…Core Research Records for every Genealogy–regardless of what location your genealogy inhabited or what your surnames are these are your core records. Gather the details from these records first and in this order:
__Marriage and Divorce Records. Did you know that there are at least 16 official marriage records and more than 180 different sources with marriage evidence? Marriage is the beginning of the family unit. The marriage record provides the given name and surname of the mother—sometimes her nickname. And usually, the father’s legal name. Most of us give up too soon in our search for these vital facts.
__Genealogies, Family Histories, and Pedigree Charts. Your genealogy may already be compiled–a survey I did of my clients’ surnames and the compiled sources at the Family History Library in 2000 revealed that more than 80% of my client surnames had one or more compiled genealogy sources already on file in the Library! Break your Losing Streak! Search these sources. And first! You can get up to 300 years of genealogy in just one source. And when documented with copies of the original sources, you can save much time and effort in your work.
__Census Records, Inhabitants Lists, and Census Substitutes. More than 30 different kinds of census enumerations were recorded throughout the American Colonies before 1800: pre-1850 lists can be used to match them with other records that identify the members of the household. No other source category is better indexed, has such uniform and consistent data fields, or is as easily searched as American census records. Special search strategies can reveal “hidden” evidence often overlooked in your rush to gather ancestors quickly.
__Probate and other Court Records. Over 95% of all American adults have appeared in at least one court during their lifetimes. These records are essential to your genealogy and ignoring them or by-passing their data usually leads to an incorrect lineage or a connection to the wrong origins. So plunge in and gather the evidence for your ancestors and their relatives—currently known or not.
__Land and Tax Records. Tax records list most adult males who live in a given area–they are recorded annually. Some localities record their population every 6 months! At what age can persons own land, buy and sell land, and gift land to others? Does the land come from the husband’s family or from the wife’s relatives? How do you read a deed? Are witnesses related to the people named in the documents? Which entry is mine? And many other questions are raised and answered in land and tax records.
__Sources of Births and Deaths. You have no idea what source will yield birth dates and places of death. Like transfers of property title that list proof of death of the original owner. Or a tax roll where the local clerk recorded year of birth to differentiate between men of the same name. Until you search the records, these sources of vital records will remain “hidden.” Official vital records began most often about 1900. Before then, gather wherever you find the data.
__Cemetery Records, in the cemetery and outside it, with more and more tombstones pictured and transcribed online. The correct spelling of ethnic and foreign names and evidence of ancestor origins often appear in cemetery data more than any other source—just didn’t seem right to bury Grandpa with a falsified name or place of birth.
__Other Important Genealogy Records: Search these records to fill gaps in dates, places, and relationships: Military Records. Church Sources. Newspapers and Obituaries. Genealogy and History Periodicals. Personal Genealogy Websites. And more. You will have more than enough information and questions to carry you forward and back in time to prove your ancestors belong to you. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS Since these records occur at all levels of society and all levels of jurisdiction, burned counties, lost Bibles, migration before or after the enumerator comes by will not end your genealogy.