Public records hold many documents that have helped people search their family history. One of the biggest is the use of birth certificates. Doing a public records search on genealogy means digging through the birth certificates, if you can find them.
Differences in Names Found in Free Public Records
Looking through the free public records of birth certificates, you might begin to wonder if some people even exist. You can’t find their names anywhere. You might find the names of parents, but the name of the exact person you are looking for is elusive. Why? There could be a name problem.
You could be looking for John Adam. His birth certificate could actually be under Johannes Einrich. This name change problem has baffled many a researcher. How does this happen? Here is one example:
John Adam’s parents moved to Broward County, Florida. Search the Broward county public records and you might find that they were of German origin moving to America in the 1940’s. When their son was born, they named him a traditional German name. But the tension between Germany and America grew. They decided that changing their son’s name to a more American one would be safer.
You are looking for John when you are really looking for Johannes. Public records can be helpful when you have the right information.
If They Don’t Exist in the Public Records
Sometimes a public records search can be hard if you can’t find the records. Not everyone lived in an area where birth certificates were issues. Where do you go then? What if they were destroyed by fire? Sometimes you just can’t find those records.
Some organizations have made their records public. You can search some church records and even the census records to fill in the gaps where birth certificates can’t be found.