Tag Archives: Death

How To Glean Death Certs from Missouri Digital Heritage

Today I am gleaning Death Certificates from the Missouri Ditial Heritage web site:


I created a video to show you my process. This is my first video so keep that in mind. Please give me a thumbs up if you find it helpful.



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How To Convert Social Security Death Records

I have been re-merging all of my Social Security (SS) Death Records recently so that all of my records are listed together, under one Source, in the Sources Workspace. This is a continuation of my conversion to Family Tree Maker from PAF. Right now I have one Source with all of the records I searched (my-SS-Source) and I also have a second Source with all of the records that I have merged from Ancestry.com.

This basically consists of:

  1. Backup before proceeding!
  2. Going to the Sources Workspace.
  3. Selecting my-SS-Source (see above).
  4. Selecting a citation (more on that in a minute).
  5. Double-clicking a fact for that citation – this will open the People Workspace.
  6. Clicking the shaky leaf (if there is one – as I said, more on that in a minute).
  7. Finding the Social Security record for that person and merging.
  8. Go back to the People Workspace and double check that the merge was successful.
  9. Go back to my-SS-Source and delete the citation.

The record will now show up in the Ancestry Sources (see previous post on My/Their Sources) all in one place. It will take me quite awhile to complete this task because I have ~1,500 Social Security Death records to merge – after merging several hundred already.

Is this worthwhile? Yes, because I have found some new info when merging and, more importantly, I can see all my records together in one place. However let’s discuss the issue that I mentioned above…

Regarding #4/6: As of the lasted update to FTM Mac (v., the Web Search ‘New Search’ button seems to only work on records that have shaky leaves. If a person does not have a shaky leaf then you can still search for the records but you must fill out the form manually. So… Right now I am only merging records with shaky leafs. I plan to do several every time I work in FTM and will go through and merge the others manually afterwards. But, hopefully a new version will come out and resolve this issue before I even get there.

Dear Ancestry, Please fix the ‘New Search’ button so that it automatically populates a person’s info to make searching for records easier – with or without a shaky leaf!

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How To Search for Death Records – Women

Sometimes Ancestry seems to have a hard time finding death records – especially for women. I have found a couple of little tricks that have helped me immensely.

  1. Edit your search and add her married name as the surname. Keep in mind that she may have remarried, divorced, or taken her maiden surname back. You can also add all of her surnames separated-by-spaces and see what comes up.
  2. Add a nickname to the beginning of the first name field. If this was the name they went by, then it may be what was on their death record and also on their tombstone as well.

Hope that helps. Do you have any tricks like these?

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How To Estimate Birth Dates & Determine Deceased

Today I updated my Birth Dates. I do this every so often (probably about twice /year). In People>Tree view I ran a filter and included all individuals, next I excluded those whose birth date existed. This left me with a filtered list of individuals without birth dates. I then went down the list and for each individual I checked to see if there was a birth date for their spouse. If so, then I subtracted 2 years for males or added 2 years for females. I made sure to include the prefix ‘abt’ so that I will know that it was an estimation. If there isn’t a spouse then looked at the birth dates for the mother or father. I generally go with the mother’s birthdate and add 20 years. Be sure to look for a marriage date as generally children are born after the marriage date. For siblings I just add 2 years for each as this is a general rule for birth order.

Why do I do this? First, it gives me a general timeframe in which to look for a person. Second, it helps me determine individuals that should be deceased so that I can search for sources. It also allows me to create a more accurate list of individuals to post online – I really don’t want to post records of deceased but I do want to post on as many records as possible.

To mark individuals as deceased I mark the death date field for all individuals that were born 110 years before the current year (i.e. 2015) as ‘Deceased’. So if I am looking at someone that was born about 1905 or before then I can be reasonably sure that they are deceased (I don’t think there are many 110 year olds out there) and can mark them as ‘Deceased’. I can then filter to search for deceased to search for sources easily.

Does this make sense to you? Do you estimate dates? What are your reasons?

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