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The Framework of your Family History Kathy Petras

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  • 1.The Framework ofyour Family HistoryKathy Petras

2. What are Vital Records? Documentation of lifes major events. Births Deaths Marriages/Divorces Required to be registered and preserved by somebranch of the government or churches. Primary sources for the events they document. 3. Primary vs. Secondary Sources Primary resources are produced at or near the time of theevent by people involved in the event.Example: Death records that are filled out by the physicianwho witnessed the death Secondary resources are produced at a later time or bysomeone who would not have direct knowledge of the event.Example: Birth information that is given on a deathcertificate. The person providing information on the birthprobably wasnt present at the birth. 4. Vital Records, miscellaneous facts When acquiring vital records for an individual, work from themost recent, death, to the earliest, birth. In the United States, these records are maintained by a clerk inthe city, town, county or state where the event took place. Since around 1900 (varies by states) most states keep therecords of these events. (Birth & Death records for Ohio since 1908 can beordered at any county health department). You may not have access to some records, such as recent birthrecords, due to privacy concerns and use for illegal purposes. 5. Death Records Originally deaths were registered to compile medicalstatistics on diseases and epidemics. Even after registrations were required, compliancewith the law was haphazard and incomplete. The information about the death will probably beaccurate, but other events reported on the records,such as birth date, parents and spouse, may containerrors, depending on who provided the information. 6. Death Records, continued Death records only exist in the United States forapproximately the last 150 years. Prior to around 1900, look for death records at thecounty or city level. After 1900, check the state level for death records.The farther back in time you go, the less informationyou will find on a death record.QUIZ!!! How well can you read a document?** 7. Alternatives to official deathrecords Obituaries, while not official records of death, cancontain valuable family information. Check all obituaries for errors, due to incorrect informationbeing given by the informant and typographical errors.Obituaries can be the one place where all the pertinentfacts of a persons life are revealed. Earliest newspapers tended to only report the deaths of themost prominent citizens. Late in the 1800s, obituariesbecame more common for everyone. Obtain obituaries not only for your direct ancestor, but fortheir siblings, wives and children. Obituaries are best obtained from the local library that holdsmicrofilmed copies of the local papers. 8. Alternatives to official deathrecords, continued Probate Records Includes wills and estate records. Closingout the estate of someone who has died happens only afterthey have died. Can also reveal wives and children. Cemetery Records besides the tombstones, various otherrecords exist in relation to burial of an individual, such as plotdeeds, plat records, sextons records, and grave openingorders. While a tombstone should be accurate as to the date ofdeath, it may not be as accurate for date of Social Security Death Index - while this is not a true substitutefor a death record, it can help you determine in what location tofind a death record. AVAILABLE on Funeral Cards 9. Alternatives to official death records TombstoneMemorial Card Primary or Secondary Sources?? 10. Marriage RecordsMarriages were required to be registered much earlier than birthsand deaths.Marriage records come in various forms, such as marriagelicenses, affidavits, and marriage certificates.These documents will provide the maiden name of the woman.They are most often filed at the county courthouse.In New England, town clerks began registering marriages in the1600s and in the South, in the 1700s.Only later are the parents included on a marriage record.Information on a marriage record can be inaccurate, due to thecouple falsifying their ages, etc.Consent affidavits would have to be filed if either of the partieswere under aged at the time of the marriage. 11. Marriage Record 12. Alternatives to officialmarriage records Marriage banns were required by some church denominations.They were usually read aloud on three consecutive Sundays inchurch. They might also be posted in a public place. It was anopportunity for any objections to be raised. Bonds would be posted prior to the marriage. It was money setaside to defray expenses in case in the event the marriagedidnt take place. The money was posted by the groom or hisfather. Marriage bonds are NOT positive proof that a marriagetook place. Bible Records Newspaper announcements 13. Divorce A divorce record shows that a marriage has taken place and oftencontains information on when and where the marriage took place. Divorce has existed in the U.S. from its earliest history and variedgreatly from region to region. In some early states and territories, divorce was handled by the statelegislature. Early alternatives to divorce were legal-permanent separations anddesertion. Divorce laws have changed dramatically over the years.And these records still can be the hardest to locate. Each state has decided which court will handle divorce cases;superior, equity, probate or family court. Dont forget that certainlocations became known as divorce meccas including Reno, Nevadaand Ashtabula County, Ohio. 14. Birth Records Only exist in the United States for approximately the last 150years. The farther back in time you go, the less information youwill find on a birth record. Prior to around 1900, look for birth records at the county level.Except for New England states, where the birth records arefound at the town level. After 1900, check the state level for birth records. Delayed birth certificates were issued many years after thebirth in cases where the person: Was born prior to the keeping of birth records Was not registered due to non-compliance. Needed proof of birth to register for Social Security benefits. 15. Alternatives to official birthrecords Baptism or christening ceremonies have to be carefullychecked. Often they only record the date of the ceremony, notthe date of the birth. Bibles often have births, deaths and marriages. Check to see ifthe handwriting is the same throughout. If it is different, theevents were likely recorded as they occurred. Check with familymembers, local and regional historical societies.http:/// Military pensions or muster rolls - often the approximate birthdate had to be given. Census records The later census records state the age ofeach individual, but the earlier ones only state the age range ofpeople. But the information can be unreliable. 16. Alternatives to official birth records 17. Where to find Vital Records:WEBSITES: CDC List Ohio Vital Records $ or AncestryLibrary Edition (Available inside mostlibraries) Family Search Site VitalRecords $ State Vital Records online. Examples: Illinois Death Records Missouri Death Records 18. Where to find Vital Records:BOOKS: Kemp, Thomas,International Vital Records HandbookR929.107 KEM Handybook for Genealogists United States of AmericaR929.107 Han Redbook American State County and Town SourcesR929.107Red Szucs, Loretto, The Source :a Guidebook of AmericanGenealogyR929.1SOU 3RD.ED. 19. Vital Records, reminders Once your record arrives you will want to document yoursource of the information. Where did you get the records,when did you get it, what volume and page number, etc. Do not fold it. Place it in an acid free sleeve. Store the originaldocument in safe place. 20. The End