Friday, April 21, 2006

MO Archives update

From the Missouri State Archives website:

Important Death Certificate Announcement
Optional Expedited Service

The Missouri Death Certificate Database has proven widely popular. Researchers conducted over half a million searches within the first days of the database’s release. This amount equals nearly five months of searches on all the Missouri State Archives’ other online databases combined. Within two weeks, we have received requests to copy 7,000 death certificates. At the same time, we have received 700 e-mail queries regarding the database. These numbers continue to grow. We are pleased that so many people are benefiting from this database. Unfortunately, this unprecedented response is overwhelming our staff, who must also complete their regular duties. As a result, staff response to copy requests is currently taking up to twelve weeks.

We are committed to reducing the wait for patrons. To help relieve demands on staff, we have accelerated the schedule for release of online images. Rather than releasing images by decade, we will release images as scanning for each year is completed. Already, we have added 1921-1922 and expect to add 1923 very soon. Images to 1925 will be released by the end of June 2006, and we anticipate having images up to 1930 available in September 2006. We have also hired temporary staff to help us meet the initial demand for copies.

Knowing the challenges we face in meeting this demand, the Friends of the Missouri State Archives has volunteered to provide expedited service for those patrons who need their copies sooner than we can provide them. The Friends of the Missouri State Archives – a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that supports the activities of the Missouri State Archives – has offered to hire and oversee additional workers to copy death certificates. To cover the cost of this program, an additional fee would be charged for each copy.

This expedited service is optional. Copies will still be available at the cost of $1 for anyone that prefers to have their request completed by the Missouri State Archives staff. For those who would like faster service from the Friends of the Missouri State Archives, copies will be available for $5 per name requested. There is also no limit to the number of requests that can be made through the Friends. Fees generated from this service will be dedicated exclusively to the death certificate project. As you search the database, you will find instructions on how to request copies from either the Missouri State Archives or the Friends.

We hope that these measures make an already successful project even better for our patrons. Our goal is to provide you with the fastest and most efficient service possible. We are grateful for your patience as we strive to meet that goal.

Time to run a new report for 1921 and 1922 deaths...


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