List of Useful Vital Record References

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Vital Records

This article is part of a series.
Overview of Vital Records
Marriage Records
Births and Deaths in Public Records
Cemetery Records
List of Useful Vital Record References

This article originally appeared in "Vital Records" by Johni Cerny, BS, FUGA in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy

General References

Eichholz, Alice, ed. Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources. 3d. ed. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004.

Heiss, Willard. Abstracts of the Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana, Part One through Six (1962-1975) with Index. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1972.

Hinshaw, William Wade. Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. 6 vols. 1969; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991-94.

McClure, Rhonda R. Digitizing Your Family History. Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2004.

Marriage, Birth, and Death

Appleton, William S. Boston Births, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths, 1630-1699 and Boston Births, 1700-1800, 1883, 1894. Reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994.

Arnold, James N. Vital Records of Rhode Island, 1636-1850: A Family Register for the People. 20 vols. Providence, R.I.: Narragansett Historical Publishing, 1891-1912. Index to Arnold's Rhode Island Vital Records: Rhode Island Cemetery Records. Microfilm. 11 reels. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1950. Contains entries taken from county, church, periodical, military, newspaper, and other sources.

Bartley, Scott Andrew. Researching American Vital Statistics Records. Toronto: Heritage Productions, 2001.

Bowman, Fred Q. 10,000 Vital Records of Central New York, 1813-1850. Reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999.

---. 10,000 Vital Records of Eastern New York, 1777-1834. Reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999.

---. 10,000 Vital Records of Western New York, 1809-1850. Reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999.

---. 8,000 More Vital Records of Eastern New York, 1804-1850. Rhinebeck, N.Y.: Kinship, 1991.

---. 7,000 Hudson-Mowhawk Valley (NY) Vital Records, 1808-1850. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997.

California State Register. California Vital Records Indexes. Microfiche. Sacramento, Calif.: Office of the State Registrar, 1997. Includes: California Birth Records Index, 1905-97; California Marriage Records Index, 1960-97; California Death Records Index, 1940-97.

Cott, Nancy F. Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001.

Delaware. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Index Cards to Delaware Marriages, Baptisms, Births, and Deaths, 1670-1913. Microfilm. 18 reels. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949. Includes Marriages, 1680 to 1850; Baptisms, 1759-1890; Births, 1759-1890; and Deaths prior to 1888. Index to be used to access vital records of the Delaware Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Dobson, David, comp. American Vital Records from the Gentleman's Magazine, 1731-1868. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987.

Forsyth, Alice Daly, and Ghislaine Pleasanton, comps. Louisiana Marriage Contracts. New Orleans: Polyanthos, 1980.

Goodsell, Willystine. A History of Marriage and the Family. Rev. ed. New York: Macmillan, 1934.

Hale, Charles R. Hale Collection. 360 reels of microfilm. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949-50. Collection includes cemetery records and newspaper notices from Connecticut; also an index to death and marriage notices by newspaper.

Harris, Helen L., Elizabeth J. Wall, and Betty Treat Petrich, comps. Marriage Records of Squires Isaac and Joseph F. Mayes. Pittsburgh: Privately published, 1978.

Hartog, Hendrik. Man and Wife in America: A History. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002.

Hebert, Donald J. South Louisiana Records. 40 vols. Cecilia, La.: the author, 1978-94. Collection covers the following civil parishes (counties): Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Vangeline, and Vermillion.

Howard, George E. History of Matrimonial Institutions. 3 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1904.

Kemp, Thomas J. International Vital Records Handbook. 4th ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2002.

Maher, James P. Index to Marriages and Deaths in the New York Herald. 3 vols. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987-2000. Vol. 1: 1835-55; Vol. 2: 1856-63; Vol. 3: 1864-70.

Massachusetts, Secretary of the Commonwealth. Indexes to Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1841-1971. Microfilm. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1974-85.

North, S. N. D., comp. Marriage Laws in the United States, 1887-1906. Reprint, Conway, Ark.: Arkansas Research, 1994.

Rose, Christine. "Birth, Marriage, and Death." Chap. 10 in Courthouse Research for Family Historians. San Jose, Calif.: CR Publications, 2004.

Saxbe, William B., Jr. "Nineteenth-Century Death Records: How Dependable Are They?" National Genealogical Society Quarterly 87 (March 1999): 43-54.

Vital Records of [Town], Massachusetts, to the Year 1850./ Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1902-ca. 1920. The official series of published vital records for nearly two hundred towns in Massachusetts; each town printed separately.

White, Lorraine Cook, comp. The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records. 55 vols. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994-2002.

Winslow, Raymond A., Jr. "Marriage, Divorce, and Vital Records." In North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History, edited by Helen F. M. Leary. 2nd ed. Raleigh: North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1996.

Wisconsin, Bureau of Health Statistics. Index to Registration of Births, 1852-1907. 41 microfiche. Madison: Wisconsin State Historical Society, 1979.

---. Pre-1907 Death Index by Name. 29 microfiche. Madison: Wisconsin State Historical Society, 1981.

Cemeteries and Gravestones

Beable, W. H. Epitaphs: Graveyard Humor and Eulogy. 1925; reprint, Detroit: Singing Tree, 1971.

Bouchard, Betty J. Our Silent Neighbors: A Study of Gravestones in the Olde Salem Area. Salem, Mass.: T. B. S. Enterprises, 1991.

Bower, John. Guardians of the Soul: Angels and Innocents, Mourners and Saints-Indiana's Remarkable Cemetery Sculpture. Bloomington, Ind.: Studio Indiana, 2004.

Brown, John Gary. Soul in the Stone: Cemetery Art From America's Heartland. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1994.

Bunnen, Lucinda, and Virginia Warren Smith. Scoring in Heaven: Gravestones and Cemetery Art of the American Sunbelt States. New York: Aperture, 2000.

Burek, Deborah M., ed. Cemeteries of the United States: A Guide to Contact Information for U.S. Cemeteries and Their Records. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1994.

Burns, Stanley B. Sleeping Beauty II: Grief, Bereavement in Memorial Photography: American and European Traditions. Pasadena, Calif.: Twelve Trees, 2002.

Carmack, Sharon DeBartolo. Your Guide to Cemetery Research. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2002.

Eakle, Arlene. How to Search a Cemetery. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Institute, 1974.

Farber, Daniel, and Jessie Farber. Making Photographic Records of Gravestones. Leaflet available from Association for Gravestone Studies.

Florence, Robert. New Orleans Cemeteries: Life in the Cities of the Dead. New Orleans: Batture, 1997.

Gillespie, Angus K. "Gravestones and Ostentation: A Study of Five Delaware County Cemeteries." Pennsylvania Folklife 19, no. 2 (Winter 1969-70): 34-43.

Grace, Jack and Tom White. Cincinnati Cemeteries: The Queen City Underground (Images of America). Arcadian Publishers, 2004.

Halporn, Roberta. New York Is a Rubber's Paradise: A Guide to Historical Cemeteries in the Five Boroughs. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Center for Thanatology Research and Education, 1999.

Helge, Janice. "Managing a Cemetery Project." Forum 13, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 11-14.

Jackson, Kenneth T., and Camilo Jose Vergara. Silent Cities: The Evolution of the American Cemetery. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1989.

Jalland, Patricia. Death in the Victorian Family. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Jeane, D. Gregory. "Southern Gravestones: Sacred Artifacts in the Upland South Folk Graveyard." Markers IV: The Journal of the Association of Gravestone Studies (1987): 55-84.

Jones, Constance. R.I.P.: The Complete Book of Death and Dying. New York: Harper-Collins, 1997.

Kay, J. H. "Sixty Million Graves: The Virginia Cemetery Extravaganza." Nation (19 February 1977): 209-12.

Kiester, Douglas. Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography. Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2004.

Ludwig, Allan I. Graven Images: New England Stonecarving and Its Symbols, 1650-1815. Middleton, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1975.

McDonald, Frank E. "Pennsylvania German Tombstone Art of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania." Pennsylvania Folklife 25, no. 1 (Autumn 1975).

Meyer, Richard E., ed. Cemeteries and Gravemarkers: Voices of American Culture. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1989.

Mitford, Jessica. The American Way of Death Revisited. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.

Montell, William Lynwood. Ghosts along the Cumberland: Deathlore in the Kentucky Foothills. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1971.

Nishiura, Elizabeth. American Battle Monuments: A Guide to Battlefields and Cemeteries of the United States Armed Forces. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 1989.

Preservation of Historic Burial Grounds. Information Series no. 76. 1993; reprint, Washington, D.C.: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2003.

Rees, Nigel. Epitaphs: A Dictionary of Grave Epigrams and Memorial Eloquence. New York: Carroll and Graf, 1994.

Roberts, Warren E. "Tools on Tombstones: Some Indian Examples." Pioneer America (June 1978): 106-11.

Robinson, David, and Dean R. Koontz. Beautiful Death: Art of the Cemetery. New York: Penguin, 1996.

Sloane, David C. The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

Solomon, Jack, and Olivia Solomon. Gone Home: Southern Folk Gravestone Art. Montgomery, Ala.: New South Books, 2004.

Spencer, Thomas E. Where They're Buried: A Directory Containing More Than Twenty-Thousand Names of Notable Persons Buried in American Cemeteries. 1999; reprint, Baltimore: Clearfield, 2001.

Strangstad, Lynette. A Graveyard Preservation Primer. Lanham, Mass.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1995.

---. Preservation of Historic Burial Grounds (Updated). Washington, D.C.: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2003.

Vlach, John. "Graveyards and Afro American Art." In Long Journey Home: Folklife in the South. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Southern Exposure, 1977.

Wilson, Howard M. Tinkling Spring: Headwater of Freedom. Fisherville, Va.: for the congregation, 1954.

Woolley, Brian, et al. Final Destinations: A Travel Guide for Remarkable Cemeteries in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Denton: University of North Texas, 2000.

Worpole, Ken. Last Landscapes: The Architecture of the Cemetery in the West. London: Reaktion Books, 2004.

Funerals, Funeral Homes, Morticians, and Miscellaneous

American Blue Book of Funeral Directors. New York: American Funeral Director, published every even-numbered year.

Bell, Connie, and Vernell Walker, comps. Union Pacific Railroad Life Insurance Claims Data. Salt Lake City: microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1990.

Coffin, Margaret M. Death in Early America: The History and Folklore of Customs and Superstitions of Early Medicine, Funerals, Burials, and Mourning. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1976.

Habenstein, Robert W., and William M. Lamers. The History of American Funeral Directing. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 1990.

Jerger, Jeanette L. A Medical Miscellany for Genealogists. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1995.

Laderman, Gary. Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth Century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Ludwig, Allan I. Graven Images: New England Stonecarving and Its Symbols, 1650-1815. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1966; reprint, 2000.

McClure, Rhonda R. Digitizing Your Family History. Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2004.

The Red Book 2004: The National Directory of Morticians. Published by Jack R. Schmidt, National Directory of Morticians, P.O. Box 73, Chagrin Falls, OH 44022. Online at

Rees, Nigel. Epitaphs: A Dictionary of Grave Epigrams and Memorial Eloquence. New York: Carroll and Graf, 1994.

Rogak, Lisa. Stones and Bones of New England: A Guide to Unusual, Historic, and Otherwise Notable Cemeteries. Guilford, Conn.: Globe Pequot, 2004.

Scott, Ken. "Needlework Samplers and Mourning Pictures as Genealogical Evidence." National Genealogical Society Quarterly 67 (September 1979): 167-74.

Yeich, Edwin B. "Die Leich: The Old-Fashioned Country Funeral." Historical Review of Berks County (July 1954): 110-11.

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