We are familiar with the traditional birth certificate research. We use those for documenting the birth date of an ancestor, their parents' names, and their location in time. But you do not have to go too far back in your research timeline to a point when formal birth records were required. The question in your research very quickly becomes... How do you determine a birth date for your ancestor in the absence of a birth certificate?
Are you wondering where your ancestors lived before they came to America? We need know our immigrating ancestor on this side of the ocean first. Their lives in America often provide the answers you seek.
One of the common frustrations I hear from you, my readers, is the lack of records for your poor or destitute ancestors. Yes, our poor ancestors certainly present with some unique research challenges. Your poor ancestors very well may be found in county and federal records. We have to think outside of the genealogy box (again) and see what records we need to include in our search for these poor ancestors.