Showing posts with label vital records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vital records. Show all posts

Monday, October 16, 2017

Family History Month: Who Needs an Official Record?

Too often, states only want to sell "official" vital records, charging fees that are more than I really want to pay.

So I applaud the Ohio History Connection for making death certificates available for just $7 each. These are uncertified and not for any official use, but perfect for genealogy! All I want is to  pull every last detail from such records.

Of course, not all of the details are going to be accurate. Case in point is this death cert, obtained through Ohiohistory.org. It's for hubby's grandfather, James Edgar Wood.

The most accurate piece of info on this is the death date. The informant's name is completely incorrect, the widow's name is incorrect, the father's name is completely incorrect. No mother's name is shown, and the birthplace of the mother is entirely incorrect. Note that the handwritten name of deceased had to be corrected from "Woods" to "Wood."

Let me say how glad I am that I only spent $7 on this unofficial copy! I'm collecting and digitizing all BMD and naturalization records for everyone in my direct line and that of my husband, so it's great to be able to save a few bucks. And to help other researchers, I always post purchased records like this on my public family trees.

For more in my Genealogy, Free or Fee series, click here.

 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Tuesday's Tip: Free or Fee Genealogy, Part 2

Birth, marriage, death records really are vital records, since they have vital details for genealogical research. But they're not the only records I feel are vital for my Genealogy Go-Over and for ongoing discoveries about ancestors in my family tree.

Naturalization papers are a treasure trove of info, really important when I don't know someone's home town or birth date, and of course the names of witnesses can be the icing on the cake. When an ancestor is in my direct line, I usually do my best to get his or her naturalization, even if I have to pay for it, so I can double-check against other documents in my possession. Still, ordering from NARA takes time, not just money.

My favorite free source is Family Search, and even if I have to order a low-cost microfilm of naturalizations, it's a bargain and doesn't take much time. Many naturalizations are currently available through my Ancestry subscription, but not all. I used to have Fold3 access, which put many naturalizations at my finger tips.

Since many of my ancestors (maybe yours too) came through Ellis Island or Castle Garden and stayed in the New York/New Jersey area, I use Italiangen.org to see what naturalization documents are available before I make up my mind about paying.

Naturalizations in other countries aren't as easy to obtain from a distance. I was elated to discover last year that my great-uncle Abraham Berk's naturalization file could be requested from the Canadian authorities for the princely sum of $5 . . . until I realized that only Canadian residents could make the request. May I say how lucky I am that a friendly genealogy blogger in Canada graciously volunteered to place the order? Only a few weeks later, she scanned and sent me pages and pages of fascinating details from his file, including the document shown here, confirming his home town and other key details. Wow.

BONUS: After sharing my previous post on this subject with the Genealogy Do-Over community on Facebook, commenters there and on my blog offered more ideas about ways to save money on vital records and other genealogical documents. Here are some of their ideas:

  • Check to see if there's a Facebook genealogy page for the locality where your ancestor was living or born/married/died. A volunteer might know of a local source for the document you're seeking or be willing to get it for you.
  • Consider a "road trip" to get multiple documents from local authorities, if feasible.
  • Check with the local genealogical society or historical society about whether some documents are in their files. (It works: I've saved some money this way, paying the local society for photocopies and a small donation.)
  • Do a thorough online search--some places have put parish records and census records online, for example.
  • Request help from the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness folks, paying for copies etc.