Monday, October 6, 2008

Finding Obituaries at RCPL - part II

Part I covered finding obituaries from 1962 to the present using Social Secutiry Death Index and Newsbank. This entry will look at finding death dates that occurred prior to 1962.

We have two great resources for deaths prior to 1962. The first is the South Carolina Death Index (SCDI). Currently death certificates are published from 1915-1957. There is a 50 year delay for public accessibilty of death certificates so 1958 will be added to the index in January.

The SCDI is available for public use from DHEC. It has an awkward piece of software that must be downloaded to view the pages of the index. However, Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) has a lovely search engine.

That can be accessed by clicking the Search tab in Ancestry and then clicking South Carolina and then South Carolina Death Index. SCDI is very helpful for African American researchers because it has a non-white search field.

Ancestry and DHEC just have the index. The complete certificate can only be accessed at the SC State Archive (if the patron is calling from out of state they would contact DHEC for the complete certificate).

Remember that just because a death date is located in SCDI it doesn't mean that The State published an obituary. To find an obituary the patron would have to look through the obituary indexes. They will be the focus of the next post.

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