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Birth, Marriage and Death (BMD)

Birth, Marriage, and Death (or BMD for short) are the most common and often earliest facts found for an individual; after an identifying given name and maybe surname.  Most records to be searched are used to extract this basic, vital information of the individual. Thus these recprds are also termed vital records.  As such, they become the dates and facts from which a genealogical record structure is created. That is, the individual, the family(ies), and dates and places of events associated with them both.

A decree in 1502 by a bishop in Genoa became more formal and widespread with the Council of Trent decree in 1563 that the sacraments of Baptism, Marriage and Burial be recorded1.  Otherwise, governments tended to only record information about individuals for tax collection or inheritence before and after this.  Not until the 1800’s and mostly not until 1900 did the States in the United States more formally start recording these vital records for all individuals.  In the United States, after census records, BMD vital records are the next level often searched for with Family and individuals.

1 Kamen, Henry, “The Phoenix and the Flame: Catalonia and the Counter Reformation”, 1993, Yale University Press, p164