Most record keeping in Great Britain and Europe was on
a local level; the local town or parish kept the records of greatest interest.
Where a larger jurisdiction did keep records, they are often not indexed,
and are arranged by town or district. Therefore, despite the value of
these sources, they will not apply in most immigration cases. Even in
countries where there are nationwide sources, they usually pertain to
a specific time period; and, therefore, will not document immigrants of
an earlier (or sometimes later) period.
It is also important to keep in mind that the following
sources were not designed simply to identify emigrants. Rather, they are
generally comprehensive sources which try to identify all of the population
at the time the record was made. Hence, immigrant origin researchers must
take care not to simply find a person with the right name and age in such
records and assume that person is the immigrant. Rather, use the identification
information developed in your search of the records in the immigrantís
new country as studied in the previous lessons. Be certain you have identified
the immigrant, by checking specific birth or marriage dates, parents names,
or other information which matches information known to pertain to your
immigrant. In other words, "Be sure you donít jump to conclusions!"