Vital Records Research Tips

Vital Records Research Tips

I've been thinking a lot about vital records lately, while working on our next webinar with presenter Lisa Louise Cooke: Vital Records: Researching Your US Ancestors' Births, Marriages and Deaths Online. While I've got this topic on the brain, I thought I'd share a few tips with you:US vital records...

I’ve been thinking a lot about vital records lately, while working on our next webinar with presenter Lisa Louise Cooke: Vital Records: Researching Your US Ancestors’ Births, Marriages and Deaths Online.

While I’ve got this topic on the brain, I thought I’d share a few tips with you:

  • US vital records access and coverage varies from state to state. Each state has its own rules and regulations, but for privacy reasons, death records are usually closed to the public for around 50 years, and birth records for 75 to 100 years. But you can sometimes get these records for genealogical purposes if you can prove a relationship.
  • Some states started state-level vital record keeping later than others—in certain cases, well into the 1900s. But many counties started recording vital statistics decades or even centuries before the state mandated it. Look for those records at state archives and through the Family History Library.

This is good background knowledge to frame your expectations for your vital records research. Lisa’s going to get more specific in the webinar, and demonstrate web sites that can help you get to your ancestors’ records.

The webinar will take place next Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. Eastern (that’s 6 Central, 5 Mountain, 4 Pacific). You can read more about the session and register on Family Tree Shop.

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