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Vital Records

  • Vital Records

    What Are Vital Records, and Why Would You Need to Access Them?

    You have probably heard the term “vital records” many times, but unless you have needed to access any of these records, you may have no idea what they are. Many genealogists use vital records for their research, and even the layperson can get access to these records so they can do their own family history research, which is not only fun to do but can save a lot of money when you do it yourself. You don’t even have to be a professional genealogist to be able to access most of these records.

    Some of the vital records that are used for this type of research include:

    What Information Is in Vital Records?

    Vital records contain a lot of information that is going to be helpful with your family tree research. For instance, you can learn about many ancestors you may never even have known existed. How can you do this? By looking at records for the family members you already know about. Many of the vital records you will be using will contain not only the names of the actual people you are researching, but also the names of some of their family members. These records can keep taking you back, sometimes as far back as a couple hundred years, depending on the type of vital records you are using.

    Getting Started

    If you have decided to research your own family history, one of the best places to start is with vital records. Of course, you will also want to talk with living family members, especially older relatives who can tell you fun and interesting stories from the past. Getting organized is one of the toughest things about genealogy, because it seems like there is a never-ending mountain of paper to always have to wade through. However, getting organized is one of the first things you should do.

    Even before you go talking to relatives or getting vital records, you need to come up with a plan of action. Here are some tips that will help get you on your way:

    • Organize each of the records you are using by the type of records. For instance, you can have one file with marriage records, one with birth records, etc. You can place all of these files into one master file, and they will be easy to access any time you need them.
    • Always carry a voice or tape recorder when talking to family members. You never know when you are going to get some awesome tidbits of information, and if you don’t have a means of recording them you may forget before you get a chance to write everything down.
    • Don’t leave any stoned unturned. In addition to vital records, you can find many other ways to get the information you need. Make sure to create a list of all of the people who can provide you with information, as well as all of the vital records and other documents you will need.

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