Informal Sources

This comprises basic information that is easily obtainable from personal sources and information in the possession of personal sources, including your own, as follows:

Remember that these are no more than clues until proven to be fact.

Talk to all your older-generation relatives (before they're all gone and you're the older generation!) Even a distant relative or a family friend can be a goldmine of information about your ancestors.

Formal Sources

In most countries of the world there are certain requirements concerning the registration of births, marriages and deaths.

Before the official registration of births, marriages and deaths, these human events were recorded by churches of various denominations.

In addition, most countries require information for taxation purposes, conduct a census on a regular basis and all people who die with a last will and testament have their estate administered to ensure that all who are supposed to get money or property from the deceased do so, including the governement of course, in the form of death duties or taxes.

People apply for passports, serve in the military, contribute to and receive welfare in one form or another. All of these activities require that records be kept and in many instances these are retained long after a person has died, and copies can be obtained.

The method in which these official records are kept, the length of retention and the availability of them varies from country to country and can be discovered by writing to the authority concerned or by consulting a reputabe genealogical book on the subject.

General Sources

These include sources not mentioned above under Informal and Formal sources and these include the following: