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For example, researchers calculated the marriage rate in a county as provided in other sources such as federal census records, with that number which appeared in a printed marriage source for the same region and found that only one in seven of the individuals who married in the county, were actually listed in the marriage record. This occurs for various reasons and it reinforces the idea that many sources should be searched if your own research comes up against a "brick wall." One should not accept as fact that your ancestor was never in an area just because he or she is missing in a printed (or electronic) source. Just take it for its face value — the ancestor was not listed in that source (assuming you have searched all name variants, possible transposition of characters, and other items mentioned previously). The vital record may be recorded in another source for the same area if you have a strong reason to think so (such as locating the person in the same county buying property before and after the event).

Also be sure to read the introduction to anyone’s collection. Great insights into the types of records used, any problems with the records, specifically who was included or excluded, and historical background might be included in this introduction. A student purchased a CD several years ago and used it for over six months to search for numerous family marriages covering all letters of the alphabet. It wasn’t until the end of that time that the student realized that the reason they were having trouble finding anyone near the end of the alphabet, was that the CD only covered A to G. They hadn’t read the small print. For a more in — depth study of printed vital records which could apply to electronic publications on the Internet or CD-ROM vital records, read the chapter on vital records in Printed Sources, (Kory Meyerink, Editor, Ancestry, Inc. publisher).

Large vital record projects have been undertaken by genealogy societies, and many statewide vital record indexes are becoming available by knowledgeable genealogists. These wonderful resources make it possible to locate an individual when you do not know the county he or she might have been married in. Just a few examples of vital records which are in print include New Jersey Marriage Records 1665-1800, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, Register of Burials in District of Columbia Cemeteries, 1847-1938, and 37,000 Early Georgia Marriages. Genealogical Publishing Company in Baltimore, Maryland provides the largest collection of vital records in published format.

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