Using Marriage Records In Your Genealogy Searches
- Building a family tree involves trying to locate as many marriage records, birth records, and death records as possible as these three types of documents are integral to genealogical searches.
Generally, these three events are commonly included in a family tree. They are important to follow a woman's paths through time as she usually changed names to use the surname of their husband after marriage.
Since marriage records are vital to compiling an accurate family tree, these records should be near the top of your genealogical research list. How to gather them will depend on the particular period and location of each marriage.
Modern marriage records are usually compiled by the state, city and/or county through the vital records department. Many genealogical sites online offer one click searching of vital records databases, or you can visit each location's vital records department website.
Depending on each department's policy, you may be able to order full copies of them online, or you might need to send a written request accompanied by a small fee.
In modern times, we safeguard our information and records as much as possible by backing up and archiving computer files to prevent loss. In earlier times, security of written documents wasn't as easy, and many marriage records may have been destroyed.
While people attempted to protect information and store it in safe places, fires could wipe out the documents of a whole town. Also, persecuted individuals or groups may have had their documents destroyed or records simply were never completed.
Some genealogical societies have compiled their own databases of early ones, as well as birth and death records. These databases generally consist of information that has been submitted by member researchers.
While they strive for accuracy, inconsistencies or guesswork may creep in. Take advantage of these excellent resources, but be sure to document your sources. If you hit a dead end or false trail, you may need to consider that the information you obtained might not perfectly accurate.
Marriage records can provide more information about your ancestor than simply the date on which he or she married. They often document the names of the couple's parents, social security numbers, pre-marriage addresses and other pertinent information. Therefore, it is important to get a full copy of the original document if possible.
Marriage records can be difficult to track down for unions that happened a long time ago. However, it is worth taking the time to do so. Along with birth records and death records, they are among the most critical documents that you can find when researching your ancestor and his or her daily life.
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