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Category: vital records

Genealogy Volunteer Opportunity

Genealogy Volunteer Opportunity

All those records in Granite Mountain near Salt Lake City are being digitalized and will eventually be available online free.

As you can imagine, there are millions of records which the LDS Church has collected over the years. They have the digitalizing down to a science and anticipate it will be completed in 10 years. That’s the worldwide collection.

The indexing, which is necessary before you can search these records, is done by volunteers, checked and double checked, will take longer. There’s just one problem. At the current rate the volunteers are working it will take 300 YEARS.

You don’t have to be a member of the LDS Church to volunteer to index. You don’t have to go to a Family History Center. You can do it from the comfort of your home. You need a computer and internet access. You don’t have to have a fast internet access. You can chose to work offline but you will need the connection to download the software, download the projects and upload them when you are done.

There is a time limit for each project but if you can commit an hour over the week after you download a project you are fine. Some projects take less than than that but that’s the time they suggest. And once the project is indexed and goes through the checking process it goes online.

To volunteer go to beta.familysearch.org. Sign up and download the software. I strongly suggest you view the training even if you find it simple. The main reason is there are a few instructions in there on the rules for handling specific situations such as when you can’t read the handwriting [and obviously you will encounter this issue]. At the end you’ll find you can actually download the training file and the “handout” for future reference.

If you need help there are FAQS and resources and a forum. The forums are a separate signup although you can use the same name as your indexing user name if you wish.

If you are reading this I assume you read English but if you read other languages remember this is a worldwide project and records come in all languages.

If every genealogist and historian volunteered for one project – one hour – a week it would have an impact on the timeline for completion. What are you waiting for?

FamilySearch

FamilySearch

FamilySearch is constantly adding searchable records.

I tested their records for Cook County, Illinois. I note you cannot right click and save a section but if you have Windows 7 you can use the snipping tool. If you hover over a name you get more information, perhaps spouse, parents and/or children. And if it is a vital record you can order a copy from the Cook County Clerk.

It produced assorted birth, death and immigration records for the surname. I note they have not done a bang up job with the ethnic names or the foreign birthplaces so you need to be flexible. Needless to say, the document may not have spelled things correctly to begin with.

I then tried their Wisconsin records. Hovering produces information which can be copied.

I could not find a Civil War pension index card for my 2g grandfather – there is a widow’s pension application and a dependent pension record. It’s a work in progress and perhaps they haven’t gotten to them.

You need to check back periodically to see if they have added a database you can use. You can also volunteer to help with the transcribing.

Vital Records and Alternates

Vital Records and Alternates

In 1900 only 18 states [including future states] registered vital records. It was not mandatory in all of those, but it was encouraged.

Thus you might find vital records in Vermont back to 1779, Massachusetts 1842, New Jersey 1843, Connecticut 1859, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Virginia 1853, Delaware 1861, Florida 1865, Michigan 1867, Arizona, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York 1880, Illinois 1887, Maine 1892, North Dakota 1893, Maryland 1898.

Illinois did not mandate the registration of vital records with the state until 1916. Marriage records were always kept but birth and death were not. Logan County has marriage records back to 1857 but marriage records also exist for 1820-1839 under Sangamon County at IRAD. The only missing records are those for 1839-1856 due to the courthouse fire.

Logan has sporadic birth and death records dating to 1878. Probate records go back to 1855 and, again, there are earlier records at IRAD. Deeds go back to 1829. Court records date to 1857. Initial land purchases from the beginning are at the Bureau of Land Management.

The 1855 Illinois State Census for Logan County exists as well as the federal census records for all years. There is also the 1862 Military Census. Remember that Logan County is covered in the 1830 Sangamon County federal census. Census images for 1830 Sangamon, 1840 and 1850 Logan are online free along with lists for the 1855 Logan County state census and the 1862 military census. Go to the Logan County ILGenWeb site for links.

Cemetery lists for many cemeteries are online at the Logan County site. The Decatur Genealogical Society has cemetery listings made in the 1960s and early 1970 for most cemeteries in books which they sell quite reasonably. The Logan County Genealogical & Historical Society has some cemetery books and several history books with name indexes.

MARRIAGE RECORDS IN HIDING

MARRIAGE RECORDS IN HIDING

A common question is “why can’t I find my ancestor’s birth/death/marriage certificate?”

The answer to no birth or death certificate is generally simple. The State of Illinois did not MANDATE such records prior to 1916. After that it is a bigger issue and the subject of a different post.

Marriage records were always required and yet many times they cannot be located.

Obviously, they may not have gotten married where you think they got married. For Illinois marriages prior to 1900 researchers are in luck. The State Archives database, online, free and searchable, lists most marriages prior to 1900. You do not have to know the exact year. You can search by bride or groom’s name, then by county or statewide.

Start your search here: http://www.ilsos.gov/GenealogyMWeb/marrsrch.html

The State Archives volunteers are working on 1900-1915.

My great grandparents have no marriage record in Illinois. I have searched statewide by their real names and assorted different spellings. I have been to the county courthouse in the county where one would assume they married and checked the county courthouse where his obit says they married. There were no courthouse fires between then and now.

Their first child was born more than nine months after the marriage, almost two years before if you believe the one census that lists it, the 1890 census being lost. [I don’t.] I can think of no reason to hide or otherwise destroy the record.

They married in the winter, Valentine’s Day. There is a formal portrait of the couple, probably not taken on the wedding day but undoubtedly shortly thereafter, before her first pregnancy was visible.

Less than 20 years later he was dead and she was left with four sons. There are court records certifying her as the widow. So where the heck is that marriage certificate?

Perhaps the minister lost the return before he had a chance to turn it in. Perhaps the clerk lost it. Perhaps it was lost sometime in the next 100 years that passed before anyone noticed it could not be found. Maybe they weren’t ever legally married. I find that idea intriguing although if it true I don’t think they or anyone else in the family knew it.

This is one of those mysteries I don’t think we will ever solve.