Monday, March 9, 2009

Finding Funeral Home Records

Another of those obscure sources that can provide rich information, the value of funeral home records cannot be denied, if you can gain access. In her article, "Finding Funeral Home Records," Gena Philbert-Ortega points out, many are no longer in existence and funeral homes are under no obligation to provide what information is available, so when you do find a funeral home of interest that does exist, approach them with great patience and all the manners mother taught.

Funeral home records can be an added bonus in researching 19th and 20th century ancestors. Funeral home records can provide genealogical information as well as information about the funeral itself.

Labels: ,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tennessee death indexes online

An article in the Genealogy column on reports the death records for the state of Tennessee are now available online in three separate indexes. The information can be used to order original documents. Tennessee began recording death records in 1908. Here are links to those sites offering the indexes: Tennessee State Archives and Library, Index to Tennessee Death Records 1908-1912; Tennessee State Archives and Library, Statewide Index to Tennessee Death Records 1914 - 1926; Memphis Public Library History and Genealogy Index -- this index allows the visitor to search Memphis/Shelby County deaths (1848-1945) from the Memphis Death Register books and yellow fever deaths recorded during an epidemic in 1878. Also included in the database are the Freedmen's Bureau marriage index of 1863-4.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Free SSDI now at GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank, a leading provider of historical and recent newspapers for family history research, announced in a press release that the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) will now be offered free of charge at Best of all, it can be cross-searched with the thousands of newspapers and government documents available through GenealogyBank, offering researchers unsurpassed firsthand perspectives of the triumphs, struggles and daily lives of their American ancestors.

"GenealogyBank's Social Security Death Index is unique with weekly updates, easy-to-use format and comprehensive coverage," says Tom Kemp, Genealogy Director for NewsBank, inc. "It's simply the most comprehensive index online. Making it available for free is our way of giving back to the genealogy community." Exclusive features include the full date of death (including day of the week) and the deceased's age (expressed in years, months and days).

Labels: ,

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mom's Kitchen, back behind the peanut butter . . .

What do a lawn mower shop and a funeral parlor have in common? Mom's kitchen, and it's not her cooking. On first hearing Larry Naukam's, "The Long and Winding Road," one might think the story a bit far-fetched, but in genealogy anything is possible, which is precisely his point never give up. Experiences such as this really help us take heart and realize the information is out there . . . . somewhere . . . over the rainbow.

Labels: ,

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Georgia death certificates 1919-1927 now online

FamilySearch has announced the completion of two new online projects and asks for volunteers to help them in a third, according to an article on, "FamilySearch completes two new online projects."

FamilySearch Record Services, the Georgia Archives, and the Georgia State Office of Vital Records and Statistics recently entered into a cooperative effort to place the Georgia death certificates online. Now approximately 275,000 Georgia death records from 1919-1927 can be viewed for free at one of two Web sites. The sites have an online searchable index that is linked to a scanned digital image of each death record. These can be viewed by going to (go to the virtual vault), or at

FamilySearch is also launching a Latin America project and needs 10,000 volunteers who can read both English and Spanish to help index Mexican, Argentine, and other Latin American records for placement on the Internet. The first records to be indexed will be the 1930 Mexican census. Volunteers would download one census page at a time onto their home computers, index that page, and send it back to Family search. Each page would take about 30 minutes to index and volunteers would work at their own pace, accepting only as many pages as they have time for. If you want to be a part of this exciting project, register at Por favor!

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 1, 2007

Census Mortality Schedules -- an often overlooked resource

While the Census is well known for its value to family history research, the various schedules appearing with the Census over the years are often overlooked. One of those schedules is the Census Mortality Schedule that began with the 1850 Census. In her article, "Mortality Schedules Are Often Overlooked," Karan Pittman provides insight into these schedules and how they might be utilized.

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Thousands of New Zealand headstone photos online

Good news on TVNZ, "Council puts the dead online." An online cemetery is proving a valuable tool for New Zealanders keen to trace their family history. Timaru District Council has put thousands of images on its web site after laboriously taking 35,500 photos of headstones. Council spokesman Bill Steans says the council took the photos from six cemeteries and loaded every single headstone onto their website. He says the site helps relatives find graves, whether they are local or living overseas, and is also used for paying respects. To search these records visit, Timaru District Council Online.

Labels: , ,

Monday, September 3, 2007

Florida cemetery improvies information access and accuracy

Worth noting is an article in The High Springs Herald (Florida), "Newberry documents every grave site as part of major cemetery overhaul." According to the article, Newberry's General Services Department has updated and corrected the information on thousands of burial sites at the Newberry Cemetery over the past six months. A newly constructed kiosk, donated by local business owners, shows all of the compiled information so people can locate specific grave sites. In the kiosk is a large map of the cemetery and an alphabetical listing of those laid to rest. Following the names are detailed descriptions of where their site is located. Ideally, the kiosk will be updated every month.

While the records associated with the cemetery are now organized in an impeccably neat 5-inch binder as well as a computer program, the records used to consist of a single, old binder full of mismatched papers from nearly a century of records.

I could not find on the city's web site that this specific updated information is available online, I did find a transcription for Newberry Cemetery on Rootsweb.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, August 18, 2007

New Mexico Death Index Project

A column in the Albuquerque Tribune, "Death records mark beginning points for genealogists," summarizes a few New Mexico online resources. Of particular interest is the New Mexico Death Index Project. As stated in the article, "volunteers extracted names, ages and counties from thousands of state-issued death certificates from 1899 to 1949. You'll find alphabetical links to the index. The index includes name, death date and age. Most of the ages have three digits, such as 486. . . . That means he died at age 48 years and six months. For later deaths, be sure to follow the link to the Death Index, Part II." Of course, this is an index only, so you still have to go one step further to obtain the actual death certificate, which the author notes are on microfilm in the Special Collections Library in downtown Albuquerque. However, being a privacy state, New Mexico presents more than a few challenges for researchers. Records less than 100 years old are available only to immediate family members or those who can demonstrate tangible legal interest. But the index is open to all and puts you one step closer than you might have been.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Find-a-Grave announces partnership with WorldVitalRecords

In a press release yesterday, Find a Grave announced its partnership with today, bringing more than 16 million grave records free to access online at Find A Grave has grown over the past 12 years with more than 200,000 individuals contributing valuable information such as lists of cemeteries, names, photographs, and additional burial information.

Genealogy expert, Leland Meitzler, applauded the new partnership. “Cemetery records are critical for genealogy. The bottom line is that in many cases, the cemetery is the only place you will find a record of some folks. For some babies a cemetery is the only place where something was recorded that they actually lived,” Meitzler said. “Infant mortality was rampant, even . . . just a few decades ago. In my own case, I have a number of children’s death records, and the only place I found them was in the cemetery.”

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Free Mortality Schedules search tool released

Announced in a recent press release, has released a new research tool for researching census mortality schedules which have been transcribed and posted across the web. is a directory of these schedules which provides a search function to find surnames for genealogy research., indexes and links to online transcriptions of the Federal Census Mortality Schedules which were taken during census years 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. These schedules list deaths which occurred in the enumeration district for the previous year.

A valuable resource for genealogy studies, mortality schedules contain information that, in many cases, give the only record of an ancestor's death. The census enumerators were instructed to give great care and obtain accurate information, especially for these mortality schedules. Bill Cribbs, the owner and webmaster for both and, spent many days combing cyberspace, to find transcriptions of these records. Most of these online transcriptions were made by individuals who volunteer their time and effort freely. A volunteer will normally transcribe an individual county or, in most cases, one census year for that county. Thousands of transcriptions are located on a multitude of servers across the web.

"I compiled a directory of every schedule that I could locate. There are still more to be found and they are being added to as they are discovered," stated Cribbs. The site is free to use and is made possible by the promotion of and links to

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

SSDI Overview

In his article, "Social Security Death Index (SSDI) Overview," Alan Smith provides a basic overview and insights into the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). The article notes that the SSDI includes some 400,000 railroad retirement records from early 1900s to 1950s. To clarify, we have this from the RootsWeb site quoted in the article, "Railroad workers were enrolled in the same Social Security program, but from 1937 to 1963 they had numbers ranging between 700 and 728 as the first three digits. In 1964 their numbers began to reflect the same geographic location as other workers. Some railroad workers received Social Security benefits, but some did not. However, it is wise to check the SSDI in any case."

Labels: , ,

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Isle of Wight cemetery data now available

An article out today in the, Gravesite survey team presents its findings, reports the availability of new cemetery data in the UK. A survey team has gathered information at 96 cemeteries for over 11, 500 graves and counting. The information was presented this week to the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors and will be made available to the general public at the Carrollton Library and Smithfield Library for genealogy studies. No word of its being online.

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 7, 2007

New insights on SSDI

An article in the Home News Tribune (NJ), launches ancestry-search tool, announces its new data web site. Among other forms of public data, this site features the Social Security Death Index for New Jersey. What is interesting about the article itself is it's general summary of the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), what it is and how it's used. So even if you are very familiar with the SSDI as a research tool, the article may provide some new and interesting insights.

Labels: , ,

GenWeekly -- Delivering a Fresh Perspective for Genealogists