Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In Praise of the German Genealogy Group

On Sunday, January 27, I posted about my favorite family name; my great-great-great grandmother's name, Olivine Page-Ethier. In that post I mentioned how I have been unable to find her death certificate probably due to a misspelling of her name or an indexing issue. After writing that I thought, "Hell, why don't I just email the organization that put together that online New York City Death Records Database and see if they can help me." And so, that is exactly what I did.

By Monday at noon I had a response from a gentleman named Donald at the German Genealogy Group. He found an entry in the index that is most likely my Olivine:

Olevene Eltrier,  Age 70y,  Died 11-Dec-1906, Queens County, Certificate # 3434.

The German Genealogy Group and the Italian Genealogical Group have worked together to make very important New York City based indexes available online to all members of the genealogy community. One of the many databases they created is the New York City Death Records, 1891-1948 database which is available for free online. For anyone who has New York City residents in their family tree these databases are a godsend. They facilitate the ordering of records from the New York City Municipal Archives. Just the index alone is helpful in determining dates of death for your ancestors. However, whenever possible a genealogy researcher will want a copy of that document to examine the details and support their data.

The Death Record database was the one I was complaining about in my earlier post, though. To search it you need to have at least 2 letters of the person's last name. If the name is spelled wrong that can pose a challenge. However, the organizations have access to the full database and were obviously able to search the index in a different way to provide me with the information that I needed.

With the information Donald gave me, I can now order Olivine's death certificate online with enough information to make the process move quickly and more efficiently. I could have provided the Municipal Archives with what information I already knew but now I have a specific certificate number and an exact date of death.

I could also go to the New York City Municipal Archives and view the document on microfilm for free and make whatever notes I would like. While at the Municipal Archives if I choose to purchase a copy of the death certificate there is a fee for the copy; $11. If I order the document online it costs $17.50 with shipping and handling.

And it just so happens that I am going to have about two hours to kill in Manhattan before a class which is being given just a half mile from 31 Chambers Street where the Municipal Archives is located. Given that the two hours will be prior to when the Archives closes at 4:30...  YAY! I will see you then, Olivine!!

I can not thank Donald enough for responding to my email. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

1 comment:

  1. How exciting!! I was going to write to you that I couldn't find one of my ancestors in their index until I left some wiggle room for the extra letter that had been put into his last name - sometimes it takes a little spelling imagination lol - but that is her, I can feel it! I could go on and on praising the work of both the Italian Genealogy Group and the German Genealogy Group for the amazing job they've done indexing the Municipal Archives