FamilySearch.org USA Death and Probate Record Databases Update

Here are recent USA death and probate related records databases updated at Family Search.org. We have also updated the following records on this site:

 

 

THE FOLLOWING MARRIAGE RECORD RELATED DATABASES WERE POSTED OR UPDATED AT FAMILYSEARCH.ORG SINCE 25 July 2012:

 

Texas, Comanche County Records, 1858-1955Browsable Images – Not indexed yet – Records from Comanche County, Texas including births, marriages, divorce minutes, court records, probate records, and scholastic census records – 321,875 images as of 30 August 2012; up 730 images from 19 June 2011.

Tennessee, White County Records, 1809-1975 -Browsable Images – includes marriages, 1950-1975; chancery court records 1825-1937, and circuit court records, 1809-1900. The county court records include primarily probate records. The chancery and circuit court records include disputed estate and property records, some wills, and divorces. 203,799 images as of 26 September 2012.

Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Towns Records, 1579-2001 – Browsable Images – Vital and town records acquired from local town clerk offices. These include birth, marriage, and death records. 1,239,396 images as of 27 September 2012.

Maine, Vital Records, 1670-1907  – Imaged Records – Name index and images of birth, marriage and death returns acquired from the State Board of Health, Division of Vital Statistics and the state archives. Records are organized alphabetically, then chronologically within a name. The collection is divided into three parts, Vital Records Prior to 1892, 80 towns, Vital Records, 1892-1907, and Delayed returns for births, deaths, and marriages, 1670-1891. At present, only the 1892-1907 vital records have been indexed. 634,833 records and 2,466,220 images as of 28 September 2012.

Vermont, Vital Records, 1760-2003 – Browsable Images – Part of set used under Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954. The collections consist of a name index and images (index cards) of town clerk transcriptions of births, marriages and deaths for the years 1760 to 1954. Indexing continues on records outside this year range and will be added to the collection as they are completed. Images for the years 1955 to 2008 courtesy of Ancestry.com and the Vermont State Archives. The records in this collection are for the years 1760 to 2003. 1,162,117 images as of 4 October 2012.

North Carolina, Davidson County Vital Records, 1867-1984 – Browsable Images – Images of death records and marriage licenses recorded in Davidson County, North Carolina. Some of the individual volumes include an index and there are comprehensive indexes to some of the records. 79,128 images as of 14 October 2012.

[NEW] Idaho, Twin Falls County Records, 1906-1988 – Browsable Images – Death index, probate index, marriages, deeds, homesteads, patents discharges, and coroner’s records from the Clerk of District Court, Clerk and Recorder offices in Twin Falls. This collection is being published as images become available. 91,387 images as of 25 October 2012.

[NEW] Idaho, Lemhi County Records, 1868-1964 – Browsable Images – Marriage, coroners, deeds, declarations of intention, discharges, estate files, school census and student records from the county courthouse in Salmon. This collection is being published as images become available. 129,909 images as of 3 December 2012.

[NEW] New Hampshire, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1636-1947 – Browsable Images – Include birth, marriage, and death records. 402,443 images as of 7 November 2012.

Montana, Chouteau County Records,1876-2011 – Browsable Images – Images of Chouteau County records held at various repositories. Records located in the Museum of the Northern Plains (River and Plains Society) include voter registers, school district records, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church records, Riverside Cemetery records and newspapers clippings of births, marriages and deaths. Records held by the Chouteau County Courthouse include birth, death, probate, naturalization, deeds and school census records. This collection is being published as image become available. — 241,430 images as of 17 November 2012.

[NEW] Oregon, Marion County Records, 1849-1976 – Browsable Images – Includes marriage, birth, land and property, probate, naturalization, tax and old age pension records from the Marion County Clerk. – 406,225 images as of 19 November 2012.

Colorado, Denver County Probate Case Files, 1900-1925 – Browsable Images – Probate case files acquired from the Colorado State Archives in Denver. The collection begins with case number 6407. Files regarding insanity records and adoption material were restricted by the state when the records were acquired and are missing from this collection. – 1,544,153 records as of 30 July 2012.

[NEW] Texas, Deaths (New Index, New Images), 1890-1976 –  Index and images – of Texas statewide death certificates–including delayed certificates, foreign deaths, and probate obituaries–from the Texas Department of State Health Services in Austin. The delayed records are grouped with regular death certificates and, although frequently located in the final few volumes of a given year, can sometimes be found interspersed throughout a volume set- 4,543,234 records and 8,892,130 images as of 11 August 2012.

[NEW] Illinois, Cemetery Transcriptions, 1853-2009 – Browsable Images – Images of cemetery transcriptions and records in Illinois. Although the collection currently contains records from Elmwood cemetery in Centralia, more cemeteries will be added. The time period and coverage varies by cemetery; 5,040 images as of 14 August 2012.

[NEW] Idaho, Obituaries, 2007 – Browsable Images – Digital images of originals collected and housed by the Idaho Falls Regional Family History Center. Obituaries are from various Idaho newspapers printed in 2007. This collection has multiple arrangements: by Idaho city or town, mixed cities and name, and by out of state deaths of Idaho natives; 9,165 images as of 14 August 2012.

Maryland, Probate Estate & Guardianship Files 1796-1940 – Name index and images of probate estate files from the Register of Wills office in the county courthouse. Currently, the following counties are represented in this collection: Calvert (1882-1940), (1838-1940), Cecil (1851-1940), Kent (1749-1940), Prince George’s (1796-1940), and Queen Anne’s (1833-1940), Wicomico (1868-1940) and portions of Allegany (1779-1946) – 72,764 records and 1,485,033 images as of 15 August 2012; up  9,797 records and 268,008 images since 9 September 2011.

Kentucky Probate Records, 1792-1977Index and Images – Index of probate records created in Kentucky county courts. Probate records include wills, bonds, inventories of estates and other records. Date and record coverage varies by county. The current collection includes records for Caldwell, Henry, Hickman, Russell and Trimble counties. This is an ongoing project that is 32% complete. More records will be published as they become available.t – 12,429 records and 623,942 images as of 17 August 2012; records were added after 24 August, 2011.

[NEW] Mississippi, Probate Records, 1781-1930 – Browsable Images – This collection includes probate records filed in Mississippi county courts. A few records may go beyond 1930, but most records in this collection were created between 1850 and 1930. The records include wills, administrations, inventories, court minutes, guardianships and other records of estates – 4,302,124 images as of 31 August 2012.

Ohio, Stark County Coroner’s Records – 1890-2002Imaged Records – Images of Coroner’s Inquest books, reports, and case files from the courthouse in Canton, Ohio. This collection is being published as images become available – 57,110 images as of 7 September 2012; up 956 images as of 29 November 2011.

[NEW] Texas, Probate Records, 1800-1990 – Browsable Images – This collection contains images of probate records from seventy-five different counties in the state of Texas. The content and time period of these records vary by county – 1,164,427 images as of 12 September 2012.

North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1964Imaged Records – Index and images of estate files from North Carolina counties. The originals were filmed at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History. The estate records contain loose papers relating to the settlement of estates including such matters as provision for heirs including minor children as well as distribution of funds, land and property, including slaves – This project was indexed in partnership with the North Carolina Genealogical Society and Library – 122,940 records and 2,984,447 images as of 25 September 2012; Up 23,410 records and 540,831images since 13 June 2012.

Ohio, Probate Records, 1789-1996Browsable Images – Probate records and estate files from county courthouses in Ohio. The content and time period varies by county. – 6,996,317 records as of 27 September 2012; up 3,199,343 records since 5 June 2012.

[NEW] Florida, Probate Records, 1784-1990 – Browsable Images – Collection of probate records, including case files, wills and other documents created by the probate courts of various Florida counties. Probates were generally recorded in the county of residence. The records in this collection were created 1784-1990, but the content and time period of the records varies by county – 660,294 images as of 27 September 2012.

[NEW] Alabama, Probate Records, 1809-1985 –  Browsable Images – This collection includes digital images of various probate records created in the county courts in Alabama. It includes wills, administrations, guardianships, estate inventories, bonds and other records – 317,438 images as of 27 September 2012.

California, County Birth and Death Records, 1849-1989Imaged Records – Registers, records and certificates of county birth and death records acquired from county courthouses. This collection contains some delayed birth records, as well. Some city and towns records are also included. Records have not been acquired for Contra Costa, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Modoc, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Siskiyou, Solano, Tulare and Ventura counties. This collection is being published as images become available – 2,919,335 images as of 4 October 2012; up 1,694,678images since 15 June 2012.

Missouri Deaths and Burials, 1867-1976 – Name index to death and burial records from the state of Missouri. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. This set contains 58,813 records. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.

Michigan Deaths and Burials, 1800-1995 – Name index to death and burial records from the state of Michigan. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. This set contains 1,355,265 records. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.

Iowa Death and Burials, 1850-1990 – Name index to death and burial records from the state of Iowa. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later. a – 398,901 records as of 11 October 2012.

New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947Imaged Records – Name index and images of New Hampshire death records. Records consist of index cards that give the name of the deceased, date and place of death, plus often much more information, such as age, place of birth and names of parents. With the town and date of death, the original records can usually be located – 581,056 Records and 1,061,560 images as of 14 October 2012.

[NEW] Maine, Knox County, Probate Estate Files, 1861-1915 – Browsable Images – Estate files located in the Knox County Probate Record Office in Rockland, Maine. This collection is being published as images become available – 58,109 images as of 14 October 2012.

Idaho Death Certificates, 1911-1937 – The certificates are arranged numerically by file number, with a rough chronological arrangement by death date, i.e. month and year – 106,484 Records and 108,834 images as of 8 November 2012.

[NEW] Georgia, Probate Records, 1742-1975 – Browsable Images – This collection includes records of probate proceedings from Georgia counties. The records include estate files, inventories, wills, administrations, minutes, guardianships and other records related to probate – 2,224,833 images as of 8 November 2012.

Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Estate files 1686-1881 Browsable Images – Probate estate files of Plymouth County located at Suffolk County Courthouse in Boston. The files are arranged by number then alphabetical by surname. The files cover the Series 1, 1686-1881. This collection is being published as images become available  – 358,878 images as of 10 November 2012; up 207,874images since 20 December 2011.

[NEW] Maine, Androscoggin County, Probate Estate Files, 1854-1918 – Browsable Images – Probate estate files arranged by case number, docket index books arranged by case number and date and an alphabetical card index acquired from the Androscoggin County Courthouse in Auburn –  258,605 images as of 10 November 2012.

[NEW] Oklahoma, Probate Records, 1887-2008 – Browsable Images – Probate records and estate files from Oklahoma counties. The content and time period varies by county – 6,042,924 images as of 13 November 2012.

[NEW] Arkansas, Probate Records, 1817-1979 – Browsable Images – Collection of probate records, including estate files and other documents created by the probate courts of Arkansas counties. Probates were generally recorded in the county of residence. This collection covers probate records created 1817-1979, but the content and time period of the records varies – 939,415 images as of 13 November 2012.

[NEW] Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967 – Broswable Images – Probate estate files of Plymouth County from two different sources: the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the archive of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts – 302,640 images as of 14 November 2012.

Washington, County Probate Records, 1853-1929Browsable Images – This collection includes county probate records from the Washington State Archives Northwest Regional Branch in Bellingham. They include records from Jefferson, Skagit, Island, Whatcom, San Juan, Clallam and Snohomish counties. This collection is being published as images become available. – 587,055 images as of 19 November 2012; up 392,672 images as of 15 June 2012.

[NEW] New Hampshire, County Probate Records, 1660-1973 –  Browsable Images – Probate records from Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford, and Sullivan counties – 524,272 images as of 19 November 2012.

[NEW] New Hampshire, County Probate Estate Files, 1769-1936 – Browsable Images – County probate estate files for Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, and Rockingham counties. This collection is being published as images become available – 874,310 images as of 19 November 2012.

Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1629-1983 – Browsable Images–Images of probate records from court record collections housed at the Register of Wills in Maryland. Probate records often include wills, and other records dealing with the administration of estates including bonds, inventories, guardianships, real estate, and various indexes to the records. Includes the following counties: Allegany, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington, and Worcester. Also includes records from Baltimore City. This collection is being published as images become available.– 1,227,099 images as of 19 November 2012; up 147,592 images since 22 June 2012.

[NEW] Maine, Death Index, 1960-1996 – Indexed Records – Death index,1960-1996 by the Maine Department of Human Services from the Maine State Archives. Data for 1996 is not complete – 401,960 records as of 19 November 2012.

[NEW] New Jersey, Probate Records, 1678-1980 – Browsable Images – Images of probate records from various court houses in New Jersey. Most records end in 1920 but some counties have records up to the year 1970 – 1,913,824 images as of 21 November 2012.

Maine, County Probate Records, 1760-1979 – Browsable Images – Images of probate records from various court houses in New Jersey. Most records end in 1920 but some counties have records up to the year 1970 – 503,068 images as of 21 November 2012.

[NEW] California, Probate Estate Files,1833-1991 – Browsable Images – Estate files of the Probate and Superior Courts in the counties of Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Glenn, Lassen, Napa, Sacramento, San Benito, and Solano. The date ranges of the files will vary – 2,056,187 images as of 22 November 2012.

Texas Deaths, 1977-1986Imaged Records – Images of Texas statewide death certificates, including delayed certificates, from the Texas Department of State Health Services in Austin. Additional certificates will be added to the collection as they become available. Certificates for 1978 are currently posted by county. – 108,598 records and 1,378,084 images images as of 27 November 2012; up 30,187 records and 372,212 images since 10 July 2012.

[NEW] Tennessee, Putnam County Records, 1854-1955 – Browsable Images – This collection includes records from the circuit and chancery courts of Putnam County. The records include disputed property and estates, wills, divorces and records of other civil proceedings – 121,173 images as of 27 November 2012.

[NEW] Montana, Beaverhead County Records, 1862-2009 – Browsable Images – Images of various record types from the county clerk and recorder offices in Dillon, Montana. Records include voter registration, land and property records, and birth and death records. This collection is being published as images become available – 71,761 images as of 27 November 2012.

Ohio, Summit County, Coroner’s, Hospital and Cemetery Records, 1882-1947Browsable Image Records – Admittance cards,1915-1947 and employment cards,1915-1940 of the Edwin Shaw Hospital; burial permits,1915-1947 of the Briar Hill Cemetery and coroner’s inquest books, 1882-1922 for Summit county- 12,047 images as of 29 November 2012; up 669 images as of 13 January 2012.

Massachusetts, State Vital Records, 1841-1920 – Browsable Imaged Records – Massachusetts births, marriages and deaths, 1916-1920 and state amendments to vital records, 1841-1920 located at the state archives in Boston. This collection is being published as images become available – 742,594 images as of 29 November 2012; up 17,531images since 17 April 2012.

[NEW] Maine, Oxford County, Probate Estate Files, 1805-1915 – Browsable Images – Images of probate estate files located at the Oxford County Courthouse in South Paris. The collection is divided into three parts: 1805-1819, 1820-1899, and 1900-1915. Most of the files are arranged by file drawer number then by name – 177,447 images as of 29 November 2012.

New York Queens County Probate Records, 1899-1921Browsable Images – Images of probate records and proceedings from the Queens County Surrogate’s Court in Jamaica, New York. – 1,256,056 images as of 30 November 2012. Up 301,189 images since 22 February 2012.

New York Orange County Probate Records 1787-1938Browsable Images – Imaged Records of probate records and estate files from the Orange County Surrogate’s Court in Goshen, New York. At this time this collection does not have a name index or any finding aid. – It is published by volume and year range – 867,442 images as of 30 November 2012; up 38,009 images since10 July 2012.

Montana, Yellowstone County Records, 1881-2011 – Browsable Images – Images of vital, probate, deeds and discharge records from the county courthouse in Billings. This collection is being published as images become available – 124,478 images as of 30 November 2012.

[NEW] Louisiana, Orleans Parish Will Books, 1805-1920 – Browsable Images – The Will Books for Orleans Parish courts include copies of all wills filed in Orleans Parish, 1805-1920. The will books comprise 39 bound volumes. Each volume is individually indexed at the front of each book. The will books were created in several courts including the Court of Probates (1805-1846), Second District Court (1846-1880) and Civil District Court (1880-1920). Volume 31, No. 11 is missing; 17,971 images as of 30 November 2012.

Washington State County Records 1856-2009Browsable Imaged Records – The collection consists of various records including official actions, probate records, indexes, etc. The records are from various counties in Washington State, 1856-2009. This is an ongoing collection. The counties will be added to the collection as their records are available. Browse the collection to determine current record and county coverage. 2,400,761 images as of 3 December 2012; up 475,931 images since 22 March 2012.

Vermont, Franklin County Probate Records, 1796 to 1921 – Browsable Imaged Records – Images of probate papers located at the Public Records Office, General Service Center, Middlesex. – 222,759 images as of 24 April 2012 – up 15,761 images since 24 April 2012.

Ohio, Jefferson County Court Records, 1797-1940Browsable Imaged Records – Birth and probate records from Jefferson County, Ohio. This collection is being published as images become available. An index is being created in cooperation with the Jefferson County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society and will be published as it becomes available. Contact the county courthouse to get the case number for a deceased person – 591,571 images as of 5 June 2012. Up 417,630 images from 5 June 2012.

[NEW] New York, Buffalo, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Records, 1812-1970 – Browsable Images – Images of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Buffalo, New York. Only burial records go beyond the 1950s. This collection is being published as images become available; 3,240 images images as of 5 December 2012.

[NEW] New Jersey, Calvary United Methodist Church Records, 1821-2003 – Browsable Images – Church records of the Calvary United Methodist Church (formerly known as Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church) in Keyport, New Jersey. This collection is being published as images become available. Includes funeral records – 2,631 images as of 5 December 2012.

Idaho, Minidoka County Records 1913-1961Imaged Records – Marriage, naturalization, land and property, probate, school and military records located at the county courthouse in Rupert. Includes Register of Estates 1913-1929 and 19562-1961 and Marriages Affidatits 1927-1961, Marriage license stubs 1913-1921, Marriage records 1929-1955, and Marrige Register 1908-1962. This collection is being published as images become available – 42,995 images as of 5 December 2012; up 1,283 images since 16 December 2011.

Iowa, Fayette County Probate Records 1851-1928Imaged Records – Fayette County probate case files located at the Fayette County courthouse in West Union. This collection is being published as images become available – 230,855 images as of 7 December 2012; up 144,006 images since 31 May 2012.

BillionGraves Index – Indexed Records – Name index of burial records courtesy of BillionGraves which is an expansive family history database of records and images from the world’s cemeteries, all tagged with GPS locations. Volunteers around the world capture images of headstones in a cemetery and upload them to the site; 2,382,367 records as of 7 December 2012; up 1,015,156 records since 7 July 2012.

[NEW] Wisconsin, Probate Estate Files, 1848-1935 – Browsable Images – Images of probate estate case files from various counties in Wisconsin. This collection includes Fond du Lac County (1848-1917), Green County (1848-1885), Jackson County (1897-1935), La Crosse County (1877-1935), Pepin County (1900-1935), Shawano County (1861-1933) and Trempealeau County (1900-1920). This collection is being published as images become available; 871,878 images as of 9 December 2012.

California, San Mateo County, Colma, Italian Cemetery Records 1899-2011Imaged Records – Index cards and daily log book of the Italian Cemetery in Colma. This collection is being published as images become available – 32,247 images as of 10 December 2012; up 113 images since 29 September, 1011.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Ruling Eases Access to Pa. Death Records

The following article came from timesunion.com:

Court ruling eases access to Pa. death records

MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press

Updated 12:53 p.m., Thursday, October 18, 2012

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that coroners cannot withhold information about the cause and manner of deaths until after the end of each year.

The high court ruled 5-1 in favor of a south-central Pennsylvania television station that was turned down when it sought such records from the Cumberland County coroner after a Shippensburg University football player died more than three years ago.

The ruling overturned decisions by the Office of Open Records, a county judge and Commonwealth Court, which had all ruled against WGAL-TV and in favor of then-coroner Michael Norris.

The station wanted information about the death of Thomas Rainey, 19, inside his apartment in April 2009. Authorities said Rainey’s death was not suspicious.

The earlier rulings, siding with Norris, had cited a provision of the Coroner’s Act that said their records must be made public for each year by the end of the following January. But the Supreme Court majority said public access requirements under the Right-to-Know Law are not in conflict with the other law, making the records more immediately available.

The court said both laws provide immediate access to cause and manner death records.

Colorado Raises Cost of Death Certificates

Here is an excerpt from an article out The Gazette, Colorado Springs:

Price of Colorado death certificates goes up Wednesday

July 31, 2012 11:29 AM
The Gazette

The price of a death certificate is going up beginning Wednesday to defray the cost of improvements to the electronic records system.

The cost for the first copy of a death certificate will be $20, up from $17. Additional copies of the same record, ordered at the same time, will be $13, up from $10.

Click here to read the full article.

Grand Army of the Republic: Department of Illinois — Transcription of Death Rolls, 1879-1947

We recently reviewed two books with transcriptions of Death Rolls for Union soldiers who were members of the Grand Army of the Republic, as listed here:

The Grand Army of the Republic: Department of Illinois — Transcription of the Death Rolls, 1879-1947 is the book that started it all. Over 409,00 Civil War Union veterans became members of G.A.R. at its peak in 1890. Among other works, the group maintained a list of deceased members. Like the other books in this series, this book is taken from the Journals of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). This exhaustive work by Dennis Northcott, contains the names; ranks; company, regiment or ship; post, age, death date; and Journal entry for Union veterans who died in Illinois. Peak enrollment in G.A.R., Department of Illinois was 32,984, in 1891.

The G.A.R. was the largest association of Union veterans to exist after the war. Begun in 1866, membership reached its peak in 1890, with the last member dying in 1956. Membership was limited to “Soldiers and sailors of the United States Army, Navy or Marine Corps.” Individuals must have served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1866 in the “war for suppression of the rebellion, and those having been honorably discharged therefrom.” The organization created departments on a state level, one per state. Each year the departments would requested the death rolls from local branches for those who had passed. These rolls were usually published in the annual Journal. Each year’s listing was usually a compilations of those who had passed the year before its issue. In other words, someone who died in 1901 probably did not get listed until the publication at the end of 1902. This volume contains more than 32,000 records for soldier from 36 states.

Sometimes the Journals listed obituaries for the deceased. These are not included in this book. However, where they did appear the author made a reference note and has provided an appendix listing to the original Journal reference for those who have an associated obituary. In addition to the Introduction, which elaborates the preceding information, page ix lists abbreviations the reader will encounter throughout the book. In the other two volumes, the author also provides a brief “How to Use This Book” page. The same information applies to this first volume. Here are the basics from this section:

  • Records are listed alphabetically, with all three states grouped together
  • The last column for each record provides the reference data from which Journal of the Annual Encampment from which the record was extracted
  • How to follow the reference for which Post the person served at or in
  • Additional information regarding G.A.R. members may exist in those cases where original G.A.R. records have survived

These death roll records are another great piece to the puzzle of the lost 1890 census. Leads to information missing in the lost census may be found through these death roll records, and other G.A.R. held information.

 

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abbreviations

Death Rolls

Appendix A: Roster of Department of Illinois post names and locations

Appendix B: Roster of Department of Illinois annual encampment dates and locations

Appendix C: Roster of annual membership of the Department of Illinois and the national organization

Appendix D: Members with additional biographical information

Appendix E: Statistical summary of states from which comrades served

Appendix F: Annotated bibliography of Grand Army of the Republic department-level rosters and indexes

 

Grand Army of the Republic: Department of Illinois — Transcription of the Death Rolls, 1879-1947  is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: DN01. Click on the link to purchase

Indiana Civil War Veterans: Transcription of the Death Rolls of the Department of Indiana, Grand Army of the Republic, 1882-1948

Over 409,00 Civil War Union veterans became members of G.A.R. at its peak in 1890. Among other works, the group maintained a list of deceased members. Indiana Civil War Veterans: Transcription of the Death Rolls of the Department of Indiana, Grand Army of the Republic, 1882-1948, is taken from the Journals of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). This exhaustive work by Dennis Northcott, contains the names; ranks; company, regiment or ship; post, age, death date; and Journal entry for Union veterans who died in Indiana. This book is part of a series, each covering a different state or states. Last week I reviewed Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska Civil War Veterans: Compilation of the Death Rolls of the Department of Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska, Grand Army of the Republic, 1883-1948.

The G.A.R. was the largest association of Union veterans to exist after the war. Begun in 1866, membership reached its peak in 1890, with the last member dying in 1956. Membership was limited to “Soldiers and sailors of the United States Army, Navy or Marine Corps.” Individuals must have served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1866 in the “war for suppression of the rebellion, and those having been honorably discharged therefrom.” The organization created departments on a state level, one per state. Each year the departments would requested the death rolls from local branches for those who had passed. These rolls were usually published in the annual Journal. Each year’s listing was usually a compilations of those who had passed the year before its issue. In other words, someone who died in 1901 probably did not get listed until the publication at the end of 1902. This volume contains more than 22,000 records for soldier from 31 states.

Sometimes the Journals listed obituaries for the deceased. These are not included in this book. However, where they did appear the author made a reference note and has provided an appendix listing to the original Journal reference for those who have an associated obituary. In addition to the Introduction, which elaborates the preceding information, page ix lists abbreviations the reader will encounter throughout the book. The author also provides a brief “How to Use This Book” page. Here are the basics from this section:

  • Records are listed alphabetically, with all three states grouped together
  • The last column for each record provides the reference data from which Journal of the Annual Encampment from which the record was extracted
  • How to follow the reference for which Post the person served at or in
  • Additional information regarding G.A.R. members may exist in those cases where original G.A.R. records have survived

These death roll records are another great piece to the puzzle of the lost 1890 census. Leads to information missing in the lost census may be found through these death roll records, and other G.A.R. held information.

 

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abbreviations

How to Use This Book

Death Rolls

Appendix A: Roster of Department of Indiana post names and locations

Appendix B: Roster of Department of Indiana annual encampment dates and locations

Appendix C: Roster of annual membership of the Department of Indiana and the national organization

Appendix D: Members with additional biographical information

Appendix E: Statistical summary of states from which comrades in this transcript served

Appendix F: Annotated bibliography of Grand Army of the Republic department-level rosters and indexes

 

Indiana Civil War Veterans: Transcription of the Death Rolls of the Department of Indiana, Grand Army of the Republic, 1882-1948  is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: DN02. Click on the link to purchase.

Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska Civil War Veterans – Compilation of the GAR Death Rolls

Over 36,000 Civil War Union veterans from just three states listed in a single book. This is the Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska Civil War Veterans: Compilation of the Death Rolls of the Department of Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska, Grand Army of the Republic, 1883-1948. Taken from the Journals of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), this exhaustive work by Dennis Northcott, contains the names; ranks; company, regiment or ship; post, age, death date; and Journal entry for Union veterans who died in Iowa, Kansas, or Nebraska.

The G.A.R. was the largest association of Union veterans to exist after the war. Begun in 1866, membership reached its peak in 1890, with the last member dying in 1956. Membership was limited to “Soldiers and sailors of the United States Army, Navy or Marine Corps.” Individuals must have served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1866 in the “war for suppression of the rebellion, and those having been honorably discharged therefrom.” The organization created departments on a state level, one per state. Each year the departments would requested the death rolls from local branches for those who had passed. These rolls were usually published in the annual Journal. Each year’s listing was usually a compilations of those who had passed the year before its issue. In other words, someone who died in 1901 probably did not get listed until the publication at the end of 1902.

Sometimes the Journals listed obituaries for the deceased. These are not included in this book. However, where they did appear the author made a reference note and has provided an appendix listing to the original Journal reference for those who have an associated obituary. In addition to the Introduction, which elaborates the preceding information, page ix lists abbreviations the reader will encounter throughout the book. The author also provides a brief “How to Use This Book” page. Here are the basics from this section:

  • Records are listed alphabetically, with all three states grouped together
  • The last column for each record provides the reference data from which Journal of the Annual Encampment from which the record was extracted
  • How to follow the reference for which Post the person served at or in
  • Additional information regarding G.A.R. members may exist in those cases where original G.A.R. records have survived

These death roll records are another great piece to the puzzle of the lost 1890 census. Leads to information missing in the lost census may be found through these death roll records, and other G.A.R. held information.

 

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abbreviations

How to Use This Book

Death Rolls (over 600 pages)

Appendix A: Roster of Department of Iowa post names and locations

Appendix B: Roster of Department of Kansas post names and locations

Appendix C: Roster of Department of Nebraska post names and locations

Appendix D: References to Grand Army of the Republic members with obituaries

Appendix E: Statistical summary of states and territories from which comrades in this book served

Appendix F: Annotated bibliography of Grand Army of the Republic department-level rosters and indexes

 

Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska Civil War Veterans: Compilation of the Death Rolls of the Department of Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska, Grand Army of the Republic, 1883-1948  is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: DN03. Click on the link to purchase.

Death Records: A Check List of Ten Documents Every Genealogist Should Acquire

The following article was written by my good friend, Bill Dollarhide:

Here are ten places to look for a death record. All ten sources should be obtained for every ancestor on your pedigree chart, and every member of a family on your family group sheet.

 1. Death Certificate.  A rule in genealogy is to treat the brothers and sisters of your ancestors as equals. That means you need to obtain genealogical sources for all of them. For instance, for every ancestor on your pedigree chart, and for every brother or sister of an ancestor, you need to obtain a death certificate (assuming they are dead). If there were six siblings in an ancestor’s family, a death certificate for each brother and sister will give six different sources about the same parents; places where the family lived; names of spouses; names of cemeteries; names of funeral directors; and other facts about a family. If a death certificate for your ancestor fails to provide the name of the deceased’s mother, a sibling’s death certificate may give the full maiden name. How do you get a death certificate? Go to the www.vitalrec.com site, where every state and county is listed, and where you can find out where, when, and how much. Start with a death certificate, because the names, dates, and places you will find on a death certificate will always lead you to further records.

Dollarhide’s rule No. 1:  Death Certificates are rarely filled in by the person who died.

2. Funeral record.  A death certificate may mention the name and location of a funeral director. Find a current funeral home in North America at www.funeralnet.com . This site has the listings from a directory of funeral homes called The Yellow Book, a published directory distributed annually to every funeral home in the U.S. and Canada.   The current funeral home nearest your location will have a copy of The Yellow Book, and if you were to stop by and ask to look up another funeral home anywhere in the U.S. and Canada, they would probably allow it. Don’t stop there when a funeral is in progress. A funeral record may include names of survivors;  names of the persons responsible for the funeral expenses; and often, obscure biographical information about the deceased not available anywhere else. Modern funeral records are full of genealogical information about the person who died and may include copies of newspaper obituaries, death certificates, printed eulogies, funeral programs, and other details about the person. A reference to a burial permit, cremation, or cemetery can be found here as well. Generally, funeral directors are very easy to talk to and they are usually cooperative (they want your family’s business). Even if the old name of a funeral home is not listed in a current directory, it should be possible to locate the current funeral home holding the records of an earlier one.  These businesses rarely go out of business, but are more often taken over by another funeral director. If at one time a town had two or three funeral homes, but only one today, the Yellow Book listing is still the source for finding the current funeral home in that town, which can lead you to information about the older funeral home.  Funeral directors are also experts on the location of cemeteries in their area.

Dollarhide’s rule No. 2: When visiting a funeral home, wear old clothes, no make-up, and look like you have about a week to live – the funeral director will give you anything you  ask for if he thinks you may  be a customer soon.

3. Cemetery Record. If the name of a cemetery is mentioned on the death certificate or funeral record,  that cemetery is now a  source of information about the person who died. There may be a record in the sexton’s office of the cemetery, or off-site at a caretaker’s home; and the gravestone inscription may be revealing as well. When you contact a funeral home, ask about the cemetery where the person was buried, and whether they have an address or phone number for the cemetery office, or at least know who might be the keeper of records for the cemetery. At the same time, ask the funeral director for the names of monument sellers/stone masons who cater to cemeteries in the area. As a back-up, a local stone mason may have a record of a monument inscription for the deceased’s gravestone. To locate a cemetery anywhere in the United States, a special list can be obtained from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) within their Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The GNIS contains the names of  over two million place-names (map features) in America, of which about 107,000 are cemeteries.  The GNIS website is located at http://geonames.usgs.gov/. Click on “Domestic Names” to search for any named cemetery.

Dollarhide’s rule No. 3: The cemetery where your ancestor was buried does not have perpetual care, has  no office, is accessible only by a muddy road, and has snakes, tall grass, and lots of bugs… and many of  the old gravestones are in broken pieces, stacked in a corner under a pile of dirt.

4. Obituary. A newspaper obituary was probably published soon after the person’s death. Old newspapers from the town where the person died are usually available at the local public library. They may be on microfilm. Find the website for any library in the U.S. at the Lib-Web-Cats site, a directory of libraries throughout the world. See www.librarytechnology.org/libwebcats/.  If the library responds but says it is unable to look for an obituary or make copies for you, then you may need to find a person living in that town to go to the library for you. One way to locate such a person is to write to a local genealogical society and ask if they know someone who can do a bit of research for you. Most genealogical societies have a volunteer who responds to such requests, and there will most likely be a small fee for this service. A good list of American genealogical societies is in Elizabeth Petty Bentley, editor, The Genealogist’s Address Book (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 6th  edition, 2009). You may also find your genealogy friend on the Internet. Do a place search for people involved in genealogy in a particular place near where you need help, drop them an E-mail message and promise to do something in exchange for them. A huge collection of historic newspaper obituaries are now on the Internet. The largest sites devoted to newspapers are 1) www.GenealogyBank.com,  and 2) www.newspaperarchive.com. Check also www.cyndislist.com under the category “obituaries” for direct links to websites on the Internet specific to actual obituaries transcribed and made available in various sites. Also, use www.google.com  to search for obituaries with a keyword for a place or name of a newspaper, which should provide names, dates, etc., and what may be available. Example of keywords in the Google search box, “Obituaries Topeka.” or “Kansas City Star Obituaries.”

5. Social Security record. If a person died within the last 35 years or so, the death certificate probably includes the deceased’s social security number. With or without a person’s social security number, you can write for a copy of any deceased person’s original application for a social security card, called a form SS-5. Since 1935, virtually every working person in America has applied for a social security account. The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) needs to be consulted to see if the person is listed. Most people who died since 1962 should be listed there. A free online search services can be found as part of the FamilySearch site. See The SS Death Index at FamilySearch.org.

A search in the SSDI can be made by the surname and first name, or adding other options for a date or place of an event death. With the name and social security number, you can obtain a copy of the deceased’s application (Form SS-5) for a social security account, which was filled in by the person and gives his/her full name, date and place of birth, place of residence, name of parents, occupation, and name of employer.

Dollarhide’s Rule no. 4:  A Social Security Form SS-5 is better than a birth certificate because few people had anything to do with the information on their own birth certificate.

6. Probate Records. Details pertaining to a deceased person’s estate may be located in a county courthouse. These records may provide important information about the heirs of the deceased. Probate records may include dockets (court calendars), recorded wills, administrator’s records, inventories of estates, sheriff’s sales, or judgments. Microfilmed probate records for nearly every county in the U.S., are located at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. To find them, go to the www.familysearch.org  site. Do a “place” search for a state, then click on “Review Related Places” to see a list of the counties for that state. The topics listed include probate records, and a review of what records have been filmed can be located quickly.

7. Private Death Records (Insurance Papers, Medical Records, Etc.).  If the deceased had insurance, there is undoubtedly a record of the death within the insurance company’s files. There may be much more information concerning the deceased’s survivors, and the disposition of an estate. Hospital records are almost always closed, but a close family member may be able to get some information; and records at a Doctor’s Office are also usually closed, but again, close family members may be given access. The cover sheet of a patient’s file in a Hospital, Nursing Home, or Doctor’s Office, is almost always the page containing vital information, including birth, marriage, divorce, occupation, health insurance, and name of closest kin or person to contact in an emergency. A close family member should be able to access that information.

8. Coroner and Medical Examiner Records exist for any person who died under suspicious conditions, or for whom an autopsy was performed, or in most cases for  people who died outside of a hospital. Coroner records are public records kept at the county level in virtually all states. In addition to the circumstances of the death, there may be vital details about the deceased. Locating a Coroner or Medical Examiner for a county is not difficult. Many have their own websites, or are part of a county government website. Do a Google search using keywords such as “Coroner King County.”  The office of a Medical Examiner is used in some counties or cities in lieu of the office of coroner.

 9. Military Records for deceased veterans are public records. The National Archives and Records Administration, National Personnel Records Center (Military Records Facility) is located at 9700 Page Ave., St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. Write for a form SF-80 to request copies from any soldier or sailor’s military file. Their online website is at www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/index.html.  Next of kin to a deceased veteran can access data online. Others need to use the for SF-80 to obtain information about the deceased veteran.

10. Church Records. A death record may be recorded within a church’s records, plus information about a burial. Check www.cyndislist.com under the category “Religion and Church” to survey what is available online.

Go get the death records!  A death certificate is not enough, and may not even be correct. If you know a person’s exact date and place of death, there are several more sources relating to a person’s death. If you get these other death records, you will certainly learn more about your ancestors.

For Additional Information, See:

International Vital Records Handbook, 5th Edition, by Thomas Kemp.

Everything You Need to Know about… How to Find Your Family in Newspapers, by Lisa Louise Cooke.

New York Probate Records: A Genealogist’s Guide to Testate and Intestate Records, by Gordon L. Remington

Missing Transcript of the Coroner’s Inquest for the “Gunfight at the OK Corral” Found

The following excerpt is from an article in the Wednesday, April 21, 2010 edition of the Arizona Daily Star (Tucson).

A missing handwritten transcript from a coroner’s inquest done after the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral has resurfaced in a Gladys Ann Wells, Director, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, uses gloves to show off a page of original court transcripts from the 1881 Coroner's Inquest in the Gunfight at the OK Corral on Wednesday. Photo by Ross D. Franklindusty box more than 125 years after the most famous shootout in Wild West history.

The document had been missing for decades – last seen when it was photocopied in the 1960s.

It was found when court clerks stumbled on the box while reorganizing files in an old jail storage room in Bisbee, about 20 miles south of Tombstone, the Arizona frontier town where the gunbattle took place.

Stuffed inside the box was a modern manila envelope marked “keep” with the date 1881.

The inquest was done after lawmen Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and Doc Holliday confronted a gang of drunken outlaws, sparking a 30-second gunbattle in the streets of Tombstone that killed Frank and Tom McLaury and Bill Clanton.

It made folk heroes of Earp and Holliday and inspired numerous movies about the untamed Old West.

Officials showed off just one page of the transcript on Wednesday _ a thick sheet of paper with blue lines and sloppy cursive writing in dark ink. It appeared to contain the beginning of testimony by William Claiborn, identified by a historian as a friend of the three dead outlaws.

Also see: Rediscovered notes give insight on O.K. Corral inquest of 1881 – from the Thursday, April 22 Edition of the Arizona Daily Star (Tucson).

The Deathwatch

UPDATE:
See Dee Bird’s tribute to Neil – and his obituary at her blog.

My brother, Herbert “Neil” Meitzler, passed away last evening. The family was there beside him to ease his journey – but looking back on the experience, I’m not so sure that the watch wasn’t only for him, but for the family as a whole.

I got notice that Neil had pancreatic cancer about 3 or 4 months ago. I called him the same day, and we talked a bit on the phone. He assured me that once the shock of realizing that he had a terminal illness was over, that he had put his faith in God (a faith bestowed upon him by our mother), and felt he had no fear of death. We lived about 600 miles apart, so haven’t seen a lot of each other in the last 20 years, During the last two months, I’ve driven to Walla Walla, Washington twice, just to spend time with him. It was time well spent.

On Friday, my brother, Steve, called me, telling me that time was short. I was on the road an hour later, and arrived Friday evening, finding that Neil was quickly fading, and that his daughters had been round-the-clock caring for him for a couple of weeks, as he became less mobile, then bed-ridden. Carrie had spent the previous night by his side, not wanting to leave him during this most-difficult of all times. Arriving Friday evening, I had a chance to say my goodbyes – and thought he might not make it through the night. Finally, it seemed that he would, and Carrie volunteered to again be there during the night for him. The next morning (Saturday), we gathered around his bed. He was actually a bit more cognizant of what was happening than he had been the night before.

The family spent the day on the deathwatch. Someone always held his hand, not out of some kind of responsibility, but out of our sincere love and the wish to be there, letting him know that we cared for him. Every little bit, we’d swab out his mouth, attempting to keep it moist, as having ones’ mouth all dried-out must be extremely uncomfortable. As I said before, the watch was for us as well. We read scripture aloud. We sang – every now and then someone would begin to sing one of the family’s favorite hymns (lots of Bill and Gloria Gather material especially), and the rest of the family would join in – singing in 4-part harmony. I like to think that this was helpful for Neil, but I know that it helped the family deal with Neil’s pending loss to us. We exchanged stories of family experiences, especially those in which Neil played a major part. A local pastor that worked for hospice came by several times, comforting the family, and assuring Neil of God’s love.

Just after 8 p.m. last night Neil’s breath began to be more shallow. I had noticed that his pulse in the previous hour was extremely erratic – so much so that it was becoming more difficult to count. What had been a strong heartbeat of 140 beats per minute, had slowed down considerably. At 8:30, my dear brother took his last breaths, and his heart stopped. By 8:31 pm on Saturday, February 21, 2009, Neil was returned to the care of his heavenly father. Goodness… I can’t see the screen, as my eyes are overflowing something awful.

I wrote the above, not as a tribute to my brother (I promise I’ll do that a bit later), but as an admonition to my readers. If at all humanly possible, do not miss the deathwatch for your loved ones. It’s important to the family – and plays an important part in the life cycle.

Now I must go… I have a long road trip ahead of me today, but not nearly as long as the journey Neil took last night.

I invite my readers and many friends to take a moment to add a bit about your family’s deathwatch experiences in the “comments” section below.