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Vital Records include birth, marriage, divorce and death records.
Death records can be the least accurate depending upon the knowledge of the person reporting the information.
Marriage Records usually consist of an application for license followed by a marriage return. This second document is sent to the courthouse by the person performing the marriage.
Marriage returns may not always be found in the courthouse if the person performing the marriage did not make the trip in to record the dates.
If the only marriage proof you find is a license, you should record the resulting license date as - "Lic," followed by that date.
Marriage records may be corroborated with church records.
Look carefully at marriage records. The witnesses and bondsmen may be related to either party.
Birth records are sometimes difficult to obtain. You may be required to provide proof of relationship and proof of the person's death to obtain a birth record.
In Ohio, you may obtain birth records at any county health department upon payment of a fee.
To find an approximate birth date from a death date, subtract the age in years, months and days from the date of death.
When figuring birth dates by using the death date and subtracting age at death, you should record the resulting date as calculated - "Cal," followed by the date.
Use a date calculator, found on many websites, to figure an approximate birth date from a person's age at death.
When ordering a death, marriage or birth certificate, request non-certified copies if possible. They contain exactly the same information as the certified copy but are less expensive. This option depends on the state from which the certificate comes. Ohio only gives certified copies.
Vital records and event information are more reliable when they are recorded near the time of the happening. The longer the time from the event occurrence that the record is made, the less accurate it may be, based on the memory of the person involved.
When ordering a death, marriage, or birth certificate, request the long form, which will have more information on it.
Some church archives will not allow you, personally, to look at the records, so be sure to let the person who is researching the record for you be aware of the fact that you need every scrap of information that the record might contain.
Public record existence and availability varies from state to state according to various laws enacted in the 18th and 19th centuries. Standardized vital record keeping was not done until sometime in the early 1900s.