Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Tuesday's Tip: Finding an Immigrant Ancestor's Birth Place
I'm in the midst of preparing for a class on vital records, and it's made me reevaluate my list of "things to remember when searching for a birth place." For our immigrant ancestor's, ordering a birth certificate usually isn't an option... and unfortunately, marriage certificates tend to tell you only the country. So what do you do? I always start with church records - especially if the ancestor was Roman Catholic. These records can be surprisingly detailed. In one case, I found the cause of death listed on a burial record. This was a coup. Second, look for a gravestone. Find A Grave is a good starting point. The website contains images and transcriptions of tombstone information. These can at least narrow down the individual's lifespan and may even list a birth place. Irish tombstones are notorious for containing the extra information. If nothing else, you can always hope for a post-1906 naturalization paper. These may list the individual's birthplace.