Overview of Vital Records
From Ancestry.com Wiki
Vital records, as their name suggests, are connected with central life events: birth, marriage, and death. These records are prime sources of genealogical information, but, unfortunately, official vital records (those maintained by county and state governments), are available only for relatively recent time periods. Marriage records, the oldest of the vital records, will be considered first. The more recent records of birth and death will follow. The chapter concludes with a discussion of records related to the burial of an individual and suggestions for cemetery searches.