Records of persons who were neither royalty nor nobility began to be taken by governments in order to keep track of their citizens. (In most of Europe, for example, this started to take place in the 16th century.) As more of the population began to be recorded, there were sufficient records to follow a family using the paper trail they left behind.
As each person lived his or her life, the major events were documented with a license, permit or report which was sent to a local, regional or national office or archive. A genealogist locates copies of these records, wherever they have been stored, and rearranges the information about each person to discover family relationships and recreate a timeline of each person's life once again.
Records that are used in genealogy research include:
World-Wide Web Virtual Library (WWW-VL) Central Catalogue
United States History Index
WWW-VL search facility.
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