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Len’s Expert Advice: Think outside regional boundaries

Searching for vital records: 

Births, marriages, and deaths are registered (if they are in fact registered!) in states and provinces, and an index can usually be searched for time periods up to twenty years, but place is constraining on a search, although useful as a criterion.

 It’s important to remember that people moved around more than we imagine, and a marriage in the next county over from the known county of residence can be the right one after all. But it will be excluded from your results if you only search for marriages in the county of residence.

Now, what would the next county be?

- Len Chester

Len Chester is the Resident Genealogist at the Ontario Genealogical Society’s provincial office. He is a retired librarian and Family History Centre volunteer with over 40  years experience assisting others in conducting their genealogical research.  He is available to help you puzzle out your records. Contact him at 


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