Genealogy records refer to any record that provides genealogical information—that is, information that would be helpful to a family history researcher. The most basic and important genealogy records are vital records, which refer to birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. These records are useful because they contain the date and location of these major life events, as well as other pertinent information such as the names of the person’s parents or offspring.
Other genealogy records include naturalization and immigration records, adoption records, and cemetery records, among others. Often, these records are collected and maintained on the state level and as such, the rules regarding access to these records depend on the state. For example, vital records are usually kept by the state vital statistics office, and are available through requests made to this office. However, who can access these records differs by state: in some states, they may be available only to those named on the record and their immediate family; in others, they may be more widely available.