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Secrets hidden between the lines…

Many of us obtain information about our ancestors through databases. This is a convenient method, but we must remember one very important thing. Documents in the past were created in various languages and often in the form of entire sentences. The rules for creating vital records varied depending on the place and time of their creation. Moreover, it sometimes happens that the same person could provide much more information in the case of two people registered one after the other. We often encounter situations where documents contain annotations about death, marriage, and sometimes military service. The records may contain additional data about godparents and assistants who may have been close family members. Sometimes Polish documents used degrees of kinship unknown in the English system (e.g. “stryjek” – father’s brother, but this term could not refer to mother’s brother). Documents often indicate whether the parents have died and where they currently live. Marriage certificates may contain information about the prenuptial agreement and where it was signed. It may indicate in which churches the announcements were made and provide information about the previous spouse.

In most cases, databases will not provide us with this information because their content is tailored to the needs of the creator and the people who entered the data. Not to mention the mistakes that are a daily occurrence. That’s why it’s worth having scans of vital records and translations. Only they will guarantee that we will get everything we can from the document. Sometimes a seemingly small detail can allow you to reach new people and documents.


Think about whether your documents contain any unknown secrets. We can help you with this. We offer translations for $25 per vital record.