21 December 2011

Highlights - September to December 2011

Often various family history entities create their own indexes for important research collections. The 1940 Census is one of the largest and most significant collections to come forward. Through collaboration a better index can be created more quickly. It will then be shared between entities and users.
  • 15 December 2011 - Pennsylvania Senate Bill (SB) 361 signed into law - my post
This law, now known as Act 110 of 2011, makes state birth and death certificates public record after 105 and 50 years respectively. Prior to the passing of this law, these records could not be legally put online and were impractical to use for research.
Read more on Renee's Genealogy Blog. MyHeritage is one of the most visited genealogy websites in the world, but has no office in the family history capital of the world--until now. FamilyLink's Utah office comes under the umbrella of MyHeritage. This positions the company to remain a significant contributor along side Ancestry.com, BrightSolid, FamilySearch, NewsBank and Archives.com.
  • 17 November 2011 - BYU-Idaho offers Family History Associates - my post
This program will help students prepare for ICAPGen Accreditation.
  • 14 November 2011 - ICAPGen Announces New Levels Program - Read more at EOGN
  • 2 November 2011 - Virginia fights for positive genealogy legislation - Read more at EOGN
  • 25 October 2011 - FamilySearch Data Centers and Second Vault - Read more at The Ancestry Insider
  • 20 October 2011 - Michael W. McCormick creates a genealogy blog for BYU-Idaho
  • 2 October 2011 - Leader Calls Upon Church Youth to Research Ancestors - Read more at The Ancestry Insider 
  • 17 September 2011 - LDS Temple in Philadelphia will increase family history efforts in the area
To learn more about the temple groundbreaking visit ABC 6. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are famous for their enthusiasm for and contributions to family history. It is speculated that a Family History Center may be built with the new temple and many LDS members feel that the spirit brought by having a "House of the Lord" in the area will be a benefit to this meaningful family work.


19 December 2011

Amendt Genealogy Miracle

1 Nov 2011, while a BYU-Idaho student - This morning I had a genealogy miracle. I knew that I had a lot to do for the college courses I was taking in this my last semester, but I also knew that my ancestors wanted to be found. I felt impressed to go to the Family History Center on campus. About a week ago I ordered a microfilm of a German Kirchenbuch (Church Book/Register) for Heuchelheim, Germany on which I knew the Amendt* family would appear. When I got to the center I put the microfilm on the reader and began to look through the German script from the early 1800s. Even after taking a class in German genealogy research, reading the film was difficult. Miracles often come through the people around us and that morning, a family history missionary with a specialty in German research--Sister Hart--was helping run the center. She helped me find the baptism record of my 3rd-great grandfather Philipp Amend (known as John Philip Ament after his emigration). This kind sister missionary even served part of an earlier mission near the area where these ancestors of mine were from. Running low on time, and trying to be as appreciative as possible, I asked her if she might create a transcript and translation for me. I needed to go to class.

The sister missionary kindly helped me read the record and even did a partial transcription and translation which I picked up about a week later. She went above and beyond by finding--on FamilySearch.org--two of my 3rd-great grandfather's siblings whose names my family was missing. They died young and when John Philip emigrated, over time the family's memory of those children was lost. I spent some more time going through the microfilm on my own with the aid of the transcription Sister Hart provided. I copied the originals of those two siblings' baptisms and several more records--including marriages and deaths--on 2 or 3 visits over the next couple weeks.

Throughout the experience I called my parents to explain what I was finding. With the encouragement of my mother, when I got what I could from the years covered by that microfilm, I ordered the next film. My parents were coming to my graduation the weekend of the 16-17th of December and offered to help look through the records when they arrived. After ordering the film I got a notice that it was on backorder and was concerned that we might not get to look at it before I had to move out on the 17th. Friday the 16th my parents and I showed up at the family history center to ask if it came in. I had not received the customary e-mail notification because the data entry missionary had not been in recently. The missionaries who were there looked through the unprocessed films and found that which I had ordered. I showed my parents how to recognize the records and they went on to copy several more protestant church records for our Amendt ancestors.

The right person happened to be there at the right time to help me on November 1st, I found many original records and some previously missing family members, improved my German research skills through practice, and enjoyed some family time looking through the film which barely arrived in time for us to review before I moved out the next day. These small and simple things witness the hand of the Lord in helping us learn about our heritage and finding our connection to the eternal family.

NOTE: This post explains part of the events which helped me know which microfilm I needed to order. With so much on my plate, it took me a couple months before I decided to order the film.

*Amendt surname also spelled as Amend or Ament.

12 December 2011

Pennsylvania Opens Death Certificates to the Public

UPDATE: As of 15 December 2011 Governor Tom Corbett has signed SB 361. It is now known as PA Act 110 of 2011. This puts the effective date at 13 February 2012. (60 days to take effect)
See the government website for further information on this law.

On December 6th, 2011 the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed Senate Bill 361 which previously passed unanimously in the Senate. This bill will make all Pennsylvania Death Certificates from 1906 when they began filing until 1961 public record. The law requires the certificates to have been on file for 50 years before becoming public.

Prior to this law, death certificates never became public. With this new law these older certificates may be put online and used for genealogical research.

The law will be official on or before 16th February 2012. The bill has a 60 day period before it comes into effect, plus the 10 day period in which the governor may review it which ends this Sunday on the 18th. The governor will approve the bill by that date or it will become law by default. Because of the unanimous vote, there is no reason to fear a veto.

Stay posted for updates regarding when these records go online. It is expected to happen quickly on Ancestry.com. Three years from now the state archive website will also provide access.