What are Family History Records?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 February 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
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Family history records, or genealogy records, are documents that track the history and life events of people in a certain family. Many people attempt to create their family tree, and the only way to do this is to research and study family history records, usually beginning with something as simple as a family name. There are many websites and resources that allow one to track a family history for free or for a small fee.

In general, family history resources can retrieve records from as far back as the very late 17th century. Of course, this depends on the family and where they lived; obviously, some records are better kept than others. Immigration records and church records are often some of the only sources of information from the 1600s and 1700s, but they can give someone a general idea of the location of their family. Census records began in 1790, which are also an excellent resource for family history. Finally, land records and military service records are also often used for a complete family history.


Keep in mind that while some websites and other sources may be able to find basic information, if one takes the time to look these records up independently, a wealth of information may be found. This is particularly true if one can return to the original place where a family settled or first purchased land. More recent sources of information include court documents such as passport applications, bankruptcies, or marriage license applications, among many others. Obtaining complete family history records can be a lot of work, but many people find it to be a fascinating pursuit that helps them to feel more connected to their pasts.

Family history records can provide information regarding significant life events, such as births, deaths, and marriages. They can provide clues as to where a family moved and settled, as well as their interactions with other families in the area. Family history records can often help one to discover distant relations or previously unknown family members and important ancestors.

If one is finding it difficult to locate information and family history records, it might be helpful to work with a professional genealogist or family historian. In addition to having more access to documents and more practice finding them, a family historian might also be able to translate documents in different languages, or explain confusing information. Keep in mind that determining genealogy can be an extremely time-consuming and expensive process, however.



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