Monday, May 2, 2016

Updated SC death certificates

Hi all,

This morning I visited the SC Department of Archives and History to dreg up 5 death certificates between 1962 and 1964.  Right now there is public access to 1965 (based on the 50 year delay) but, as you already know, Ancestry has not updated their index so we can only get online access up to 1961ish. 
This afternoon I painfully discovered that FamilySearch recently updated their SC death certificate database to include dc's up to 1965.  So it is too late for me but maybe not for you.  Here is the link:

Friday, April 15, 2016

New links

Hi all,

Thanks to Jane and Carol for passing on information about these new links.

The Lexington Public Library obituary index is back online. Here is what they say it includes:
The Lexington Dispatch was founded on September 17, 1870 by Godfrey M. Harman, who served as editor for its entire history. On March 7, 1917, it merged with The Lexington News (which was published from May 26, 1915 to February 28, 1917) to form the Lexington Dispatch-News. The newspaper facility burned on April 25, 1894 and again on March 27, 1916. In October, 1992, The Lexington County Chronicle was published October 7, 1992 to March 29, 2001. The Lexington County Chronicle and the Lexington Dispatch News combined into one publication on April 5, 2001.
Much of the first two decades of the paper no longer exists or was in poor condition when microfilmed. Between 1914 and 1917, records for both Lexington Dispatch and the Lexington News are again sketchy with many issues/months missing.

There is a new site that is attempting to get all the SC probate and marriages in one site called South Carolina Probate.  It does not include Richland or Lexington County so you will still have to check here for those links.

I am toying with the idea of having a separate "SC Court Records" section so maybe look for that soon.

The links to the Lexington Library obit index and South Carolina Probate are listed thataway --->.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Who always knows first?!!

2016 is a big year for South Carolina genealogists. It marks the first year that SC birth certificates begin to be publicly available.  South Carolina began requiring recorded birth certificates in 1915 but with a 100 year delay for public availability.  The time has come!  The South Carolina Department of Archives and History (SCDAH) just delivered and the 52,000 recorded birth certificates from 1915 are up and available to keep you busy all night.

Notice that this link is taking you to SCERA the brand new digital platform for the SCDAH.  With new staff the SCDAH will be focusing their efforts on more digital content.  Keep checking back.

Today I am just getting the link out to you. I haven't even tried a search so look for a detailed post on searching later.

SC 1915 birth certificates

Saturday, February 20, 2016

South Carolina coroner reports

It’s just plain fun to find new South Carolina genealogy resources and I have a good one to share today.  CSI: Dixie is a glossy new resource featuring nineteenth century coroner reports from 6 South Carolina counties: Anderson, Edgefield, Greenville, Kershaw, Spartanburg, Union. Currently there are 1582 reports ranging from 1800-1900. 

The reports are digitized and the ones I saw were clear and easy to read.  The added value is the transcriptions located on the same page as the digital image.  

For my search I typed in the front page search window, you can also search using names and keywords. The result list includes the first line of the transcription but once you click on the heading all the vital stat information is neatly boxed as well as the transcription and digital images.

The creator’s, from the University of Georgia, invite users to add photo’s, documents, etc but I didn’t see how to upload materials. However, the site is new so there may be future additions and changes.

They say that there are “currently” six SC counties in the database which implies that more will be added.  I’m sure that Sherman’s little journey across the state will limit how many counties can be included (Richland County, for example, does have any extant nineteenth century coroner reports) but since the site is called CSI: Dixie they may plan to include other states. 

This is a very exciting resource. I hope you take a look and read the published essays. They are interesting and quite readable.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Richland Library Digital Collections

While Main-Richland Library is undergoing renovations the Walker Local History Room has relocated to a temporary location on the first floor.  All of the local history staff are excited about the future plans for our space and the library system. Unfortunate, all the construction makes it more difficult for our customers to visit so we have been busy making more resources available for free from home starting with our digital collections page.
Just about all of our Local History Digital Collections now have landing pages that provide links to additional resources and make browsing the collection easier. Here are some highlights:

Maps of Columbia and Richland County: This growing collections includes ten maps from our collection that depict streets, political boundaries, and school zones from the early twentieth century.  We also provide links to other digital collections that include Richland County maps. 

Book and Pamphlets: This new collection features books and pamphlets about Richland County and Columbia that are not available in other collections including Internet Archive and Hathitrust.  BUT!!! We include links to digitized books and pamphlets in those collections that are about Columbia/Richland County.
We have been busy adding a lot of new postcards and we always like to see what our customers show us and allow us to add to the Midland Memories collection.  #accessfreely!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The NEW Ancestry Probate Collection - a review

When I review a database I like to use real data to check the resource.  To examine the new Ancestry Probate Collection I pulled out An index to Richland County, South Carolina probate records 1785-1955. This print resource provides the name of the estate, administrator, and date of filing, box and package number.  Before Ancestry I would take the box and package information from the book and search through the South Carolina digital probate records on FamilySearch for the record (bound and loose files). It was a tedious process but, at least, it was online and I did not have to make a trip to the SC State Archive.

Ancestry now boasts a searchable database of the same digital records found on FamilySearch. For this review I found the list of all the available nationwide collections and selected South Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1670-1980. Being very familiar with the FamilySearch product I know that the bulk of the records are for the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  (Maybe there is a will for 1980 but I haven’t found it!). My first search was for Margaret Rion, date of filling: Sep 3, 1918, box 235, package 8251.The Ancestry hit shows an index page that lists Margaret H. Rion with a will on page 197.  Ancestry does not take you directly to the record.  The next step is to hunt and peck for page 197 in that same microfilm series. I just kept plugging in page numbers until I was close and then flipped page by page until I found page 197 which turns out to be on image 423. The page numbers were easy to read and the document was clear and printable/savable.

Unfortunately a sizable portion of the Ancestry content for Richland County is not indexed. A search for Lilla Peck (box # 99 package # 575) comes up with no results; however, the record is digitized and available through Ancestry (I found the record first in Ancestry's unindexed content and then looked in the print index for the complete listing). Also the Ancestry record shows incorrectly that the will is in box 88. All of the unindexed records I checked in Ancestry were found in the print index.  There are also lots of spelling errors in the Ancestry indexing.

Even the search fields are fuzzy.  One search field is called “case number”.  What the heck does that mean?  There is no definition for the field so it is unclear what information to add. I tried adding the package number.  In one search out of ten that brought up the correct record (which is nearly useless).   

My advice is to go ahead and check Ancestry first, if you have a subscription, to see if the estate record will come up but if it does not show a hit the record may still be available.  Use the FamilySearch product.  It is much clearer about what is available for each county and you are much more likely to find the probate file. There is some microfilmed indexing but if you can locate the box and package number in a print resource it is well worth the effort.  Lexington County probate index is online and some wonderful researcher has gone through the Barnwell microfilm series and made available the image numbers for the FamilySearch product. Don’t forget SC Equity Court records may hold intestate records.

It is really disappointing that Ancestry has made an inferior product available to researchers. This just adds confusion to an already complicated research process.  On the bright side, I guess it just gives me more job security!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

HeritageQuest updates

In addition to the new interface and updated census searching the folks at HeritageQuest promised more new content and they have delivered. Military records including: Records of Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-1865 and Registers of Death of Prisoners of war, 1861-1865 are now available. They are the same records found on FamilySearch. 
The images are not accessed by keyword searching. The browsable images do include an index, of sorts, to the records but it is an index to the microfilm records found in Record Group 109, War Dept Collection of Confederate Records.  It is more a finding aid and does not list the names in the images.  

The records for Remarried Widows index to Pension Applications is easier to search because it is organized alphabetically. Unfortunately it is alphabetized by the widow’s remarried name.  Usually that is the name I am looking for!

Other new features include worldwide Find a Grave searching, Immigration records and access to the Social Security Death Index.  The SSDI search interface is not as wonderful as the one available through Genealogy Bank but it is ok. (I really love the “born and died between…” search feature of Genealogy Bank.)

HeritageQuest is available 24/7 through your public library website.