I know that in more recent times almost every birth, death and marriage was documented and extensive information was often recorded, but when did this become common?
For relatively recent genealogy, 1850+, there are often really good records online, but as you get into the 1700s the records become harder to find. Does anyone know when the government or churches really started officially recording births, marriages, and deaths? At what date am I usually going to be looking for something that is not existent?
I am working primarily in Harford County Maryland if that helps.