Most US Counties and Cities Kept Vital Records Before State-Wide Registration Kicks In

And more than one large city kept more than one set of vital records covering the same exact dates! Most counties kept marriage records from the beginning or deferred to the Colonial government; births and deaths follow after 1850 and the growth of insurance company need for statistical tables. And about 60% of New England Vital Records have been published.

This may be all you know about vital records in America.

A careful reading of genealogy periodicals on a regular basis will keep you up-to-speed on new sources for births, marriages, and deaths. Here are some I gleaned as I prepared all new handouts for my upcoming seminar with the San Diego Genealogical Society 15 Jan 2008 (see my speaking schedule):

  1. “Vital Records 1829-1832 from Pittsburgh Almanacs,” Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly, 18 (Summer 1991): 23-29. Abstracted by Audrey D. Iacone. Here article begins, “Almanacs were the second most popular printed item of the nineteenth century.” The Western Farmer’s Almanac issues for 1831-33 include marriages and deaths 1829-1832. Vital records printed in other almanacs were carried in Volumes 1-6 of the Quarterly.
  2. Revolutionary War Period Bible, Family, and Marriage Records. 23 vols. to date. Begun by Helen M. Lu, continued by J. Chan Edmondson and John Sobieski, Volume 23 is edited by Deidre Danger. Other abstracts of the Revolutionary War Pension Files are available. This series, because it focuses on the Bibles and vital records, includes far more genealogical detail.
  3. “Indiana Newspaper Search Database,” The Clan Digger 14 (1996): 3 quoting from The Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society Quarterly, The Researcher, 27 (Summer 1996). This is an ongoing project to index Vital Records appearing in Indiana and Ohio papers 1840’s to the present time. By 1995, over 2.5 million records had been stored. By 2005, 3.5 million newspaper entries were online. You can order search reports online with your PayPal account. Or By postal mail to Compugen Systems, PO Box 15604, Fort Wayne IN 46885.
  4. “North and South Carolina Sources: Brent Holcomb’s Books,” Research News 4 (March 1985): 1-2. four and one-half columns of printed vital records from newspaper notices, county court minutes, vestry minutes, wills and inventories, memorials, marriage records, estate partitions, and church records.
  5. “Vital Records: Government, Church, and Cemetery,” Turbo Genealogy: An Introduction to Family History Research in the Information Age. 1997. Compiled by John and Carolyn Cosgriff for Ancestry. com. This older guide includes some computer databases not mentioned anywhere else. If you find something that could be useful, check it out on the Internet. Most of the older databases have been expanded and/or merged with other data. Finding the data requires a title or name for the database.

More goodies coming. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS Public and private libraries have databases on cards compiled years ago. Sometimes scanned and available online, sometimes stored and unavailable. Sometimes still in the original card files waiting for you to search. Do you know of any? Please share.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply