The variety of records available in foreign countries
is generally not as broad as in North America, and accessing those records
is not as easy. However, this is no reason not to learn about a number
of other foreign records which still have some value in your search for
an immigrant's origins. Even more so than in North America, most foreign
genealogical records were created by some level of government, with religious
records (church and synagogue) being the major exception. Major, nationwide
records, such as census and vital records, as well as records documenting
emigration were the subject of recent lessons.
The remaining government records of value were often
kept by local governments, and, since they do not focus on emigrants (as
do departure lists, for example), they may be overlooked in your search
for your immigrant's origins. However, before your immigrants left their
home country, they may have been recorded in a number of records, just
as happened while they were living in their new country.
Remember when using these records that a person with
the same name as your immigrant is not necessarily the same person. The
vast majority of persons in the old country did not emigrate, so the vast
majority of persons in these records are not emigrants either. This reinforces
one of the basic principles discussed in some of the very first lessons:
You must have sufficient information about the immigrant. Now is the time
that information becomes invaluable.