Sunday, June 27, 2021

Online Indexes for Death Records, Cemeteries and Obituaries (USA) - Newest Additions and Updates

The Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records Website (USA) has been updated with links to the following items...

- Anchorage: Angelus Memorial Park Cemetery - Search Burials
- Juneau Historical Files - People, 1890s-1950s: Biographical Information Arranged Alphabetically (includes some deaths)

- Alameda County Obituary Forms (index), 1968-1977 from the San Leandro Morning News and the Alameda Star Times newspapers
- San Diego: Mount Hope Cemetery Burial Registries and Indexes
- San Diego: Calvary Cemetery Tombstone Photos (Catholic Cemetery)
- San Francisco: Odd Fellows Cemetery San Francisco Registry, 1865-1906; A PDF that lists burials from the Odd Fellows memorial cemetery in San Francisco that were reinterred at Greenlawn Memorial Park in Colma, San Mateo County, California.
- San Francisco: Records From Tombstones in Laurel Hill Cemetery, 1853-1927
- San Mateo County Superior Court Records Index (indexes probate records and other court records)
- Sonoma County, Sebastopol, Evergreen Lawn Cemetery Burial Records, 1800-2010 at FamilySearch

- Eagle County: Eagle Valley District Library Obituaries Search
- El Paso County: US Air Force Academy Cemetery Burials
- Kit Carson County Death Records Index, 1893-1907
- Kit Carson County: Fairview Cemetery Burials (Burlington, Colorado)
- Mesa County: Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado Honor Roll - In Memory of Our Interred Veterans, April 2020-recent (Grand Junction, Colorado)

- Connecticut Death Records Index, 1897-2001 from the Connecticut State Library (update: years 1969-2001 added)

- Delaware, Wills and Probate Records, 1676-1971 (at Ancestry/requires payment)
- Delaware Church Deaths, 1750-1886 from FamilySearch; for the Christina Congregation, Trinity Church, Wilmington, Delaware

- Idaho Death Records, 1890-1969 at Ancestry/requires payment (update: year 1969 added)

- Bond County: City of Greenville Cemetery Database for Montrose and Lansing Cemeteries
- Bond County: Robinson Cemetery Database (in Pocahontas, Illinois)
- Brown County, Illinois Register of Deaths, Book 1, Dec. 1877-Oct. 1915; Indexes, 1878-1945 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch)
- Greene County Assorted Death Indexes (includes deaths reported in newspapers, 1899-1964; and other items)
- Henderson County Clerk Death Register, 1878-1902; and Index to Deaths, 1878-1900 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch)
- Kankakee County, Illinois Death Certificates, 1915-1951, Index, 1916-1958 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch)
- Macon County Clerk Death Records, 1877-1918; Index, 1877-1922 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch)
- Perry County Cemetery Burials (Includes these cemeteries: Chapman, Curlee, DeGroft, Dry, Huggins/Old Keene, John Hawkins, Nine Mile, and Swanwick Cemetery.)
- Perry County Cemeteries (scanned books from the Pinckneyville Public Library)
- St. Clair County: Marissa Township Cemetery Burials
- Tazewell County Clerk Vital Records, 1827-1922; digitized microfilm from FamilySearch; includes Index to Register of Deaths, 1877-1916, and other items

- Clark County: Charlestown Library History and Genealogy Collection; includes indexes for James Funeral Home Records (Charlestown); Charlestown Cemetery lot listings; and other items
- Southern Indiana and Illinois Obituary Database (Includes these Indiana counties: Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Knox, Orange, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, and Warrick; and these Illinois counties: Gallatin and White. Coverage varies by county.)

- Van Buren County GenWeb Genealogy Indexes (includes Van Buren County Cemetery Burials Index, 1936 D.A.R. Grave Survey, Van Buren County SSDI, and other items)

- Johnson County: Pleasant Valley Cemetery Burial Records (in Overland Park, Kansas)
- Sedgwick County: Wichita Eagle and Beacon Obituaries Indexes, 1955-2019 (update: years 2018 and 2019 added)
- Sedgwick County: City of Wichita Cemeteries - Burials (incudes Highland Cemetery and Jamesburg Park Cemetery)
- Sedgwick County: Tihen Notes: Wichita Newspaper Notes, 1872-1982 (includes some death notices and other items)
- Shawnee County: Security Benefit Association Cemetery Plat, Topeka, Kansas (The cemetery plots on the map show the name of the deceased and the year of death.)
- Shawnee County: Interactive Map of West Lawn Memorial Garden Cemetery (Topeka) includes burials search

- Western Kentucky Obituary Database from various sources for these counties: Breckinridge, Bullit, Butler, Crittenden, Daviess, Edmonson, Grayson, Hancock, Hardin, Hart, Henderson, Larue, Livingston, McLean, Meade, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Ohio, Union, and Webster

- Louisiana Death Records Index, 1911-1970 from the Louisiana Secretary of State (update: year 1970 added)
- Orleans Parish, State Museum Historical Center, Cemetery Records, 1805-1944 at FamilySearch (for 20 cemeteries)

- Maryland Death Indexes (not complete - ongoing project; currently includes: Baltimore City, 1874-1962 with several gaps; all counties (except Baltimore City), 1969 -1972; and the state of Maryland, 1973-2014)
- Washington County: Antietam National Cemetery Burials (military cemetery that began during the Civil War)

- Massachusetts Deaths, 1841-1915, 1921-1924 from FamilySearch; includes scanned images of the death registers and certificates (update: years 1921-1924 added)

- Branch County: Oak Grove Cemetery Burial Search Map (in Coldwater, Michigan)
- Washtenaw County: Chelsea District Library Family History Index and Chelsea Register of Births and Deaths

- Missouri Death Certificates Index and Images, 1910-1970 (update: year 1970 added)
- Buchanan County: St. Joseph Public Library Death Record Database, 1891-1900; and Obituary Database, 1951-2017 (update: death record database, 1891-1900 added; and 4 years added to the obituary database)
- Cape Girardeau County: City of Cape Girardeau Death Records, 14 April 1882 to 28 February 1934
- Greene County Coroner/Medical Examiner Name Index, 1834-1950; and Probate Name Index, 1833-1899
- Ray County Obituaries Indexes (indexes obituaries from the Excelsior Springs Standard (1888-present), and other obituary collections)
- Ray County: City of Excelsior Springs - Crown Hill and Hillcrest Cemetery Burials

- Nebraska, Index to Deaths, 1904-1955 (at Ancestry/requires payment)

- Washoe County: Ross-Burke Funeral Records, Reno, Nevada, 1904-1919 at Ancestry/requires payment

New Hampshire
- New Hampshire Death Records, 1650-1969, Index and Images (at Ancestry/requires payment) includes digitized images of the death certificates or records

New Jersey
- Some Essex County Cemetery Burials -- for Woodland Cemetery (Newark), Clinton Cemetery (Irvington), Newark City Cemetery, and some defunct cemeteries; from the New Jersey Records Preservation Group
- Somerset County: Somerset Messenger Gazette Obituary Index, 1986-2012
- Union County: Rosedale and Rosehill Cemetery Burials (in Linden, New Jersey)

New Mexico
- Hidalgo County Probate Records Search
- Lincoln County Clerk Probate Records Search

New York State
- New York State Genealogical Research Death Index, 1957 to 50 years ago (update: year 1970 added)
- Monroe County: Maplewood Cemetery Burials (in Henrietta, NY)
- Orange County: Warwick Valley Genealogical Resources (includes cemetery and obituary indexes; from the Albert Wisner Public Library)
- Saratoga County Clerk Online Records Access (includes some wills and cemetery deeds)

- Delaware County: Oak Grove Cemetery Burial Record Search
- Franklin County Probate General Case Index Search, c.1990s-present
- Lucas County: City of Toledo Cemetery Burials Search (for Forest and Collingwood Cemeteries)
- Muskingum County Chapter Ohio Genealogy Society: Cemetery Indexes
- Ottawa County: Put-in-Bay Township Cemetery Burials (includes Maple Leaf Cemetery, Crown Hill Cemetery, La Fluer Cemetery, and North Bass Cemetery)
- Ottawa County: Harris-Elmore Public Library Digital Collection (includes some obituaries)
- Summit County: Chestnut Hill Memorial Park Burial Records Search (in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio)
- Wayne County Cemetery Master Name Index

- Lane County: Oak Hill Cemetery Burial Book (Eugene, Oregon)
- Lane County: Eugene Masonic Cemetery Burial List

- Pennsylvania Death Records Indexes, 1906-1970 (index only) Update: year 1970 added; from the Pennsylvania State Archives

Rhode Island
- Rhode Island Death Registrations, 1853-1921 (digitized ledgers with an index for 1853-1900; also has Birth Registrations, 1853-1920; and Marriage Registrations, 1853-1920)

South Carolina
- South Carolina Death Certificates and Index, 1915-1969; at Ancestry/requires payment (update: year 1969 added)

- Dallas County: Oak Grove Memorial Gardens Burial Search (Irving, Texas)
- City of Houston, Texas Death Certificates, 1874-August 1900 (scanned books from FamilySearch)
- Index to City of Houston, Texas Death Certificates, 1874-August 1900 (scanned books from FamilySearch)

- Sanpete County: Ephraim City Park Cemetery and Historic Pioneer Cemetery Burials

- Vermont Probate Files, 1800-1921 for Chittenden and Essex Counties; coverage may vary; from FamilySearch

- Death Index of Virginia, July 1, 1853-1896 (for 34 Virginia cities and counties)
- Virginia Wills and Estate Records Index, 1633-1800 (from the will books of 51 Virginia counties and cities)
- Bristol Cemeteries Index (from the Library of Virginia)
- Petersburg Public Library Newspaper Index, 1797-1877 (indexes births, marriage, deaths, and other items; from the Library of Virginia)
- Petersburg: Poplar Grove National Cemetery - Civil War Burials
- Portsmouth Public Library Cemetery Burials Indexes for Lincoln (African-American) Cemetery and Olive Branch Cemetery
- Richmond Area: Henley Marriage and Obituary Index to Virginia Newspapers, 1736-1982 with emphasis on the years 1780 to 1910; from the Library of Virginia
- Wythe County Cemeteries from the Kegley Library

- Washington State Department of Health, Death Certificates, July 1, 1907-1960, 1963-1969, 1974, and 1993-1995 (free) includes images of the death certificates; not yet complete -- more years and images are being added

This is a list of the most recent additions. There are many more links for death records indexes at: Online Searchable Death Records Indexes and Obituaries

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Online Indexes for Death Records, Cemeteries and Obituaries (USA) - Latest Additions and Updates

The Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records Website (USA) has been updated with links to the following items...

- Arizona Death Certificates, 1870-1970; and Birth Certificates, 1855-1946 (Update: year 1970 added for the death certificates; years 1945 and 1946 added for the birth certificates)
- Coconino County: Citizens Cemetery Burials (Flagstaff, Arizona)

- San Bernardino County: Yucaipa Valley Genealogical Society Obituary Surname Index
- San Diego County: El Cajon Cemetery Records (PDF from the San Diego Genealogical Society)

- Colorado, Select County Death Records, 1986-2017 at Ancestry/requires payment; most are from Denver, Arapahoe and Jefferson counties, coverage varies by county, not all counties are included, has 169,000 entries, a small number of the entries include images of the death certificates

- Connecticut, Deaths, 1640-1955 at FamilySearch; "Index to selected death records."
- Connecticut, Charles R. Hale Collection, Vital Records, 1640-1955 at FamilySearch

- Florida Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880 (these list people who died in the year preceding the date the census was taken; coverage varies by county and census year)
- Manatee Genealogical Society Tombstone Inscriptions Surname Index

- Georgia Death Certificates, 1928-1943, Index and Images at FamilySearch (update: year 1943 added)
- Bulloch County: African American Funeral Programs from the Willow Hill Heritage and Renaissance Center
- Fulton County: Atlanta African American Funeral Programs Collection; most are from the late 20th-early 21st centuries
- Thomas County: African American Funeral Programs from the Thomas County Public Library System; most are from the late 20th-early 21st centuries
- Thomas County Public Library African-American Obituaries Index; indexes 4200 obituaries

- Hawaii, Death Certificates and Indexes, 1841-1942 at Ancestry/requires payment; includes digitized copies of the death certificates; coverage varies by place
- Hawaii, Birth, Marriage, and Death Cards, 1850-1950 at Ancestry/requires payment; Digitized index cards extracted from Honolulu newspapers

- Idaho Death Records, 1890-1968 at Ancestry/requires payment; includes digitized copies of the death certificates (update: year 1968 added)
- Franklin County Cemeteries
- Nez Perce County, Brower Wann Funeral Home Records, 1925-1986 at FamilySearch

- Illinois Probate Records, 1819-1988 (browsable images only; coverage varies by county; at FamilySearch)
- Adams County: Quincy, Greenmount Cemetery Records, 1875-1985 at FamilySearch
- Bureau County Online Genealogy Search -- Indexes birth certificates (75 years or older), marriage licenses (50 years or older), and death certificates (20 years or older)
- Cook County: Catholic Cemeteries of Chicago Database (from the Archdiocese of Chicago)
- Cook County: Pioneer Cemeteries of Palatine Township (includes burial lists for some of the cemeteries)
- Knox County Cemeteries
- Marion County: Patoka Cemetery Inscriptions and Genealogical Information
- Richland County: City of Olney Cemetery Burials (for Haven Hill, Memorial Gardens, and Maple Dale Cemeteries)
- Richland County: Index of Death Records 1878-1940; Death Records, 1877-1950; and Stillbirths, 1883-1904 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch)
- Vermilion County Clerk Register of Deaths, 1877-1903 (with index, 1877-1907); and Stillbirth Register, 1878-1917 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch; indexed)
- Whiteside County: Fulton Newspapers Indexes (indexes some deaths and obituaries)
- Winnebago County: Catholic Diocese of Rockford Cemetery Burials -- for Mount Hope Cemetery (Elgin) and Calvary Cemetery (Winnebago)

- Harrison County, Index Cards to Corydon Democrat Newspaper Obituaries, 1861-2008 at FamilySearch
- Lake County Will Abstracts, 1855-1930s

- Iowa Death Records, 1920-1967 at Ancestry/requires payment; includes images of the death certificates (update: years 1941-1967 added)
- Dallas County, Violet Hill Cemetery, Lot Records, 1846-1988 (in Perry, Iowa) from FamilySearch
- Lyon County, Cemetery Records, ca.1800- ca.2000 at Family Search
- Scott County: Fairmount Cemetery Burials (in Davenport)
- Scott County, Oakdale Cemetery, Interment Records, 1856-1989 (in Davenport) at FamilySearch

- Kansas, Deaths, 1811-1940 at FamilySearch; for Atchison, Cherokee, Crawford, Elk, Kingman, Labette, Miami, Montgomery, Nemaha, Osage, Shawnee, Sherman, and Wyandotte Counties; coverage varies by county
- Kansas Genealogical Society and Online Library - Obituaries Indexes, 1870-2006 (has over 600,000 entries)
- Allen County: City of Iola Cemetery Burials (for Iola Cemetery and Highland Cemetery)
- Cowley County: Memorial Lawn Cemetery Records Search (in Arkansas City, Kansas)
- Douglas County: Lawrence City Cemetery Records, 1850-1988 at FamilySearch
- Douglas County Genealogical Society Indexes
- Riley County, Sunset Cemetery, Burial Index Cards, 1856-1998 at FamilySearch

- Louisiana Death Records Index, 1911-1969 from the Louisiana Secretary of State (update: year 1969 added)
- New Orleans, Louisiana, Index to Death Records, 1804-1964 at Ancestry/requires payment (update: years 1950-1964 added)

- Aroostook County: Cary Library Genealogy Database (Indexes birth, marriage, death and burial records from Houlton, Maine and surrounding communities in the Southern Aroostook County area.)

- Allegan County Clerk Death and Marriage Search (includes death certificates index, 1867-recent)

- Minnesota, Death Records and Certificates, 1900-1955 from FamilySearch; you must be at a Family History Center or FamilySearch affiliate library to view the images
- Blue Earth County, Glenwood Cemetery, Burial Records, ca. 1869-1990 in Mankato, Minnesota; from FamilySearch
- Olmsted County, Oakwood Cemetery Records, 1863-1998 at FamilySearch
- Waseca County Historical Society, Burial Cards, ca.1860-1992 at FamilySearch

- Mississippi Index to Deaths, 1912-1943 at Ancestry/requires payment
- Hinds County: Mississippi Asylum Cemetery Records, November 1912 to March 9, 1935 (in Jackson, Mississippi)

- Missouri Death Index, 1968-2015 from Reclaim the Records
- Missouri Census Records and Tax Lists (includes Mortality Schedules for the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses)

- Caldwell County, Missouri, Cemetery Index, 1864-1967 (at Ancestry/requires payment)
- Cass County Public Library Digital Collections (includes: Memorial Card and Obituary Collection; Runnenburger Funeral Home Records, 1901-1983; and other items)
- Jefferson County Permanent Record of Deaths, 1883-1892; digitized microfilm from FamilySearch; includes searchable name index
- Marion County: Sprague Funeral Home Ledgers (in Palmyra, Missouri)
- Marion County, Missouri, Cemetery Index, 1833-1967 (at Ancestry/requires payment)

- St. Louis Post-Dispatch Obituary Index (Covers 1880-1930, 1942-1945, 1960-1970, and 1992-June 2020) Update: July-November 2020 added
- St. Louis City Probate Court Record of Wills, 1816-1928 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch)
- St. Louis City Probate Court Wills, 1917-1967 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch)
- St. Louis City: Smithers and Wagoner Funeral Home Records, 1865-1899 and 1934
- St. Louis County: Washington Park Cemetery Burial Card Index from the Missouri History Museum Archives (African-American cemetery in Berkeley)
- St. Louis County: St. Ferdinand Cemetery Burials, 1893 (Catholic Cemetery in Hazelwood, Missouri)

For the St. Louis items see: Online St. Louis, Missouri Death Records, Indexes & Obituaries

- Cedar County Genealogy Indexes (includes indexes for some probate records, cemetery burials, and Randolph Times obituaries)
- Lancaster County, Fairview Cemetery, Burial Records, 1864-1999 (in Lincoln) at FamilySearch
- Thayer County: Sacred Heart Cemetery Burials (in Hebron, Nebraska)

New Jersey
- Bergen County: Riverside Cemetery Grave Search (Jewish Cemetery in Saddle Brook, New Jersey)

New Mexico
- Bernalillo County: Sunset Memorial Park Burials Search (cemetery in Albuquerque)
- McKinley County Register of Deaths, 1907-1935; digitized book from FamilySearch (not indexed)

New York State
- Onondaga County: Diocese of Syracuse Catholic Cemeteries Search
- Rockland County Veterans Cemetery Search
- Suffolk County: Beth Moses Cemetery Burials (Jewish cemetery in West Babylon, New York)
- Suffolk County: Wellwood Cemetery Burials (Jewish cemetery in West Babylon, New York)
- Warren County Cemeteries (includes assorted cemetery transcripts and almshouse cemetery images)
- Westchester County: Yonkers Death Index and Registers, 1875-1889 at Reclaim The Records; scanned books
- Westchester County: The Old Burial Grounds of the Town of North Castle, N.Y. (PDF of scanned book that lists burials)
- Yates County, Swann Vital Records Collection, 1723-2009 from FamilySearch

North Carolina
- North Carolina Digital Collections: Secretary of State Wills, 1663-1789 (Loose original wills probated in the province.)
- Davie County Genealogy Document Portal (includes scanned obituaries and some obituary indexes)
- Durham County, North Carolina Cemetery Burials
- Durham County Death, Birth, Marriage, and Divorce Announcement Indexes includes Durham County Obituaries Index, 1848-1927

North Dakota
- Burleigh County: Sunset Memorial Gardens of Bismarck Burial Locator

- Ohio, Grave Registrations of Soldiers, 1810-1955 at FamilySearch
- Cuyahoga County Death Records, 1840-1908 (at Ancestry/requires payment; includes images of the death registers)
- Warren County: City of Lebanon Cemetery Burials

- Comanche County, Highland Cemetery Records, 1901-1994 at FamilySearch
- Grant County Funeral Home Records Index for the Wilson Funeral Home and the Mills Funeral Home
- Noble County, Parker Funeral Home, Funeral Records, 1908-1982 (in Perry, Oklahoma) from FamilySearch

- Columbia County: Rainier Cemetery District Burials Search

- Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906-1968 (at Ancestry/requires payment); includes scanned copies of the death certificates (update: year 1968 added)
- Pennsylvania, Deaths, 1852-1854 (at Ancestry/requires payment) for 49 counties; includes images of the death records
- Adams County Historical Society Genealogy Indexes (includes indexes for estate files, tombstone inscriptions, and other items)
- Adams County Register of Deaths, 1893-1905 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch)

Rhode Island
- Rhode Island Town Deaths Index, 1639-1932 from FamilySearch; for all counties: Bristol, Kent, Newport, Providence, and Washington (coverage may vary by county)

- Greene County Genealogical Society Indexes (includes cemetery transcriptions; Doughty-Stevens Funeral Home Records, 1908-1949; and other items)
- Tennessee Valley Cemetery Relocation Files, 1933-1990 (at Ancestry/requires payment; includes digitized images of the files)

- Bexar County: African American Funeral Programs of San Antonio
- Frio County Cemeteries
- Hardin County Clerk, Death Records, 1908-1948 from FamilySearch
- Jefferson County: Port Arthur News Obituary Index, 1969-2020
- Jefferson County Historical Commission - Cemeteries

- Salt Lake City Cemetery Records, 1847-1976 from FamilySearch

- Virginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Death Records, 1853-1912 at FamilySearch
- Richmond: East End Cemetery Burials and Searchable Map - Historic African-American Cemetery in Richmond

West Virginia
- West Virginia Death Records and Index, 1853-1970 (update: year 1970 added)

- Dunn County Death Records Index, 1868-1979 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch; includes digitized death registers, 1868-1884)
- Dunn County Potter's Field List of Known Burials (near Menomonie, Wisconsin)
- Fond du Lac Public Library Records, 1848-1980 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch; includes a digitized Calvary Cemetery index, 1900-1980)
- Grant County: Hillside Cemetery Burials, Platteville
- Portage County: Stevens Point Area Genealogical Society Local Resources (indexes); includes: "1876-1907 Portage County Death Registrations," cemetery and obituary indexes, and other items
- Portage County: South New Hope Cemetery Plots (in Nelsonville, Wisconsin)

This is a list of the most recent additions. There are many more links for death records indexes at: Online Searchable Death Records Indexes and Obituaries

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Online Indexes for Death Records, Cemeteries and Obituaries (USA) - Newest Additions and Updates

The Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records Website (USA) has been updated with links to the following items...

- Alabama Estate Files, 1830-1976 from FamilySearch; for various counties; coverage varies by county
- Shelby County Cemetery and Obituary Indexes
- Tuscaloosa Public Library: Tuscaloosa News Obituary Index and Alabama Citizen Obituary Index

- Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area: Probate Index and Nenana Cemetery Burials

- Arizona Death Certificates, 1870-1969; and Birth Certificates, 1855-1944 (Update: year 1969 added to the death certificates, year 1944 added to the birth certificates.)
- Arizona: County Coroner and Death Records, 1881-1971 (at Ancestry/requires payment; for Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai, and Yuma Counties; coverage varies by county)

- Los Angeles, Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery/Crematory Records, 1884-2002 at FamilySearch
- Los Angeles, San Gabriel Cemetery Association, Cemetery Index 1872-2003 from FamilySearch
- Sacramento City Cemetery Burial Card Index, 1840-2001 at FamilySearch
- Sacramento Old City Cemetery Map with Burial Search
- Sacramento County Historic Burials/Deaths, 1850-1933
- San Benito County Registrar, Burial Permits 1911-1948 from FamilySearch
- San Mateo County, Colma, Italian Cemetery Records, 1899-2011 at FamilySearch
- Siskiyou County Death Index, c.1905-early 21st Century
- Solano County Genealogical Society, Burial Records at FamilySearch
- Stanislaus County, California Burial Permits, 1918-1947
- Tulare County, Visalia Cemetery Records, 1875-1990 from FamilySearch

- Denver Public Library Obituary Indexes, 1913-2016 (Update: years 1913-1921 and 2015-2016 added)

- Windham County Cemetery Inscriptions and Vital Records

- New Castle County: Wilmington Vital Records, 1847-1954 at FamilySearch; coverage varies by type of record

- Chatham County: Catholic Diocese of Savannah Cemetery Records, 1853-1975 at Ancestry/requires payment
- Glynn County: Oak Grove Cemetery Burials (Brunswick, Georgia)

- Molokai: Hansen's Disease Records, Kalaupapa Vital Records Card Index, 1928-1947 at FamilySearch

- Twin Falls County, Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery Records, 1937-1993 at FamilySearch

- Illinois Firefighter Line of Duty Deaths
- Clinton County Veterans Memorial; has names and some short bios for those who died in 20th century wars
- Greene County, Vital Records Card File, ca. 1869-2007 (FamilySearch digitized microfilm of a newspaper index from the White Hall Township Library; browsable images - alphabetical by surname; indexes births, marriages and deaths)
- Jackson County Death Certificates, 1908-1917 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch)
- Morgan County Cemeteries
- Piatt County: Monticello Township Cemetery and Columb Cemetery Burials
- St. Clair County: O'Fallon City Cemetery Burials
- Will County: Joliet Herald-News Obituary Index, 1973-2012 (from the Joliet Public Library)

- Bartholomew County, Columbus, Garland Brook Cemetery Interment Records, ca.1885-ca.2000 from Family Search

- Iowa, Adjutant General's Office, Grave Registration Service, Cemetery Records, 1800-2000 at FamilySearch; for Iowa veterans who were buried out of state, at sea or in foreign countries
- Black Hawk County Cemeteries (also has Black Hawk County deaths 1935-1939, and other items)
- Black Hawk County: Cedar Falls Municipal Cemeteries Interactive Map (burials database) for Fairview Cemetery, Greenwood Cemetery and Hillside Cemetery
- Buchanan County Obituaries and Cemetery Records, ca.1796-1988 at FamilySearch
- Marshall County, Marshalltown, Riverside Cemetery Burial Records, ca.1800-ca.1975 at FamilySearch
- Marshall County, Iowa Death Register, 1880-1890
- Polk County, Cemetery Gravestone Records at FamilySearch
- Story County: Iowa State University Cemetery Burial Search (in Ames, Iowa)
- Story County: Ames Municipal Cemetery and Ontario Cemetery Maps and Records
- Story County: Roland Cemetery Burials

- Crawford County, Frontenac, Funeral Home Records, 1905-2014 from FamilySearch

- Jefferson County: Louisville Newspaper Obituary Index, 1918-1987; Handwritten indexes arranged by first letter of the surname, then by year. Downloadable PDFs.
- Lawrence County: Big Sandy News Obituaries (work in progress, not complete; from the Lawrence County, Kentucky Genealogical and Historical Society)
- Warren County: Fairview Cemetery Online Burial Search (in Bowling Green, Kentucky)

- Orleans Parish Death Records and Certificates, 1835-1954 from FamilySearch
- Southwest Louisiana, Deaths Index, 1840-1906 (at Ancestry/requires payment) For these parishes: Calcasieu, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermillion. Most of the records indexed are for the years 1861-1865, 1873-1876, and 1879-1882. Coverage varies by parish.

- Cumberland County: Evergreen Cemetery Burials Finder Map (in Portland, Maine)
- Cumberland County, Westbrook, Woodlawn Cemetery, Burial Records, 1914-1992 at FamilySearch
- Cumberland Town Books: Cemeteries and Vital Records (includes Vital Records of Cumberland, Maine 1701-1892; Cemeteries of Cumberland, Maine; and other items)

- Marquette County: City of Ishpeming Cemetery Burial Records
- Marquette County: Negaunee Cemetery Burials (in Negaunee, Michigan)

- Hennepin County, Minneapolis, Layman Cemetery Burial Records, 1860-1926 from FamilySearch

- Mississippi, Death Certificate Index, 1912-1943 at FamilySearch/from Reclaim the Records
- Copiah County Cemeteries

- Missouri Death Certificates Index and Images, 1910-1969 (Update: year 1969 added)
- Atchison County: Hunter Cemetery Burials (Rock Port, Missouri)
- Atchison County Deaths/Burials Index
- Barry County Genealogy and Other Documents (includes funeral records, 1958-early 1974 and other items)
- Carroll County, Missouri, Cemetery Index, 1840-1966 (at Ancestry/requires payment)
- Clay County: Fairview and New Hope Cemetery Viewer (Interactive Map) in Liberty, Missouri
- Clay County, Missouri, Cemetery Index, 1844-1938 (at Ancestry/requires payment)
- Gasconade County Probate File Index
- Greene County: Ozarks Obituary Collection from the Ozarks Genealogical Society and the Springfield-Greene County Library District; has more than 115,000 obituaries from southwest Missouri newspapers
- Greene County: Ozarks News and Historical Index (searches births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and other items that appeared in Springfield newspapers 1900-present; also indexes Springfield newspaper articles, 1867-June 30, 2002)
- Jackson County Clerk Registers and Permanent Records of Births and Deaths, 1883-1895; digitized microfilm from FamilySearch; not indexed; death registers appear to end c. August 1890, with a few entries recorded after that.
- Jackson County: Union Cemetery Burials Database (for surnames A-N) in Kansas City, Missouri
- Jackson County: Woodlawn Cemetery Collection; includes digital images of death registers (June 1897 to August 1911), burial registers (June 1897 and May 1918), and lot sales (1865-1951); Independence, Missouri
- Linn County, Missouri, Cemetery Index, 1850-1962 (at Ancestry/requires payment)
- Macon County, Missouri, Cemetery Index, 1830-1963 (at Ancestry/requires payment)
- Shelby County Death Indexes (includes Shelby County Death Register, 1883-1886; Shelby County Burial Cards Index, 1890s-1930s, and other items)
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch Obituary Index; Covers 1880-1930, 1942-1945, 1960-1970, and 1992-April 2020. (Update: August 2019-April 2020 added)

- Silver Bow County, Cemetery Indexes, 1880-2003 from FamilySearch

- Platte County: Columbus Telegram Obituary Index
- Platte County Genealogy Indexes; includes indexes for obituaries, cemetery burials, and other items
- York County: Greenwood Cemetery Burials, York, Nebraska

New Jersey
- New Jersey Death Index, 1901-2017 (at Ancestry/requires payment) Update: more years added, filling in previous gaps
- Essex County: Newark, Mount Olivet Cemetery Records, 1871-1984 at FamilySearch
- Essex County: Newark, Woodland Cemetery Records, 1895-1980 at FamilySearch
- Gloucester County, Clarksboro, Eglington Cemetery Records, 1880-1983 from FamilySearch
- Mercer County, Veteran's Service Office, Grave Registration Records, ca. 1770-ca.1979 from FamilySearch

New York City
- New York, New York, Index to Death Certificates, 1862-1948: at Ancestry/requires payment; includes date and place of death, names of parents, date and place (cemetery) of burial and other items for many of the entries; earlier records have less information; coverage is for: Bronx, 1898-1948; Brooklyn, 1862-1948; Manhattan, 1866-1867, 1870-1875, 1934-1948; Queens, 1898-1948; Richmond, 1898-1948

See: Online New York City Death Records Indexes and Obituaries

New York State
- Erie County: Lackawanna, Holy Cross Cemetery Records, 1855-1965 at FamilySearch
- Orange County: Goshen Public Library Obituary Index
- Orange County: Persons Buried in Old Town Cemetery, Newburgh, New York
- Suffolk County: Connetquot Public Library Obituary Index

North Carolina
- New Hanover County: Wilmington, Oakdale Cemetery Records, 1852-2005 at FamilySearch; includes digitized images of the burial registers

- Ohio Death Index, 1908-1932 and 1938-2018 at Ancestry (requires payment) 1952-1955 is missing; (Update: years 2008-2018 added)
- Cuyahoga County: Erie Street Cemetery Burials and Removals, 1840-1918
- Cuyahoga County: Riverside Cemetery Burials Index (Cleveland, Ohio)
- Hamilton County: Vine Street Hill Cemetery Index of Burials, 1851-1986 (Cincinnati) from FamilySearch
- Lucas County: Toledo Library Digital Collections: Cemetery Records; includes: Northwestern Ohio Genealogical Society Cemetery Project (burials in more than 30 cemeteries in the Toledo area) and Lloyd Brothers Walker Monument Company Records
- Lucas County: Toledo, Historic Woodlawn Cemetery Index of Burials, 1877-1955 at FamilySearch

- Tulsa County, Rose Hill Memorial Park Interment Records, ca.1915-ca.1982 from FamilySearch

- Oregon Gravestone Photo Project (has over 140,000 entries)

- Pennsylvania Death Records Indexes, 1906-1969 (update: year 1969 added)
- Pennsylvania Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880 from FamilySearch; list of persons who died in the year preceding the census
- Philadelphia, Greenmount Cemetery Records, 1880-1966 from FamilySearch

Rhode Island
- Providence County, Providence, Swan Point Cemetery Records, ca.1846-ca.1950 at FamilySearch

South Carolina
- South Carolina Death Certificates and Index, 1915-1968 (at Ancestry/requires payment) Update: 1966-1968 added
- South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964 from FamilySearch; images only
- Charleston County: Burial Records for the Evergreen (Grimball) Cemetery, James Island

South Dakota
- South Dakota, Grave Registration Records, Gathered by the WPA in 1940 and 1941 at FamilySearch
- Lawrence County: South Lead City Cemetery, Card Index of Deaths, 1912-1966 from FamilySearch

- Tennessee Death Records and Index 1908-1965 (except 1913) at Ancestry/requires payment; includes digitized death certificates (Update: years 1959-1965 added)
- Davidson County: Mount Olivet Cemetery Records, 1855-1906 (cemetery in Nashville)
- Davidson County, Death Records, 1900-1913 from FamilySearch; includes digitized images of the death certificates

- Bosque County Cemetery Burials Database
- Dallas County, Oakland Cemetery Interment Cards, 1891-1999 from FamilySearch
- Tarrant County: Stewart Title Company Abstracts of Probate Records, c.1850s-c.1950s

- Box Elder County: Brigham City Family History Center, Obituary Collection, 1930-2015 from FamilySearch
- Wasatch County Obituary Index, 2003-2012 from the Heber City, Utah Family History Center
- Wasatch County Index to Obituary Books, pre-1960 and 1960-2003

- Virginia Death Certificates, 1912-1993 and Death Records Index, 1912-2014 (at Ancestry/requires payment) Update: years 1992 and 1993 added to the digitized death certificates
- Fredericksburg City: Virginia Historical Society Papers, 1607-2007 from FamilySearch; includes Fredericksburg City Death Records, 1853-1896
- Portsmouth Public Library Genealogy Records: includes Norfolk County District 1 deaths, 1886-1896 (except 1895); and Norfolk County District 2 deaths, 1891-1896 (except 1895); and burial indexes for 7 cemeteries in Portsmouth City; also has some birth and marriage indexes
- Southampton County Genealogy Indexes (incudes Will Books 1749-1881, Death Records 1853-1890, and other items)

- Clark County: Fern Prairie Cemetery Burials (in Camas, Washington)
- King County Online Records Search, 1976-present (indexes some death certificates, marriages, and other items; coverage varies by type of record)

West Virginia
- West Virginia Death Records and Index, 1853-1969; coverage varies by county; includes free downloadable images of the death records or certificates; also has birth and marriage records (update: year 1969 added)

- Milwaukee, Holy Cross Cemetery, Interment Records, 1909-1979 at FamilySearch
- Milwaukee, Wanderer's Rest Cemetery Records, 1880-1979 at FamilySearch

- Sheridan Municipal Cemetery Burials

This is a list of the most recent additions. There are many more links for death records indexes at: Online Searchable Death Records Indexes and Obituaries

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Online Indexes for Death Records, Cemeteries and Obituaries (USA) - Latest Additions and Updates

The Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records Website (USA) has been updated with links to the following items...

- Mobile County: Friends of Magnolia Cemetery, Funeral Books, 1911-1965 at FamilySearch

- Lee County Cemeteries

- Lassen County, State Board of Health, Burial Permits, 1931-1988 at FamilySearch
- Los Angeles: Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery, Deceased Card File Index, 1877-1989 from FamilySearch
- Marin County Genealogical Society Indexes (includes Coroner's Inquest Records Index, 1941-1967; Wills Index, 1856-1908; and Probate Records Index, 1850-1940)
- Mendocino County, Ukiah, Russian River Cemetery District, Index to Burials, 1850-1990 at FamilySearch
- Sacramento County: Fair Oaks Cemetery Burials
- San Francisco Death Records, 1865-1904 (digitized microfilm of mortuary or death registers/indexes, 1865-June 1904 with gaps; and death certificates, July-December 1904 only; from FamilySearch; images only/not searchable by name; some years are missing)

- Elbert County Cemeteries
- Jefferson County: Wheat Ridge, Crown Hill Cemetery Records, 1900-1950 (searchable database from FamilySearch)

- Hartford County: Cedar Hill Cemetery Burials in Hartford, Connecticut

- Delaware Vital Record Index Cards, 1680-1934 at FamilySearch

- Broward County: Dania Memorial Park (a/k/a) Woodlawn Cemetery Burials (from the Genealogical Society of Broward County)
- St. Johns County: List of deaths and/or burials, 1800-1899 in St. Johns County, Florida; and St. Johns County, Florida register of deaths occuring in or burial in for the period 1900-1949 (scanned book at FamilySearch)

- Chatham County: Savannah, Laurel Grove Cemetery Record Keeper's Book, 1852-1942 at FamilySearch; African American cemetery in Savannah
- Morgan County: Madison, Georgia Historic Cemeteries (lists 4000 burials, some with links to obituaries)
- Muscogee County: Linwood and Porterdale Cemeteries, Interment Records, 1866-2000 at FamilySearch

- Hawaii, Death Records and Death Registers, 1841-1925 at FamilySearch

- Christian County Death Records, 1878-1917; Index, 1878-1927 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch)
- DuPage County: Naperville Sun Index (includes obituary citations starting in 1997 up through much of 2006)
- Kane County: Elgin, Illinois Area Obituaries Index, Mid 1970s to 2011
- Kane County, Elgin, Gail Borden Public Library District, Local Newspaper Obituary Digital Index, 1922-2017 from FamilySearch
- Knox County: Linwood and East Linwood Cemetery Database (in Galesburg, Illinois)
- Peoria County Birth, Marriage and Death Records Before 1916 (includes scanned copies of the registers; for death records, coverage starts 12-28-1877)
- Randolph County Cemeteries
- Sangamon County: Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield Sacramental Records, 1853-1975 (at Ancestry/requires payment; includes baptism, marriage and death/burial records; coverage varies by parish)
- Winnebago County Death Certificates, ca. 1876-1943 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch)

- Tippecanoe County Historical Association Genealogy Indexes (includes: Early Tippecanoe County Obituaries and Death Notices, 1830-1904; Index to Selected Death Records, 1830s-1960s; and Soldier Burials, 1889-1894)

- Bremer County: Indexes to Obituaries in the Tripoli Leader, 1905-1999 (some years are missing)

- Shawnee County Clerk: Births and Deaths from 1894-1911
- Shawnee County: Topeka Genealogical Society Surname Search (indexes some deaths, marriages and other items)
- Shawnee County: Rossville Community Library Genealogy (includes a database with obituaries and other items, plus burial lists for 5 cemeteries)
- Wilson County: Neodesha Cemetery and Neodesha Catholic Cemetery Burials

- New Orleans, Interment Registers, 1836-1972 at FamilySearch

- Cumberland County: Scarborough Historical Society Obituary Index Database (includes digitized copies of some of the obituaries -- ongoing project)
- Kennebec County, Togus National Cemetery Records from FamilySearch

- Maryland, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1777 at Ancestry/requires payment
- Maryland Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940 at FamilySearch
- Baltimore City Death Index, 1875-1880 and 1943-1949 (searchable database)

- Massachusetts Delayed and Corrected Vital Records, 1753-1900 at FamilySearch

- Huron County: Huron Daily Tribune Obituaries Index

- Minnesota Deaths, 1887-2001 at FamilySearch (free with registration; coverage may vary by county; you must be at a Family History Center or FamilySearch affiliate library to view the images)

- Mississippi Death Indexes, November 1912-1943 at Reclaim the Records; scanned images
- Mississippi State Archives, Various Records, 1820-1951 at FamilySearch (includes indexed military grave registrations for Mississippi)
- Adams County, Natchez Death Index, 1835-1905 at FamilySearch
- Harrison County: Biloxi City Cemetery Burials
- Harrison County: Beauvoir Memorial Cemetery Burials (Civil War veterans cemetery in Biloxi, Mississippi)

- Camden County: Index of Cemetery Burials
- Jasper County: Peace Church Cemetery Transcription in Joplin, Missouri
- Lafayette County: Tombstone Inscriptions of Lafayette County, Missouri (7 volumes/PDF files)
- Montgomery County Historical Society Cemetery Burials
- Pettis County: Crown Hill Cemetery Burials (City of Sedalia)
- Pettis County Cemeteries
- Pettis County, Missouri, Cemetery Index, 1812-1953 (at Ancestry/requires payment)
- St. Louis: Bellerive Gardens Cemetery Burials Search

- Nebraska Death Index, 1904-1968 (searchable by name from 1956-1968; browsable images from 1904-1955; from Reclaim the Records)

New Jersey
- New Jersey Death Index, 1901-2017 (with gaps) at Ancestry/requires payment; 1904-1919 and 1930-1948 are not included in this database; there may be other gaps
- New Jersey Death Records Indexes, May 1848-December 1900 (Update: June 1899-December 1900 added)

New Mexico
- Los Alamos County: Los Alamos Monitor Obituaries Index, 1963-2000

New York State
- New York State Genealogical Research Death Index, 1957 to 50 years ago (update: April-late 1969 added)
- New York State Death Index, 1880-1956 free from FamilySearch with images of the index from Reclaim the Records; Deaths for Yonkers, Buffalo and Albany are not included until 1915.
- Nassau County: West Hempstead Obituary Index

North Carolina
- North Carolina, Department of Archives and History, Index to Vital Records, 1800-2000 from FamilySearch (for births, delayed births, and deaths)
- North Carolina, Historical Records Survey, Cemetery Inscription Card Index (WPA) from FamilySearch; does not include all counties
- Columbus County Coroners' Inquest, 1914-1968, 1981 (gives name and year only)
- Wake County Death Records, 1900-1909 from FamilySearch

- Oklahoma City, Rose Hill Burial Park, Interment cards, 1917-1982 at FamilySearch

South Carolina
- Anderson County Library Local Obituary Index (covers 1950-1954, 1980, and 2010-2018)
- Charleston City Death Records, 1821-1926 at FamilySearch

South Dakota
- South Dakota, Veteran Graves Registration Records Gathered by the WPA in 1940 and 1941 at FamilySearch (not complete)

- Davidson County: Nashville City Cemetery Records, 1843-1962 from FamilySearch
- Shelby County: Memphis, Board of Health Death Records, 1848-1913 at FamilySearch; includes digitized copies of the death certificates (called "burial permits")

- Erath County, Texas, Cemetery Inscriptions (Scanned books from FamilySearch; 3 volumes with indexes in the back of each)

- Utah Cemetery Abstracts from FamilySearch; compiled between 1953 and 1955; most entries appear to be for Salt Lake City

- Searchable Index of Vermont Births and Deaths, 1909-recent, from the Vermont Department of Health
- Windsor County: Woodstock Cemetery records, 1793-1947 (digitized microfilm from FamilySearch)

- Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Deaths, 1854-1911 at Ancestry/requires payment; includes images of the death records
- Marinette County: City of Marinette Cemetery Burials (for Calvary Cemetery, Forest Home Cemetery, and Woodlawn Cemetery)
- Milwaukee, Pilgrim's Rest Cemetery, Interment Records, 1880-1979 at FamilySearch
- Shawano and Oconto County Indexes from FamilySearch (includes images of some obituaries and obituary indexes for Shawano County, mostly 20th century; not searchable by name)

Social Security Death Index Page
- Social Security NUMIDENT Files, 1936-2007 (from the National Archives/free to search)
For info, see: The Social Security Death Index: a Guide for Searching Online

This is a list of the most recent additions. There are many more links for death records indexes at: Online Searchable Death Records Indexes and Obituaries

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

NARA's Online Social Security Numident Files Database Has Extractions from Some SS-5 Forms

The Social Security Numident Files Database (1936-2007) from the National Archives (NARA) now includes some "Application (SS-5) Files," which have information extracted from the form the person filled out when they applied for a Social Security Card (the SS-5 form). For some of the entries this includes some key information that genealogists are often looking for: names of the person's parents, and the person's place and date of birth.

Note that you will not find a text-based SS-5 in the Numident database for everyone who is in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). The database is free to use at NARA's website. Ordering copies of SS-5 forms from the Social Security Administration requires a fee.

Many of the "Application (SS-5) Files" in the Numident database contain:
  • Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Names of Parents
Some of the items listed above may be not be included on all Numidents.

Some of these files may also contain:
  • "Other Last Name" -- this is usually a woman's maiden name. Note that this is not included on a standard SS-5.
SS-5 Forms usually contain:
  • Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Names of Parents (may be redacted)
  • Address
  • Name and address of present employer
  • Sex and Color/Race
  • Date signed
Note that SS-5 forms may vary slightly over time.

Here is a comparison between the Numident application file from NARA and the SS-5 obtained from the Social Security Administration for actor Gregory Peck, who died in 2003.

The basic information given in the Numident application file for Gregory Peck:
  • Name: Eldred Gregory Peck
  • Social Security Number: 547-16-9811
  • Birth: 5 April 1916, San Diego, California
  • Parents: Bernice M. Ayres and Gregory P. Peck
The basic information given on the SS-5 form for Gregory Peck (see image below):
  • Name: Eldred Gregory Peck
  • Social Security Number: 547-16-9811
  • Birth: 5 April 1916, San Diego, California; Age: 21
  • Parents: Bernice Mae Ayres and Gregory Pearl Peck
  • Date signed: 20 December 1937
  • Employer: The Marston Co, 5th and C streets, San Diego
  • Sex: male; Color: white
  • Signature

NARA's Numident database also contains "Death Files," which is similar to the SSDI, but with fewer entries. And "Claim Files," which include brief information about when a person made a claim for Social Security benefits, including death claims.

If the person you're looking for is not in NARA's Numident database, you can try ordering a copy of the SS-5 from the Social Security Administration.

NARA's Numident database is online at: Social Security Numident Files Database from the National Archives.

For information about the online Social Security Death Index and related databases, along with information about how to order a copy of an SS-5 form, see:

The Social Security Death Index and Related Databases - Information for Online Searching

Here's a copy of Gregory Peck's SS-5 form (click on it to see a larger view).

Gregory Peck - Social Security SS-5 form

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Child's View of a Journey from Germany to America in 1887

In 1884 my great grandfather, Johann (John) Nelke, came to America when he was 17 with his uncle's family. They settled in St. Louis, Missouri. John saved money to help pay for the passage of the rest of his family—his parents, Johann and Amelia, and his three younger sisters, Adeline, Hedwig (Hattie), and Bertha. They left from Rotterdam on a ship called the S.S. Rotterdam, arriving in New York on Thursday, May 26, 1887. The youngest Nelke passenger on the ship, Bertha, was twelve. After she grew up, one of her children, Melba Heyderich, wrote down what Bertha told her about life in Germany and the trip to St. Louis. So here is a secondhand account of a child's journey from Germany to America in 1887. As later told to her daughter...

[Notes in brackets were added by me. I also made a few minor corrections.]

In Germany, the [Nelke] family lived on a large farm owned by a landowner that they worked for. My mother [Bertha Nelke] said that everyday her mother [Amelia] and father [Johann] had to work in the fields and left the three girls to knit socks, peel potatoes for the evening meal, etc. My mother's job was to tend to a flock of geese, a neighboring boy took care of the cows, etc. They went to school—a long walk away—in a one room schoolhouse. The teacher was a man who taught all grades. When it was time for religious studies, the Catholic children went outside to play while the teacher, a Lutheran, taught. When the priest arrived, the Lutheran children and teacher went outside while the priest instructed the Catholic children. Their brother John [my great grandfather] was raised Catholic which was the custom then. All boys were raised in their father's religion, the girls in the mother's.

Johann and Amelia Nelke and three daughters, Adeline, Hattie and Bertha left Barkenfelde, Germany for [Rotterdam] Holland. My mother [Bertha] remembered the strange dress and shoes and language of the people. They sailed on Bertha's 12th birthday, May 12, 1887. It was also the ship captain's birthday and Mom remembered that he came over to shake hands. It took two weeks before the captain called them up on deck to see the Statue of Liberty. So it was May 27, 1887 when they reached New York.

She didn't mention too much about the trip. They came steerage and her mother [Amelia] was ill the whole trip. The girls were afraid that she was going to die, but it was probably seasickness. The trip was uneventful except for spotting a large whale. She said the water spouted up like a fountain, but then they were ordered to move to the other side of the ship because the ship was tilting.

They also had their own tin cup, plate, spoon, knife and fork that they had to keep and wash for the entire trip.

Immigrants Landing at Castle Garden, 1880
Immigrants Landing at Castle Garden, 1880

She didn't know exactly where they were, but she remembered a big, noisy room where they waited, and being pushed along and yelled at. [This would have been the Castle Garden immigration depot in New York City.] Since none spoke English they didn't know what was going on. Some people were crying and were being sent back and I guess the parents too were terrified. Then she remembered a crowded dirty train ride for a long time. They were met in St. Louis by their older brother, John [my great grandfather], who had come over when he was about 17. I don't know how long he had been here before he sent them money for the trip [it was about 3 years].

Melba's story about her mother was sent to me in 1999 by Roy Held, who is my mother's second cousin and the grandson of Bertha's sister, Adeline. The previous year, I received an email from Roy, who had seen a photograph of my great grandparents, John and Elisabeth Nelke, on my genealogy website. I gave Roy's papers to my mother who put them in a filing cabinet in her sewing room, which was once my bedroom. I found the papers three years ago while digging around in the sewing room to see what gems I might uncover, or in this case, rediscover, among all the colorful thread and fabric.

Bertha Nelke, c. 1905
Bertha Nelke, c. 1905

The Nelke family lived in a small village in West Prussia (Germany) called Barkenfelde that is now in Poland, where it is known as Barkowo. Barkenfelde did not have a Catholic or Lutheran church at the time the Nelke family lived there, so they attended Catholic church in Schlochau, about 14 km away, and later in Christfelde, a nearby village. Although they were raised Lutheran, the three Nelke girls were baptized in the Catholic church. The surviving church records for Schlochau and Christfelde are in a Catholic diocese archive in Pelplin, Poland. They have not been microfilmed and they are not online. I have not been able to locate Lutheran records for the area. They may have been lost or destroyed during the turmoil in the region at the time of World War II. The small wooden Catholic church in Christfelde was destroyed in the war. A new church was later built on the same spot.

Looking at my family tree, I see a twelve-year-old girl, exhilarated and scared at the same time, traveling from her tiny home village to Rotterdam, then a ship to New York City, and a crowded train to St. Louis. Along the way, she encountered new people and new languages. She worried about her mother, marveled at a whale, whose presence caused the ship to tilt, and then witnessed the unpleasant treatment of immigrants at Castle Garden.

S.S. Rotterdam
S.S. Rotterdam

This exciting and strange journey was followed by tragedy as Bertha's father, Johann, died eight months after the family arrived in America when he was 49. He was found in the bottom of a well on the grounds of the urban garden where he worked. The St. Louis deputy coroner ruled his a death a suicide. Apparently the rigors of the trip sparked a nervous breakdown. He's buried in an unmarked grave in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

And then perhaps some calm arrived for the Nelke family as they settled into their new lives in this strange new place. Bertha and her sisters married Lutheran men, their brother married a Catholic woman. They all had children and passed things down. And somehow through the magic of connection, of wanting to connect—a discovery on the internet followed by an exchange of emails and letters and photographs—I ended up with this story to share.

This is the best part of genealogy, going beyond recording names, dates, and places, to find and share stories like this. Stories where we get to actually know our ancestors a little bit with a tiny peek into their lives.

-Joe Beine, September 2019

Thank you...

Roy Held for sharing Bertha's story with me and my mother.
Hans-Jürgen Nelke, who assisted with research in Barkenfelde and the surrounding area.

The Nelke Family

Parents (my great great grandparents):
Johann Nelke, 1839-1888
Amelia (Emilie) Mahlke, 1839-1915

Their children:
Johann (John), 1866-1930 (my great grandfather)
Adeline (Lena), 1869-1913
Hermann, 1872-1873, died in Barkenfelde
Hedwig (Hattie), 1873-1915
Bertha, 1875-1944
(her daughter Melba Heyderich, 1917-2011)

All of the above people were born in West Prussia and died in St. Louis (except Melba and Hermann). Several of their relatives also came to America and settled in St. Louis, including Amelia's brother, Carl, and her sister, Henrietta.


Sources and notes for this article can be found at: Nelke Family Genealogy Records


Shults, A. B., Artist. "Immigrants Landing at Castle Garden. New York: 1880." Illustration in Harper's Weekly, May 29, 1880, p. 341. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Johnston, J. S, photographer. Detroit Publishing Co., Publisher. "S.S. Rotterdam." Between 1897 and 1907. Photograph. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Bertha Nelke photograph from Roy Held's family collection.

About the Author

Joe Beine likes to take pictures, write stories, and search for his ancestors. He especially enjoys solving the little mysteries that always seem to show up in his family tree. He lives in Denver with with his perpetual puppy, Raven.

Visit Swan Light Stories to read two of his stories and learn more about his novella Sitting on Saturn.

© 2019. May not be reproduced without permission.