Monday, May 28, 2012

United States and International Research

Genealogists utilize four steps when researching. There are small variants but these are the most generally accepted (1) :

1) Find your ancestor's full birth date and birthplace.
2) Learn the names of your ancestor's parents.
3) Find the names, birth years, and birthplace of your ancestor's family members
4) Find the full names and marriage information for your ancestor's parents.
 And then we repeat these four steps for as many generations as we want.

In the United States these are records can use on each step:

Step 1
a. Social Security Death Index
b. Death record (vital records)
c. Social Security application
d. Cemetery records

Step 2
a. Death and birth record (vital records)
b. Social Security application
c. Obituary and funeral home record

Step 3
a. Census

Step 4
a. Marriage record (vital records)

In the United States many of these records are in digital format. There are companies that make the records commercially available in electronic format, including indexes that simplify the researcher’s work.
For the genealogical research in Spain and Latin America we follow exactly the same steps but we use different records. Unfortunately the amount of digital and indexed documents on these international locations is very limited; therefore the genealogist needs to the research work on site, working with paper documents in the local archives.  In recent years we have seen some movement toward the digitalization of the archives in Spain. The Basque region is an example of where we see very good progress.

(1) These steps are found on the Mormons’ Church documentation