All About Historical Records

As romantic and exciting as family history may be, the truth is, it’s based upon simple facts. That’s where the names, dates and places in historical records come in. These details connect people and events in history to create the unique story of how you got here today. Historical records also hold fascinating facts about ancestors’ cultures, occupations, and more — and can help you create timelines of their lives.

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How can you find your ancestors in historical records?

Ancestry has the world’s largest online collection of historical records. You can search these records directly. However, we think the best way to find your ancestors in historical records is to begin your online family tree.  Enter any names, dates and places you can from recent family history into your tree. We’ll use what you enter to immediately start searching Ancestry for missing details about your ancestors. You’ll see a hint ( ) in your tree when we find a related record.

Here are some details on specific historical records

Census and Voter Lists

Learn if your ancestors were early voters, born in other countries or had unusual occupations. You could also get details about their ages, places of birth, ethnic backgrounds, marriages, children – even details about their neighbours.

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Military Records

Find your family’s military heroes from World War I and II. See enlistment dates, learn about medals they were awarded, locate gravesites and discover personal details like a physical description, signature and more.

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Immigration & Emigration Records

Discover your ancestral homeland and recreate family journeys across oceans. Learn ancestors’ birthplaces, the ports and dates of departure and arrival, the names and types of ships they travelled on and the people they travelled with.

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Newspapers and Periodicals

Explore millions of pages in our collection of newspapers covering hundreds of years of history. Find family members in wedding and birth announcements, obituaries, legal notices, classifieds and more.

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Many Other Useful Records

Ancestry also has millions of birth, marriage and death indexes, Parish and Probate documents, family and local histories, plus historical maps, photos from the mid–1800s, millions of member-contributed photos and audio stories – and much much more.

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