Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, January 31, 2011

On the Other Side of It

I learned a couple things recently. First is that Missouri was having volunteers construct the online death index from the written indices. This year they abandoned that method and are having volunteers construct the index from the actual records themselves. I volunteered for this.

Second, I learned that if I could go back in time (Dr Who, where is your TARDIS when I need it?) and whack the record makers upside their heads I would surely do it. Even in 1960, the age of the typewriter, there are strikeovers, faint ink (hello, this is a death record, let's make it readable) and inconsistencies in the surnames from line to line. In other words, it ain't as easy as it looks.

The main issue I came up against was basically the incompatibility of both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox with the Missouri State Archives indexing program. Google Chrome, for which I normally have little use, works just fine. Go figure. The other issue was the inability of some of the record makers to follow directions, or even read what the form says. If the spot next to AGE says If under one year: Month days it doesn't mean you should put 76 for the age and 9 for the month and 7 for the days. Hello that person is not under one year of age.

I love how it keeps track of the number of records you've indexed. At last count, I was up to 2,305. Fun. Can't wait to see these records online.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. I am also a part of this project. Good to meet another volunteer. I began with them back when they snail mailed us photocopies of the certificates in batches of 200 and we would enter them into an excel file and then email the file to them. Isn't technology great!

  2. Wasn't it common, though, at some point to list age at death in terms of years, months, days? I've seen it on lots of old tombstones.

  3. Sheri: I can't believe how fast it went!

    Unmit: Yes, it was, but that is NOT what this 1960 form is asking for.

  4. Incidentally, 319 volunteers knocked these off in 3 days. We are talking about 48,995 death certificates.

  5. I remember reading about this project, but didn't get on board. (she says as she kicks herself). If MO does another one of these projects let me know.

    Thanks volunteers!