Notes from the past…

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #50: Genealogy Database

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52-Weeks-AbundantWhich individual database has been most helpful in your genealogy research and why? Is this database available for free or is it behind a subscription wall? What does this database include and how can it benefit other genealogy researchers?

I live in Texas and have a whole herd of ancestors who lived (and DIED) in Texas. So what has been the most helpful database to me?

There are 3 of them, actually:

All can be found at FamilySearch, free of charge. These are scans of the actual documents, not just indexes. I have downloaded almost 100 death certificates from these 3 databases.

Important genealogical facts found in earlier death entries (from the FamilySearch wiki):

  • Date of death for the deceased. Starting around 1911, the records increasingly include the burial and birth dates and places.
  • Place of death for the deceased. Starting around 1911, the records increasingly include the cemetery name where buried, as well as the birthplace (the state and sometimes town or county).
  • Name of the deceased. Starting around 1911, the records increasingly include the name of the spouse and parents, often with maiden surnames of women. The informant, who is often a child or other family member, is also named.
  • Starting around 1911, the records increasingly note the names of the spouse and parents.
  • Starting around 1911, they;indicate whether the deceased was single, married, widowed, or divorced at the time of death.
  • Starting around 1911, records give the occupation of the deceased and may identify the employer.

And from the 1977-1986 collection:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Death date and place
  • Burial date and place
  • Birth date and place
  • Name of spouse
  • Names of parents
  • Name of informant
  • Marital status
  • Occupation

Here is the oldest certificate that I have found from these databases, for my third great-grandfather James Bennett (1826-1905):

JasBennett DC

Original documents with a lot of primary and secondary information, courtesy FamilySearch and the Texas Department of Health and State Registrar office!

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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

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