Thursday, April 06, 2006

Yet another post about MO death certificates

About 60 people -- not counting various library staff, Archives personnel and those I presume were media -- were at the announcement of the database today. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan was there for the announcement. There's nothing here to really comment on except that she said 27,000 volunteers were involved in this project. The figure didn't make sense at the time, but when it was later reported that 27,000+ searches have already been made, I think that's the number that slipped into her speech. According to an email from the State Archivist, there were 598 transcription volunteers. I believe there were also several other volunteers at the Archives in Jeff City helping with other aspects of the project. I bring this up only because the error was not corrected and I'm curious to see if any media reports quote the incorrect figure.

As already mentioned, over 27,000 searches have been made in less than a day. This popularity comes with a price: it is now extremely difficult to use the database. I noticed the slowness this morning before leaving, and now it's even worse. I'm even more appreciative of the advance notice now than I was on Tuesday!

The big news is that by Labor Day the Archives hopes to have the 1921-1930 certificates scanned. Additionally, when the Dept. of Health releases the 1956 records later this year, the Archives will make them available to volunteers for data entry.

I can't try it now to make certain, but I would suggest to those searching for records in St. Louis City and County to try both locations if you use that part of the search to narrow the number of results. It seemed like there was some overlap -- potentially due to how the records were written or transcribed -- yet each location would return a different number of results. (The City and County have been separate since 1876.)

Finally, sending a buck to the Archives for a photocopy is fine, but the records I've printed on a low-end printer look OK so far. At the announcement today, the Archivist said essentially the same thing.

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