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Even when researching in a foreign land, you’ll often seek the same types of records as on this side of the pond. Although availability and coverage vary by country, here are the top sources for tracing Europeans.
- Civil registrations: official documentation of births, marriages and deaths, similar to US vital records
- Parish records: registrations, baptisms, marriages, burials and sacraments such as confirmations
- Cemetery markers: provide birth and death dates
- Military records: give age, place of birth and other personal details; may contain parents’ names
- Census: regular counts of an area’s residents; provide family members’ names, place of residence, religious affiliation, occupation, livestock owned and more
- Emigration: lists of those leaving a country kept by departure ports or police
- Land/manor records: provide names of successive property owners and may list hereditary tenants or laborers
- Tax records: show landowner, tenant, type of land, tax valuation and amounts
- Family histories: published genealogies covering noble families
- Town or village histories: may contain information on common surnames, notable residents, significant events and more
From the January 2010 Family Tree Magazine