Sources - Where?

A primary source is any record created during the time you are researching - an eyewitness account.

Primary sources can take many forms, such as newspapers, letters, journals, tax lists, court documents, church records, or a census. The most used primary sources are birth, marriage and death certificates.

Like eyewitness accounts of modern events, each primary source will only give one perspective and may be incomplete or inaccurate. As you conduct research, consider the following:
    •    Who wrote the document and why?
    •    How would these motives shape the information in the report?
    •    What was the intended audience for this document?
    •    Was it meant to be published or kept private?
    •    Was it official or personal?
    •    How does the writer know what (s)he has reported?
    •    What conventions/norms exist that shape the information? (church records preserve different information than tax lists or a census)
    •    What other sources might provide additional information?

A secondary source is a record created later by someone who did not experience the time period or events that you are studying. Most histories are secondary sources.

Primary and Secondary records that are used in genealogy research include:
    •    Vital records
    ◦    Birth records
    ◦    Death records
    ◦    Marriage and divorce records
    •    Adoption records
    •    Biographies and biographical profiles (e.g. Who's Who)
    •    Census records
    •    Church records
    ◦    Baptism or christening
    ◦    Confirmation
    ◦    Bar or bat mitzvah
    ◦    Marriage
    ◦    Funeral or death
    ◦    Membership
    •    City directories[17] and telephone directories
    •    Coroner's reports
    •    Court records
    ◦    Criminal records
    ◦    Civil records
    •    Diaries, personal letters and family Bibles
    •    Emigration, immigration and naturalization records
    •    Hereditary & lineage organization records, e.g. Daughters of the American Revolution records
    •    Land and property records, deeds
    •    Medical records
    •    Military and conscription records
    •    Newspaper articles
    •    Obituaries
    •    Occupational records
    •    Oral histories
    •    Passports
    •    Photographs
    •    Poorhouse, workhouse, almshouse, and asylum records
    •    School and alumni association records
    •    Ship passenger lists
    •    Social Security (within the US) and pension records
    •    Tax records
    •    Tombstones, cemetery records, and funeral home records
    •    Voter registration records
    •    Wills and probate records

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