Using Public Records to Research Your Genealogy

Posted by Team - 26 March, 2014


researching genealogyResearching your family’s heritage feels like an adventure. From tracking marriages and relationships to births and deaths, you’re able to better understand where you came from and your family’s unique story of survival. Though there are popular websites that claim to help individuals trace their family trees, much of the content is often user-generated and, therefore, incorrect. To get the most accurate information about your genealogy, the best place to look is public records.

Public Records

Because public records are created and stored with strict adherence to record keeping standards, they serve as the most precise record of life. To begin a family tree, start by obtaining copies of your own records and work backwards. The following record types can be pieced together to create a clear picture of your genealogy.

  • Birth records. Beginning with your birth record, work backward by obtaining the birth records for your birth parents. Most birth certificates will list places of birth, parents’ names, and parents’ dates of birth, if not social security numbers.
  • Marriage records. Marriage certificates can be helpful when making a connection from one person to another. This is where the branches of your family tree can become complex, as a child in the family may have married into another family, which has its own family history, and so on.
  • Divorce records. Depending on how far you need to go back, divorce records may not provide the most accurate information about lineage, but are still helpful to have. Because formal divorces didn’t always take place, determining relationships beyond a marriage can be difficult.
  • Death records. Death records are particularly essential when mapping your family’s progression from one place to another. When able to view a birth and death record, you can compare locations for a general idea of your family member’s personal history.
  • Deeds. Researching deeds associated with members of your family tree can help round out understanding of your genealogy. With copies of deeds, you’re able to conduct further research into the local history of property.

Why Use Online Public Record Search?

When developing your family tree, you never know where it will take you. When researching public records on your own, you may need to travel from city to city and state to state to access information from different local governments. By using online public record search, you’re able to obtain accurate copies of public records from the comfort of your home. 

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Topics: Courthouse Documents

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