Notes from the past…


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Update on my death certificates search

Not my death certificate, but those of my ancestors in Texas!

I have located and downloaded a total of 44 death certificates. There are still several more I want to look for, but I had to sleep and eat and go to work. Life is so difficult… :)

Ken from Beyond Fiction asks an interesting question:

“I’m just curious though. Does anyone remember the Ancestry fiasco last year? You know, folks were posting images from Ancestry and they threatened them, blah, blah, blah! I understand that Ancestry is a pay-site and that cut into their profits or whatever. How does that work with Family Search? I mean, it’s a free database so would it be wrong to post these images?

I am simply trying my best to avoid any harassing emails. What do you all feel on this subject? Post your comments and let me know. (This is also a chance to see if anyone is actually reading this stuff.)”

Yes Ken, your’s is one of the blogs I read and enjoy! It’s nice to hear another voice from the Lone Star State.

My take on the Texas Deaths database is this:

  • the site is free and open to anyone with a computer and internet access
  • one is permitted to save, download and/or print the death certificates without the need to first register or sign a EULA-type agreement

I liken this database to the Social Security Death Index or the Bureau of Land Management site or the New York Times Archives 1851-1922. All of these sites are open to the general public and the BLO and NYT allow downloading of their images.

At some point, FamilySearch may decide to put this database behind a subscription wall, and I suppose that is their right. But for the time being, it is freely available. As I don’t use these images in a commercial manner, I don’t see a problem with uploading them to my site. What I do see a problem with is posting any death certificates that contain information pertaining to living persons, such as home addresses or names of still living next-of-kin.

One death certificate that I was excited to find was that of my uncle, who died from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1954 at age 14. Of course, my grandmother’s name is on the certificate. She is alive and well and soon to be 92 years old. I will certainly not post this document in this blog or place in on its Surname page. Period.


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A Texas tragedy

I just got home from work and checked the online version of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. And what I just read made me furious and heart-broken at the same time! The historic Governor’s Mansion in Austin burned early this morning, with the fire believed to be intensionally set. Built in 1856, it is the oldest continually used executive residence west of the Mississippi.

Texas Governor\'s Mansion burns

Fortunately, no injuries have been reported, but what a huge loss for Texas and her people.