Tracing Immigrants Origin Civil RegistrationEdit This Page
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Civil registration (vital records) of births, marriages, deaths, and sometimes divorces are kept by national or local governments. Finding an emigrant in civil registration records usually means you have found his or her place of origin. In most cases, it is not a means of finding emigrants. Their value increases when they are indexed nationwide, such as in England and Wales after 1837, New Zealand after 1848, Scotland after 1855, and Ireland after 1864. In some countries, civil registration records are indexed by town or county, as in France after 1792, Belgium after 1796, and the Netherlands after 1811.
The availability of indexes determines whether to use civil registration earlier or later in your research. Find out when civil registration began in the area where your emigrant lived.
To see if civil registration records for the country have been indexed, search the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under [LOCALITY] - CIVIL REGISTRATION - INDEXES.
Some areas, such as Scandinavian countries, did not have civil registration but used the government-sponsored church to register the vital information of its citizens.