Wednesday, January 23, 2008

News to Know — FamilySearch Labs Records Online

I'm not sure if everybody who reads this blog realizes all of the cool things going on at the FamilySearch Labs Web site. They have been indexing a whole slew of different types of records. Some are already available and ready for viewing online. So why should you care? Well, for those of us living here in Ohio, the ability to see the actual death certificates from the Ohio Historical Society's own Death Index is enough to make you do a genealogical happy dance. That's right you can SEE THEM, SAVE THEM, PRINT THEM.

To view the records, you must first register. You can do that by going here Next, you have to be patient while you wait to get your confirmation e-mail telling you that you have completed the registration process, and can now go online.

Not all the records available for viewing have been indexed, but the Ohio Death Certificates are not only searchable, but there are advanced options that allow you to search, for example, by a mother's maiden name. Of course, the indexing is only as good as the information that was supplied on the actual death certificate, but the possibilities of finding lost siblings for great grandma or great grandpa are lovely to contemplate.

Records (that's the ACTUAL IMAGES) available for viewing that have been indexed and are now searchable include:

1. 1900 US Census
2. 1895 Argentina Census
3. Freedman Bank Records 1865-1874
4. England, Cheshire, Register of Electors 1842-1940
5. Maryland, Cecil County Probate Estate Files 1851 -1940
6. Freedmen's Bureau Virginia Marriages ca 1815-1866
7. Georgia Deaths 1914-1927
8. Utah Death Certificates 1904 -1956
9. Ohio Death Certificates December 20, 1908-1956

Other records are available for browsing (such as 1942 World War II Draft Registration cards, which are about 30% complete), along with indexes or abstracted information (such as Ontario Deaths 1869-1947 or Texas Death Index 1964-1998) which have been indexed and are searchable.

I have to admit when I first heard about the agreement brokered between The Generations Network (parent of and the FamilySearch folks allowing free access to at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, along with 13 of the largest regional family history centers, I wondered if that meant that FamilySearch may have quietly agreed to stop putting records online that people could view for FREE. I'm suspicious that way. I guess only time will tell how this all plays out for the little guy living out here in corn country.

If you would like to be a part of the indexing movement going on at FamilySearch Labs, you can read the details at

Until Next Time — Happy Ancestral Digging!

Note this post first published online, January 23, 2008, at Desktop Genealogist Blog at The News-Messenger Online

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