Tuesday, March 17, 2015

They're Here!!!!!!!! Michigan Death Certificates 1921 to 1939 are Now on SeekingMichigan.org

I've checked several times a day for a couple months. And the one time I go to bed early so I'm rested for the next day, look what happens ... the Michigan Death Certificates for 1921 to 1939 go live online.

These long awaited images are at the Archives of Michigan website a.k.a. SeekingMichigan. 

SeekingMichigan.org Website Screen Capture
Once there, click on Advanced Search in the upper right corner of the webpage. From there you will see a listing of the various collections available. The one you want is: Death Records, 1921-1952 OCLC LOADING.

Because specific search fields do not automatically load when you select a collection to search, you need to do a little trick. 

Click to check on the box for the Death Records, 1921-1952, and click to uncheck all other collections that are already showing a checked box. (Generally, advanced search starts with just the Death Records, 1897-1920, pre-checked.) Then select search with no information filled in. Once the results page appears click on advanced search to return to the search page. Now the specific search fields are loaded for the Death Records, 1921-1952, collection.

SeekingMichigan Screen Capture
The specific search fields available for this collection are: County; city/village/township; Last Name; Given Name; Death Year; Death Month; Death Year; Age; Father's Given Name; Father's Last Name; Mother's Given Name; Mother's Last Name. That's more fields than are available for the earlier death records collection for 1897-1920.

SeekingMichigan Screen Capture
If you perform a search using one field, remember to remove the second search field line or you will get an error. (Click on remove to the right of the line.)

SeekingMichigan Screen Capture
Once on the results page, to see the death certificate click on the thumbnail image. The image viewer is the same and has not been updated. You can enlarge your view, expand the viewer in the browser, pan/move around the image, or rotate the image.

SeekingMichigan Screen Capture
Digital images of the certificates can be downloaded in a choice of three different sizes: small, medium and large. The file is saved as JPEG (jpg) image.

Remember that the search capability of SeekingMichigan is limited. There is no Soundex and wildcard use does not always seem to work.  So think of it as exact search only and try different spellings. (Ask yourself, how could someone have read this name?)

FamilySearch Screen Capture
To get around this, try searching the Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952, collection on the FamilySearch website. This is an index to this collection but there is no direct link to the images at SeekingMichigan. FamilySearch uses a fuzzy search and catches different spellings. If you find the one you want in the index at FamilySearch, put that spelling into the search at SeekingMichigan.

I wouldn't be surprised if an index with links to the images appears on Ancestry.com at some point. Having an index database at Ancestry.com like there is for the earlier Death Certificates for 1897-1920 would give us Soundex search capability.

Finally, remember that even though the collection says 1921 to 1952, you will only see actual images up to the year 1939 due to Michigan laws. With each coming year, another year of death certificates will be release for viewing.

Have fun finding your ancestors and relatives!

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