Vital records, as considered
here, are primarily civil (or non-church) records of births, marriages, and
deaths and can be an important source of genealogical evidence. They do not have
a place in every American pedigree problem because they are a relatively
recent source in most areas of the country, but where they apply their use is
essential and research is not complete without them.
Val D. Greenwood,
Guide to American Genealogy.