Vital records are the listings of births, marriage, and deaths recorded for a given town, county or state. The vital records that we seek are a relatively new record, in many instances not coming into existence until the 1900s.
When searching for births marriages, or deaths, the first place that we look is the officially recorded records at the town, county, or state level. One of the problems with these records is that as you go from the more local governments to the state, you will quickly discover that the certificates were not recorded for many years.
Newspapers can fill in gaps, either when the records were not kept or when there was limited information written in the earlier registers. Entries of birth, marriages, and deaths may offer additional information about the family. Unlike the vital records that often include only basic information an in a standard format, newspaper entries are sometimes full of information. Working in newspapers also means looking in a number of different places for the various announcements of birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial.
With the United States: Newspaper Records course you will learn more about what you can discover in your research.