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Sources play a key role in genealogy.


A source is a text (sometimes oral presentation, audio recording, video recording) from which (genealogical) information is derived.

Scientifically, one will make 3 distinctions:

  1. Primary source : text which is a firsthand written evidence of history, made at the time of the event by someone who has seen it happen. Eg: diaries, certificates, newspapers, ...
  2. Secondary source : Written accounts of history based upon the evidence from primary sources and other secondary sources, offering commentary and analysis. Eg: history books, genealogical publications,...
  3. Tertiary source : selection and compilation of primary and secondary sources. Eg: library catalogue, bibliographies, ...

Most important genealogical sources

Official documents

Religious documents