Vital Records: Birth, Marriage & DeathVital Records are birth, marriage and death records. Most contain information about additional family members. Birth records will certainly contain the names of the parents. Marriage records will usually include the names of all four parents, and often will have the family name of the mothers of the bride and groom. Death records frequently have the name of parents and spouse, and sometimes a child will be the "informant" -- the person who reported information about the death.
Several other records are considered BMD records. Baptisms, divorces, cemetery records and obituaries, for example. Obituaries/death notices are very valuable reocrds because they often list the names of family members and are a snapshot -- or more -- of an individual's life. Cemetery records are important because other family members are often buried in the same place, sometimes going back generations. Not everyone has a death notice or obituary, but nearly everyone has a gravestone.