Thursday, April 26, 2007

Death Certificates on line

Several states have death certificates on line with no associated cost. Check them out if you have family / ancestors who died in the range of years covered by the certificates. Note that many states have birth / marriage and death indexes for free too....

I've printed death certificates from U.S. State websites for a year or more and have saved thousands of dollars by not needing to order an 'official' certificate from the state(s). Typically the images will need to be resized and cropped to fit an 8 1/2 x 11" sheet of paper.

If you don't already have graphics editing software on your PC, Faststone Image Viewer is a FREE application. I use it all of the time even though I have the pro version of Adobe Photoshop. Get your copy while it is still free. (no strings attached .. including no ads, etc.) *Just remember that the menus in Faststone are found by pointing your mouse at the top / bottom and sides of your screen*

A birth or death certificate is a primary source for your family history records, so take a few minutes and find the certificates that relate to your family and print them at home. They typically cost $14 to $60 when ordered from the state archives. (Remember these are 'primary' sources -- you want a copy for your family history source files).

Here are the states that currently have free on line certificates:

Arizona
Births 1887 - 1930
Deaths 1878 - 1955

Missouri
Deaths 1910 - 1956

Utah
Deaths 1904 - 1954

West Virgina
Birth ... Range of years - check the site
Marriage ... Range of years - check the site
Death ... Range of years - check the site

Additionally, many states have death indexes on line at no cost. See this site for the related links by state:

While some of the states require payment (typically a subscription to Ancestry.com), you can avoid this cost by checking for other free sites that contain the data. I'll post links to some of them in future posts..

Be sure to also check the free family history vital records available on RootsWeb and the huge number of cemetery inscriptions and other family history resources available on USGenweb.

The Internet is now bringing huge libraries of family history related information to our homes. Take advantage of these resources and save your research travel expenses for that special family history vacation that you never thought would happen.
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