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African American Genealogy: Substitute Records for Births in South Carolina

In Documenting a SC Birth, we discussed how to find your ancestor using birth certificates. Not everyone was recorded on a birth certificate, and birth records are the hardest to find. Fortunately, you can use substitute records to find clues to the date and place where you ancestor was born.  Use the record types discussed below where you may discover more about your ancestor’s birth.

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Documenting Your Ancestor After 1940

It is so important to document your ancestor using the most recent records first because you can learn so much about them enabling you to locate them on earlier records. For most researchers, the latest historical record where they have found their ancestor is the 1940 Census. Perhaps you have yet to discover records that were generated later than 1940. It is highly likely that ancestors born before 1900 appear on these records.

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How to Locate a Marriage Record

After successfully documenting your ancestor’s death using various resources such as an obituary, death certificate, and existing headstone, the next major event that you will want to document is a marriage record. Marriage records are a little more difficult to access because often only the index is available online. This post will discuss how to locate a marriage, and suggest substitute records that you can use to show a marriage took place in case you cannot locate an original record.

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African American Genealogy: More Ways to Document a Death

In How to Document a Death, we shared a few of the most common resources for learning more about your ancestor’s death. The death event generated many different ways to learn more about a person. Even if a person is not present in a record where they were mentioned consecutively in the past, that can become a clue to the possible date of death. You will learn the most by making it a point of including a few more record types in your search.

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African American Genealogy: How to Document a Death

One of the most common events that beginning researchers attempt to document is an ancestor’s death. Most become familiar right away with death certificates, but when there are challenges finding or accessing a death certificate, it is helpful to know about additional records. It is a good practice to search these additional records in case there are errors or incomplete information on the death certificate. 

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Sample the Low Hanging Fruit First

In Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned and Relying on One Source Type, we discussed the pitfalls that family historians can unknowingly fall into.  Another very common mistake is rushing back too quickly in an imagined race to find direct ancestors.  This more often that not creates research challenges. Below we share better principles to follow in discovering ancestors.

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