Recently received a Tip Sheet from firstname.lastname@example.org about problems with finding people in the Washington State Death index on microfilm. The problem she talked about was with names that started with Mc. Was the “c” included in the soundex code or not for the name? I actually used that index so much that I don’t even go to the cheat sheet to see how the letters were coded anymore. I had read that you need to look both ways on names like Mc or Mac. Names that start with O’ or Van or Von may have been coded with or without the O’, Van or Von. So O’Connor may be soundexed as O256 or C560! Van Dorn may have been soundexed as V536 or D650.
Ancestry bought those same microfilms and with OCR posted the Washington Death Index in Ancestry, but they missed bunches of people. Was it a problem with the soundex code? I don’t think so, as they used the actual names of people. I know they missed one whole microfilm and I guess because the 1920-1929 microfilm is very hard to read. Ancestry also missed bunches of people in the 1950s. Why? This is my theory, if you look at the microfilms the earlier years used a two column field for the death month, so 01, 02, …, 11,12. But in the 1950s they switched to a single column, so 1,2,3,…,9,O,N,D. Now any person reading that can see October, November and December, but did the OCR software looking for a number in that field see a number or did it skip those people?
Years ago the Washington State Digital archives was looking for some Washington databases to index and I suggested that Family Search had the Washington State death certificates on microfilm from 1907 through 1960, and that would be a great database to index. Family Search sent the archives a copy of those death certificates and volunteers indexed those death certificates from the actual death certificates, not by copying the soundex index the state had done. When the death certificate index was done the death certificates went online at the digital archives. A few days later they disappeared and a note on how to get a certified copy from the state appeared on each entry in the index. That same index done by Washington State volunteers is on Family Search now and Family Search added the film and image number for everyone in that index, so you could order the correct microfilm from Salt Lake City to get a copy of a death certificate. That was great as Spokane and Spokane County, Yakima and Yakima county death certificates were on different microfilms, so which one to order was hard to figure out.
In the August 2016 Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week they show how to find that death certificate online in the Family Search Catalog.
( https://wasgs.org/blog/2016/08/01/seattle-genealogical-society-tip-of-the-week-28/ )
Online pre-registration for this weekend’s “Ancestry Day” closes at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23. The event is Saturday, Sept. 24 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center in Tacoma. If you can’t pre-register online, you can still attend by purchasing a ticket at the door on Saturday. Events for Friday are sold out.
Both novice and experienced genealogists are welcome at this event which is sponsored by Ancestry, Washington State Archives, Washington State Library, Legacy Washington, the Washington State Historical Society, Washington State Historical Records Advisory Board and National Historic Publications & Records Commission. Crista Cowan, better known as The Barefoot Genealogist, and Anna Swayne will be the presenters on Saturday.
In case you missed this…………………
|The Genealogical State of the States
Posted: 21 Nov 2015 06:24 AM PST
There is no real second place in the list of the genealogically valuable U.S. state websites. The Washington State Digital Archives
wins hands down, no contest. Unfortunately, although there are some other notable collections, most of the states have a miserable level of digital offerings. Currently, the State of Washington has preserved 165,412,383 records and made 64,505,776 records available as of November, 2015. They have also added 2,638,172 records in the past month. At the other end of the spectrum, most of the states make no attempt to systematically digitize their records and what they have preserved online is usually in a “Memory Project.”
Cyndi Ingle, of www.CyndisList.com fame, was the presenter at annual Fall Workshop of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. And she was, of course, wonderful.
As she arrived into Spokane on Friday, and had never been to the Eastern Washington Branch of “our” Washington State Archives, I arranged tours for her. Here is Cyndi with Lee Pierce (red shirt), archivist for the “downstairs” or paper archives part of the facility out on the EWU campus in Cheney, and with Harold Stoehr (green shirt) who manages and maintains the “upstairs” or digital archives part of the building. They were both so very gracious and informative and both Cyndi and I thanked them profusely for their time.
Cyndi was especially impressed with these two wrapped sets of disks………. Harold took us into the very innermost vault and let Cyndi hold the external backup to the entire contents of the state’s digital archives. (Don’t panic; there are multiple backups.) Cyndi was big-eyed-impressed with being able to hold such a treasure in her hands.
Cyndi hails from Puyallup and we here in Washington are very proud of our own home-grown bigwig celebrity in the world of genealogy. I was happy to show her some “eastern Washington” resources in person, especially our one-of-a-kind Washington State Digital Archives.