I began my genealogy research when I was in junior high school. As a result my funds for copies of genealogy documents was limited–very limited. As I got into high school, I performed local research for others to earn money to support my genealogy habit. But my budget was very tight.

I was selective about the items I would pay to obtain a copy of–very selective. I also wouldn’t obtain copies of records that had information “I already had.” As I review my files a few decades later, I realize that there are things on some families that I never obtained. That is the case with the death certificate of Jans Janssen who died in Illinois in 1929. I knew the names of his parents and his date and place of birth (from his baptismal record) and his tombstone, obituary, and probate file all provided the date of death. Because of that I decided I didn’t need his death certificate.

Of course the death certificate is the best document for his date of death, but there’s little doubt about the veracity of the date from the other records that I have. But there could be something on the death certificate that I don’t already know and I need to decide if I should obtain it.

Sometimes early in our research we don’t get certain documents for one reason or another. Could it be time to review the research you did in the “early days” to see if there are things you didn’t get because you “didn’t need them?” Is there any chance they contain information you may be missing out on?



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