Sunday, September 20, 2009

Just Try Another Window

While trying to help one of my wife’s cousins find a remarkably hard to find Utah Death Certificate online today, I noted a new feature that has been added to the Utah Death Certificate Index.

We know that census records often contain spellings that are a best effort by the census taker, either because they couldn't spell, didn't hear the name clearly or wrote exactly what was said in the brogue of the speaker.

Unfortunately, that same rule also applies to some degree with early death certificates.

In this case, my wife’s 4th great grandfathers name is Lars Mouritsen. I finally found his death certificate under Mountsen.

Growling about the number of spelling combination's I'd tried to that point, another thought came to mind.....

Checking my database, I noted that we didn't have a copy of the death certificate for his wife, Maren Sorensdatter Mouritsen. I couldn't imagine why I'd forgotten to get it long ago but as soon as I started to search for it, I discovered the reason. The culprit was another spelling 'opportunity'.

After twenty minutes of fruitless searching, I finally manually went to the Utah Death Certificate Index page looking for a 'hints' link. (yes, ladies, men will eventually abase themselves to the point that they read instructions).

Fortunately, I was able to forgo that fate. A new set of search fields has been added to the index page that allows searches by death day, month and year as well as by county.

As you can see from the screen cap of the way Maren's name was written on her death certificate, there was little chance that I would find it .... who knows how the indexer read it, let alone the fact that she was apparently called by a nickname, “Maria”.

Sorensdatter Maren Mouritsen Death Certificate name entry

The new search fields, allowed me to simply enter Maren's death date and Cache county in the fields and bingo.... we now have a copy of her remarkably incomplete death certificate....

Utah Burials Index search by date

So, if you have problems finding the death certificate for your family member in the Utah Death Certificate Index, don't bother reading the instructions. Just scroll down the page a little and use the dates and or county fields to resolve your quest.

Men .... you are welcome.... the tragedy of having to read instructions is avoided yet again...