one act of God such as a fire or flood could destroy the records of an entire town.

Depending on the time and location of the creation of vital records you need, you may find more or less information than you expected. At the very least, you should expect a birth record to have the name, date of birth, and names of parents indicated, and a death record will mention the date and location of the deceased's passing.

Marriage records contain the full names of the individuals in the union, as well as the location of the event, and a divorce record will list the individuals involved, the date of marriage and the date of divorce.

Many vital records provide a wealth of knowledge beyond these basics. It may be possible to ascertain names of parents or descendants, previous addresses, information about previous marriages, siblings and many other details from them.

Since they vary so widely, it is smart to request every record that you can for each ancestor you wish to research. There is some overlap between records as well, meaning that if you cannot get one particular type of record you may be able to fill in the blanks from a different record.

Vital records are an important part of any genealogical research. Remember that you will not be able to obtain every record for every person in your family, but request as many as you can.

These records can provide a host of information about your ancestor and his or her immediate family.
About the Author
Discover more about the importance of vital records in your genealogy from Mike Selvon portal where a free gift awaits you. We appreciate your feedback at our Genealogy blog.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 377
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources