Possible Sources

The following are possible sources for dates and places of:


  1. Marriage license or record in state office or at county courthouse*
  2. Church records, including banns (announcement of intention to marry but may have been given only orally and never recorded)
  3. Marriage bonds (agreement by groom or someone acting for him and by male representative of bride that there was no impediment to marriage)
  4. Justice of Peace records
  5. Family Bible records*
  6. County or local histories*
  7. Newspaper accounts including obituaries (should show in what paper published and when)
  8. Printed vital statistics*
  9. Pension papers for war service (wife sometimes had to prove marriage before or after certain date in order to receive pension)
  10. Census records (1880) census usually gives relationship to head of household, such as "wife"; 1900 census tells same and also how long married)
  11. City directories (sometimes tell relationship of household members)
  12. Deeds, probate files, and other such documents listing husband and wife
  13. Family correspondence
  14. Gravestones*
  15. Morticians' records
  16. Homestead application papers (may list family members and relationship; for copy write: Director of General Records Division, Washington National Records Center, Suitland, MD 20409, but must have specific information as to location of claim or date filed)
  17. Birth certificate of child
  18. Genealogies*
  19. By collateral evidence (some evidence of husband and wife relationship, as in a deed or other legal document) establish that couple was married evidence of the date of marriage will not be required. (Quoted from Is That Lineage Right?" p. 24


  1. Death certificate from state office in state where person died or from county registrar or other official at county courthouse; for guidance in determining whether records may be found in state or county offices or both see HANDY BOOK FOR GENEALOGISTS ( Everton Pub., Inc., P. 0. Box 368, Logan, UT 84321)
  2. Obituary (best for date and place of death but not conclusive evidence and should show in what paper printed and date of publication)
  3. Morticians? records (usually free)
  4. Cemetery records, either original or from copied records (Note carefully-- be sure to get clear picture of tombstone inscription if cemetery records are unpublished.)
  5. Family Bible records (Note carefully--photocopy must be submitted with proofs and must include title page with date of publication of Bible.)
  6. Church records
  7. Probate or estate records at courthouse
  8. Insurance policies (have been found to give date of death of relatives of person who took out the policy)
  9. Military service and pension papers for war service (may give date of death of pensioner, date of last payment before his death, wife's date of death)
  10. County or local histories (often inaccurate but good for clues)
  11. Printed vital statistics (especially for Mass. and New England states)
  12. Town clerk's records
  13. Fraternal lodge records
  14. Mortality schedules (taken in connection with federal census for 12 months prior to census numerations of 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880)
  15. City directories (actual date of death given rarely; approximate date estimated when person no longer appears with family)
  16. Coroners' files
  17. Family correspondence
  18. Tax rolls (Estimate may be made from absence of name from tax list after certain date and substitution of widows or heirs names thereafter for same property.)
  19. Census records (estimated date of death, as after 1850)
  20. Genealogies, family histories, or family association periodicals ("In general, the least trustworthy source," according to Donald Lines Jacobus in "Is That Lineage Right?" p. 19)


  1. Birth certificates from state office or county official*
  2. Obituary (not nearly so reliable as for death date)
  3. Church records, including baptismal and christening
  4. Family Bible records*
  5. County or local histories*
  6. Newspaper listing*
  7. Cemetery records*
  8. Pension papers for war service (may list children with birth dates, wife's date of birth rarely)
  9. Printed vital statistics
  10. Town clerk's records
  11. Fraternal lodge records
  12. School records
  13. Family correspondence
  14. Census records (approximate date only; if born within census year, age in months may be given)
  15. Naturalization records (some restrictions on copying but clerk should abstract genealogical information)
  16. Voter registrations
  17. Inscriptions on reverse of pictures
  18. Genealogies*
  19. World War I draft registration card (copy available free to relatives from General Services Administration, Region 4, Federal Records Center, 1557 St. Joseph Avenue, East Point, Georgia 30344

Relationships--Proof must be furnished in each generation (beginning with the grandparents) of the parentage of the person through whose line you go.

  1. Birth certificates
  2. Death records
  3. Cemetery records*
  4. Wills and probate records
  5. Family Bible records
  6. Obituaries*
  7. Morticians' records
  8. Church records, including baptismal, christening and marriage
  9. Insurance policies
  10. Pension papers for war service
  11. County or local histories*
  12. Printed vital statistics
  13. Town clerk's records
  14. City directories
  15. Family correspondence
  16. Homestead application papers*
  17. Marriage application (might list father or other relative, especially for bride)
  18. Census records (1880 and 1960)
  19. Deeds
  20. Income tax records
  21. ivorce records
  22. Family histories or genealogies*


  1. Not all information desired, perhaps none, will be found in sources listed here. Some sources will have some data, others will have none, a few may have much information. Obviously these are only possibilities, and no guarantee for success is intended, but your Lineage Research Committee stands ready to assist you if they can.

    Barbara J. Brown, G.R.S.,
    Chairman Lineage Research Committee
    Colorado State Society DAR
    February, 1975