Do you know what information is typically included in a marriage record when your ancestor married? Do you know what is usually found in a death record when your ancestor died? If you have family who lived in an area for some time, do you know what typically is included in a probate file? Do you know if the occupation of a grantor is typically included in a land deed?

Being familiar with the records in a place and time–including what information they usually provide–can help direct your research process. If you are working on a group of families in Amherst County, Virginia, in the early 19th and late 18th centuries, you should know that marriage bonds may provide parental information. If you are working on a group of families in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, during the same time period, you should know that no such thing exists.

These are just two quick examples. But an unfamiliarity with typical records and the information they typically contain can seriously hinder your research process.



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