Posts Tagged ‘vital records’

Birth Certificates and 27 Other Places to Look for Birth Data

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

When you explore your genealogy, one of the first things you need to know about a person is the birth date. The birthplace helps too, of course. There are many places to find this information, and most of them have additional useful data. We’ll look at some of the possibilities here.

birth records

A birth certificate, a birth register, and a birth announcement

BIRTH CERTIFICATES

In the modern world the official birth record is the birth certificate or “certificate of live birth.” As such, it is a “primary source,” usually created near the time of the birth, by someone who was present. It may come in a different forms, such as a short form for public information and a long form with more details. Its availability and the information it contains vary widely from place to place and in different times, but it’s common to find much more than the name, date, and place. Here’s a partial list of what else you might see:

  • the baby’s gender
  • parents’ names, including the mother’s maiden name
  • parents’ ages or birth dates (or approximate years of birth)
  • parents’ birthplaces
  • parents’ address (which can lead you to census records)
  • information about the baby’s siblings
  • parents’ occupations
  • grandparents’ names
  • the baby’s race
  • the family’s religious affiliation

In some cases, birth certificates may be corrected or amended years later to show legal name changes or even, in some jurisdictions, gender changes. Sooner or later, you’ll also encounter “delayed registrations,” which are birth certificates created long after the birth and on the basis of other evidence.
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Looking at Marriage Records

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
Marriage

Wedding Picture

February is the month of love – Valentine’s Day – so we are taking a look at marriage records – using Catholic records as an example to show the significant role of these documents in genealogy research.

The Catholic Church mandated that marriage records be kept after the 1563 Council of Trent, which decreed that each parish should keep records on baptism, marriage and death for their parishioners.  These records can contain valuable genealogical data linking together many generations. Each marriage record lists the names of the couple, their places of residence, along with each of their parents and their places of residence. It is possible to jump from one generation to the next using marriage records on their own, as they all tie together. Of course, the problem is whether you can find those records – a topic for another post – but when they are available over many decades, they are perfect for providing essential information which can lead to other parish and diocesan records for more investigative work.

According to the FamilySearch Wiki, you can expect to find in a marriage record:
• Marriage date and place
• Full names of the bride and groom
• Marital status of the bride and groom – single, divorced or widowed.
• Residence of bride and groom
• Ages of bride and groom
• Parents’ names, residence and/or birthplace
• Sometimes the parents’ civil status at time of marriage
• Witness names (more…)