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Since much of family history research is done by stepping back through time, death records are often the first found for our ancestors.
Even though you may be able to find death records online, you should also make every effort to obtain a copy of the original death record as it was filed at the time of death in the city or town where the death occurred.
Although I have made every effort to verify and document everything on these pages, nothing is "written in stone".
Copying and using information and intellectual property of others without consent is a sure-fire way to ruin your reputation in the genealogical community. Some or all of the individuals mentioned may still be living, and may object to their personal information being revealed publically. Marriage License 1938, City of St Louis, Recorder of Deeds, St Louis, MO, Book 130 Page 537. For genealogical and historical purposes, records are generally broken down into "Primary" and "Secondary" records. A "Primary Record" is generally considered to be a record of an event that was recorded at or soon after the time of the event by parties directly involved in it. Unlike birth and death records, marriage records have been kept, at least at the local level, for hundreds of years.
Most counties and states required an application to be filled out before issuing the marriage license. Another advantage of finding a church record is the high likelihood of finding other records at the same church for other members of the family. Other types of records may contain information about a person's marriage, but are not considered true marriage records. Gravesite in Lawrence’s Oak Hill Cemetery might hold clues to the mystery of Crooked Creek, By Charlie Brennan - Special from Rocky Mountain News, Lawrence Journal-World, January 30, 2006.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding and contributing the above marriage license and news items to this web page.


This RootsWeb website is being created by Jerry Ferrin with the able assistance of many Contributors. Depending upon the completeness of the death record, it can reveal the date and location of death, age at death (which can be used to calculate an approximate date of birth if none is specifically listed), cause of death, as well as the names of parents. Where possible, a copy should be just that - a photostat copy or scanned digital image of the original death certificate or death record as it was originally recorded shortly after the death of the individual in question.
A certified copy of a marriage license filed at the time of marriage would be a good example of a primary record.
It may or may not be accurate, but even if it is accurate, it is not considered as "proof".
The informant [my sister Cindi] had the date correct, but the place of birth was WAY off, not only the wrong county, but even the wrong state. So primary records of marriages are relatively easy to find for even the earliest Colonial years. Although civil marriages, performed by a Justice of the Peace or similar civil servant, have been in use all along, most marriages were performed in a church setting.
Local newspapers, especially smaller and more rural ones, would often provide wedding announcements concerning the marriage of individuals in their locale.
Although these sources were usually created from primary records, the database or index is itself a secondary source at best, because of the likelyhood of typographical or data-entry errors. Your comments, suggestions and contributions of historical information and photographs to this site are welcome.
When using death records, keep in mind that the information about the deceased is provided by someone else, so it is not uncommon to find incorrect information in the official death certificate. Transcribed records always introduce the chance for additional errors or ommissions which may complicate your research further down the line.
A genealogist that accepted Mom's death certificate information as real proof of her birth information would be not only out of luck, but foolish.


Although generally fairly reliable, they are usually considered secondary evidence, unless the reporter writing the story happened to actually be present at the marriage. The serious researcher will use these records a great deal, but will always seek to obtain a copy of the original record from which it was created.
Examples might include family Bible records, naturalization papers, death certificates, census records, gravestone markings, obituaries, etc., etc.
Fortunately, we have a copy of Mom's birth certificate, so no genealogical "harm" was done. Certified copies can usually be obtained by the individual or a direct descendant for a nominal fee. Illinois "Marriage License Returns" from about 1875 on are a good example, requiring place of birth, occupation, parents' names, and a host of other things. These newspaper accounts are invaluable to the genealogical researcher, however, because they often have a lot of information about the families of the happy couple. Hillmon: A collection of contemporary news articles about his death and the subsequent court cases. This is especially true in areas where the civil records where destroyed by war, such as some courthouses in New England were destroyed by British troops during the Revolution, and many courthouses were burnt all over the country during the Civil War. It is a list of marriages maintained at the county level, filed at or soon after the time of the marriage. This is a good example, by the way, because for many years, I always thought they were married in 1958. It wasn't until after Dad died and Mom and I were going through papers that I found out the correct year.



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