using birth records for genealogy

Using Birth Records for Genealogy | Piecing Together the Family Tree

Have you ever thought about your family’s history? Ever wonder who your ancestors were or where they came from? Ever thought about any hidden family secrets? There is a lot of information online about how to find the basic documents that help you build a family tree. The fundamentals for genealogists include birth certificates, marriage certificates and census returns. Death certificates are also important, but are usually not as significant as birth and marriage certificates when it comes to building a family tree. Tracking genealogy with birth certificates is one of the most effective ways of getting the information you need to discovering your family’s history.

To start, familiarize yourself with the step by step process of building a family tree. It’s best to start with what you know and work your way into the unknown when researching your family tree. If you start out with solid facts and work your way carefully and methodically back into unknown generations, you are much less likely to make mistakes or end up researching people who turn out to be unrelated. You want to create a document trail that will lead you back into your family’s past. As you complete each stage, be sure to check the information you’ve gathered: you must ensure you are always dealing with the right person, and not just with someone who has the same name as your ancestor. A bit of common sense and a lot of fact checking will help you find what you are looking for. 

To get started, you’ll want to begin with information you already have. Using birth records for genealogy tracking is one of the best places to start. Let’s say for example you begin with your grandfather. You know his birth date and through conversation amongst family members, you get the names of your grandfather’s parents. The first thing you want to do, if you don’t already have it, is order a copy of your grandfather’s birth certificate to confirm the information you know or have been given. The birth certificate will display your grandfather’s date, time, and place of birth as well as the name of his parents. You’re on the right track. Now that you know you’re great grandparents’ names, you can move on to the next step and search for a copy of their marriage certificate. This process continues until you can no longer track down important documents that provide you with the information you are searching for on your family. 

Discover your family’s history, hidden secrets, and crazy stories along the way.

As you gather more information and your family tree grows, you might discover a few crazy genealogy stories along the way. One example that this article talks about is the mystery of the adopted father. “Shortly after her father’s death, Linda Spanos was shocked to learn he’d been adopted as an infant, a fact that her father likely didn’t even know. His wife, Linda’s mother, had accidentally discovered the truth decades ago and kept the secret to herself. Intensely curious about their biological roots, Linda and her siblings launched a two-decade search that would lead them through a roller coaster of twists and turns before DNA testing finally revealed an answer.”

Another story in Family Tree Magazine’s article mentions how a young lady discovers her connection to an American Indian ancestor. “Sometimes, DNA testing creates a mystery instead of solving one. In 2012, Anne Marie Hadaway agreed to take a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test her cousin had purchased. Because women pass mtDNA to their children, and mutations are rare, the test would examine Anne Marie’s mother’s mother’s mother’s (and so on) line back to ancient times. Although not then a genealogist, Anne Marie thought it would be interesting to learn about the ancient origins of her maternal line. But when her test results came back, Anne Marie was surprised that her mitochondrial DNA belonged to a distinctly American Indian haplogroup labeled A2.”

Starting a genealogy project can be tons of fun. Discovering your family line, knowing where you came from, and finding out a few secrets along the way is sure to make your search a great one. Again, the key to finding out your lineage is through legal records and actual facts. Looking for copies of birthmarriage, or death certificates? Let VitalChek help you get any important documentation you need quickly and securely. 


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