Whether you’re finding a lost family member or constructing your family tree as a hobby, you need to start with vital records.
Besides the physical records you’ll find in your family’s storage, there are countless online resources that you can explore.
Here’s a comprehensive list of some must-visit records for your family research.
National Census Records
These are some of the most easily available records in almost every part of the world. Most countries have kept extensive records of their populations for at least three centuries now, so it’s a good idea to try and find your ancestors within these records.
Census records will give you important information like the names of all the household members, their birth years, ages, and even birthplace, and so on.
Vital records are records of births, marriages, and deaths. In the US, you’ll find them from the 1880s onwards for most states. These records are available online and hold key information for your family tree.
You know those tall tales about your ancestors fighting in WW1 and the wars before that? They could very well be true, and you can cross-check them while also unveiling other relevant facts.
Enlistment records are a great source of information on birthdates and places, and of course, details on the said ancestor’s military service and family.
Your ancestor’s religious believes are a huge hint for your research. They will lead you to the right churches, where you’ll find a treasure trove of ancient records on everything from baptisms to marriages and burials.
Church records can help you knock down some major brick walls since they are pretty accurate, given that they were made at the time of the actual events.
Lists of Passengers
For most of us living in the US, our ancestors arrived from Europe at some point in history. So, when researching your family history, you have to trace their arrival to the US coast to proceed accurately from there.
The simplest way to do this is to check easily available passenger lists online. For those who arrived from the UK, you’ll find outbound passenger lists pretty easily and they’re very comprehensive and accurate.
Surfing through newspapers can seem like a tedious task, but they contain a wealth of information that should not be ignored. From notices of births, engagements, deaths, and obituaries to important political and social developments, they can help you get to know your ancestors in a whole different light.
Naturalization and Immigration Records
If you didn’t find what you needed from passenger lists, another place you should look in naturalization records. You’ll find records dated all the way back to 1790, when the US first started allowing immigrants into the country.
These records will definitely tell you about your ancestors’ immigration details.
While most of these records are easily available online, they can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re new to genealogy and family research.
But that’s alright. Our online DNA detectives are here to help you out. We can help you find family history or even lost family members.