Monday, November 4, 2013

The easiest way to go off on tangents

The easiest way to go off on tangents is to enter death certificates and obituaries.  I scanned and entered 30 death certificates over the weekend.  It is a miracle I managed to do that many because of all the tangents.  Death certificates name spouses and informants that need to be entered but I don’t want to just enter their name so off I go to hunt down some vital records for them.  And of course vitals aren’t enough because I just have to know who their parents were which means I have to also hit the census records.  Obits are even worse because now you have the spouses for all 14 children.  It isn’t like you can just look this stuff up and copy it down in your file, no, you have to download the images, extract the information, and source everything properly.  When you look at a census page you recognize several families so you had to stop right there and add all of their information as well.  I go Find A Grave hoping for a few death dates (so that I can order more death certificates) and of course the markers I need on Find A Grave haven’t been photographed yet so I have to send in requests.  Did you know there is something like a 30 request limit per week?  That hurts.

The death certificates I was adding were from Louisiana.  They are available from 1911 to 1962 except for Jefferson and Orleans Parishes which have death certificates going back further than that.   Louisiana death certificates are cheap as death certificates go.  They only cost $5 so I always order a death certificate for anyone that died in Louisiana.   However, I got a TON of free ones when FamilySearch had images of Louisiana death certificates online.  I am glad I got them when I did because they have since taken them down.   I asked them about it and they said they had to take them down because the State of Louisiana said so (why did Louisiana give them to FamilySearch in the first place then?).   

Today I will be adding a few more death certificates so who knows what bunny trails I will be chasing.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. LOL that sounds like me! I need a record retriever for Louisiana DC's from 1911-1962 that can be scanned and emailed to me. Do you offer that kind of service and how much do you charge for it?

  2. You can do it yourself, just go to this website and click on ADVANCED SEARCH (the basic search only works on some browsers). When you find the person that you want, you can fill out the request form and print it out. It only costs $5.00. Louisiana is fast too. I get them in a week.

  3. Thank you! One more question...if you don't find a name that you're looking for, can you still submit an application for that person without knowing the date of death? Would you give a 5 year range for them to search?

    1. They are going to use the same index as what is available on their website so if you can't find it they aren't going to find it. I would try name variations, searching in specific counties using only a first name etc.

  4. Good thing I asked you before trying to order. I wish that, in addition to the search feature of typing in names, they would create alphabetized lists. This would offer an alternative way to search so we can see what they have indexed. Only because there are always errors in transcription with names that we would have no way of knowing unless we saw the names in a list. I hope that makes sense.

  5. I have done searches using the first name and the county. I have also done searches one year at a time in a specific county with no names. The names are alphabetized when you do it this way but depending on the county, there can be a lot to go through.

  6. I just selected St. Martin and there are 500 results but its all long as I can see the names alphabetized and work my way through them. Thank you so always come through!

  7. Decided to search by parish and one year at a time. There are more than 500 for St. Martin wow. Now I see what you mean lol