Public Records

Public records are an important class of genealogical sources. These records are typically collected by local, state, and national governmental agencies. In accordance with local and national laws certain types of public records have been released for public access. Corporations and private organizations also collect and disseminate records about individuals.

Examples include tax assessments, property liens, license applications, court records, vehicle registrations, voter registrations, and telephone and address directories. These records assist genealogists and family historians by providing information about a person's current and past residences, age, birthdate, and other family members living at the same address. These "residence events" provide important clues to family historians as they help a researcher locate other records about individuals and families as work can be concentrated on specific counties, cities, and even neighborhoods. For example, knowing where an individual lived leads directly to investigation of records held at nearby churches, cemeteries, schools, and municipalities. Public records databases regularly contain a conglomeration of many different public record sources. These records can also be used to identify and contact possible relatives for research collaboration, reunions, DNA research, and kinship determination projects.


Year of birth

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Place of birth, or residence or other


Examples: carpenter, or "SS Anglia"

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