It’s a truism of genealogy that the laws determine what records might be available. One also hears an echo of Hal Holbrook in All the President’s Men: “Follow the money!” And, as Carl von Clausewitz said, war is the continuation of politics by other means.
Put these together, and you see that aside from vital records, most records are generated by laws, money, and militaries. In my week at Samford, I am studying the effect of land and wars on the records of Virginia. (Last year, we covered the impact of law more generally.)