Thursday, April 11, 2013

Vital Records and Genealogy 101

Anonymous asks:
”Where do you go to find out when a particular state started recording births and deaths?”

I like VitalRec for this since all the states are listed in one place.  I don’t order records through VitalRec though.  I order directly from the state agency that handles the birth and death records which is usually the state department of health.  Be aware that the individual counties may have older records.  You definitely want to get your marriage records from the county courthouse because in almost all cases the county was recording marriages long before the state got involved. 

Francine asks:
”I am an absolute beginner.  I have no idea where to start.  Any advice?”

Start by watching FamilySearch’s Beginning Videos. Scroll the the bottom of the page and you will see 21 episodes of “5 Minute Genealogy.” This is a great way to learn the absolute basics.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Michelle, I wrote a post about finding when and if Vital Records exist on Ancestry Reference Desk:

    This is another way your readers might find the information.