03 June 2011

Utah State Archives

Wow! Have you used this site yet? It's amazing! I was looking for Death Certificates for ancestors from Plain City, Weber Co., Utah, United States so I checked out the Weber County Health Dept. They only have records from the last 50 years and they cost $16 each! But, they told me that the older records were at the Utah State Archives...and guess what...they have an amazing website!

There are a ton of records online! For Death Certificates they have 1904-1958 indexed online with images. Some older ones are in microfilm, indexed online, but you have to go to the archives to see them...I'll plan on doing that later. For now, I decided to find all the online images. Here's how I found 53 Death Certificates in about 1 hour!

Step 1. Generate report. In Roots Magic this is really easy. I created a list of Deaths in Utah between 1904 and 1958. I made sure to include spouses because the female's Death Certificates are under their married name.

Step 2. Search. In the right menu from the home page select "Research" then "Research Guides". Choose the link to the Death Index for 1904-1958. You can search by name or Date. The date search was really helpful if the spelling was off. Using these search options I was able to find all but 5 records. I'll have to do some more digging to see if the names or dates are wrong...or maybe they didn't die in Utah!

Here's my search for Anderson, Oscar. His name is actually Oscar Alfred Anderson, but I didn't know if the middle name would be on the certificate. There he is:

Then select the name and you'll get to the List of names that match.
Be sure to write down the Entry and Series number for citation purposes. The series for all these records was 81448, but each entry had a different number. I wrote those on my printed report.

Step 3. Download and Name the File. When you select the name from the list you'll go to the specific document page. I just right-clicked on the image and selected "save link as..." {Note: DO NOT CHOOSE "save image as..." that saves the teeny tiny image on this page. You want to save the BIG image. You could also open the image and save it from there.} I saved mine as "Death Certificate - LastName, FirstName". That way it was ready to be filed in my source folders.

Step 4. Add to Database and File. At some point I will go through each file and add the information and citations to my database. That will be a longer process. For now, I'll just add them to my "to file" folder and let them hang out there for a while.

Additional Awesomeness:
At the top of the windows there is a "Name Search" box. If you use this instead you'll see ALL THE RECORDS for that name! Awesome! In this case I found a Brand book that included Elijah Swainston's brand for his cattle. Amazing! I'll have to go back and check that out later.

Finally, here's what I accomplished in about 1 hour:
That's right - 53 Death Certificates, one Brand Book page, and 1 citation file (with the basic info so I can cite all these files later, when I'm ready to it later).

Check out the Utah State Archives for yourself. You won't be disappointed!

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