Friday, May 15, 2009

FamilySearch: Southern US records

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at FamilySearch. Please address all inquiries to support@FamilySearch.org .

14 May 2009
Millions of Historic Southern Records Now on the Web

SALT LAKE CITY-FamilySearch announced today it has published millions of records from Southern states to its rapidly growing, free online collection. The collection includes both digital images and indexes. Millions of death records from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida were the most recent additions. Viewers can search the free collection on the Record Search pilot at FamilySearch.org (click Search Records, and then click Record Search pilot).

In the past 18 months, FamilySearch has been diligently publishing digital images and indexes from Southern states. It is part of a worldwide initiative to provide fast, economical access to genealogical records. Fueled by over 100,000 online volunteers, FamilySearch is digitizing and indexing historical records and publishing them online.

The most recent additions are from the following collections:
  • Alabama Statewide Deaths 1908 to 1974 (Index)
  • Arkansas County Marriages: 1837 to 1957
  • Civil War Pension Index Cards (Digital Images)
  • Florida Deaths 1877 to 1939 (Index)
  • Florida State Censuses: 1855, 1935, 1945 (Digital Images)
  • Freedman Bank Records: 1865 to 1874
  • Freedman's Bureau Virginia Marriages 1855 to 1866
  • Georgia Deaths 1914 to 1927
  • Louisiana War of 1812 Pension Lists (Images)
  • North Carolina Deaths 1906 to 1930
  • North Carolina, Davidson County Marriages and Deaths, 1867-1984 (Digital Images)" South Carolina Deaths 1915 to 1943
  • South Carolina Deaths 1944 to 1955 (Index)
  • Texas Death Index 1964 to 1998 (Index)" Texas Deaths 1890 to 1976
  • Virginia Fluvanna County Funeral Home Records 1929 to 1976 (Digital Images)
  • West Virginia Births 1853 to 1990 (Index)
  • West Virginia Marriages 1853 to 1970 (Index)
  • West Virginia Deaths 1853 to 1970 (Index)

FamilySearch has also published free indexes to the 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1920 (partial) U.S Censuses-all important resources for Southern states research. David E. Rencher, FamilySearch chief genealogical officer said, "This significant set of records fills a real need in Southern states research. To be able to search vital records across the South by name and locality leverages the best search techniques and greatly improves the odds of success for those researching Southern families."

During both pre and post Civil War eras, there was general migration from the eastern seaboard, down through the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, and on into Texas. "The publication of these records will begin to open up and answer many questions about family members that migrated and were never heard from again," Rencher added.

With just a few clicks, visitors can now search millions of records online for that elusive ancestor. Or pore through digital images of historic documents that before this time were inconvenient or impossible for many to access because the original documents were located in an archive somewhere in the South.

"There is much more to come," said Rencher. "FamilySearch has a large collection of records [on film] from the Southern states that still need to be digitized, indexed, and made available for the public online-and we are acquiring new records all the time. It's a great time to be a family history enthusiast," concluded Rencher.FamilySearch is currently working on federal and state censuses and birth, marriage, death, and war records. New indexing projects and searchable collections are added weekly.

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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