My cousin had always told me that her aunt Anna (my great-aunt) died in 1940, but I had no exact date and didn't follow up--until last month, when I used the excellent Italian Genealogical Group web site's databases to find her among the NYC records the volunteers have painstakingly cross-indexed and made available. I sent for the death cert, thinking it would be months before it arrived. NYC surprised me and processed the request in less than 2 weeks. Now I have Anna's parents' full names and birth countries! And using that, I've already found them in, of all places, Connecticut. More research ahead.
Alas, without Ancestry.com at home. The price was just too dear and I've let my subscription lapse, effective this week. At least my library subscribes so I can always go there to do my research. And I can use Heritage Quest from home, thanks to my state library's site. Too bad about Ancestry but it's priced too high for ordinary folks--Ancestry, are you listening?