Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mississippi Department of Archives: Death Certificate Indices (1925 - 1943)

Ever been on a research trip and felt like you hadn't accomplished any of your research goals?  

That was my experience, last weekend, in  MDAH's Microfilm Room and I completely blame myself.  When it comes to death certificates, you have to have a game plan or you'll quickly find yourself spinning your wheels needlessly.  So, take heed and consider the following:
1) Bring your MDAH Reading Room ID Card (a replacement card costs $5.00).  Or, if you don't have one, be sure to read, print, and complete pages 4-5 of the Reading Room policies

2) Bring your list of surnames currently being researched and then convert them to their "Russell" Soundex equivalencies: here’s my list.   Don't waste your time converting last names the old fashion way, get your Soundex codes here.
3) In each microfilm carrel, on the side panel, is a Mississippi map which contains unique codes for each county.  Oktibbeha County’s code is 53.

4) Death Certificates Index     Microfilm #  

          1925 – 1927                         1850
          1928 – 1929                         2291
          1930 – 1933                             76
          1934 – 1941                           848
          1942 – 1943                          885

NB: The 1934 pages (of the 1934 - 1941 years) on Microfilm #848 were poorly filmed however there is a workaround.  In Microfiche/Microfilm Media Reading Room, there one machine (look for the Indus Super Carrel) in the first row, which offer very high resolution for this particular film issue.

When you look at the film, you'll see something like the sample indici's ex of my great-grandmother, who died in 1934, below:
Soundex Code     Surname     Firstname Middle Initial     ?     CountyCode  Death Cert #    
300                        BOYD          Mary          L                            M   53                     8161

5) Lastly, and most importantly, once you locate the death certificate number (d/c#), don't forget to  write down the year of death so that Media Reading Room staff (at the back desktop, can locate the appropriate microfiche (e.g., Rosie Boyd: d/c# 7401, year - 1941).

6) Once you are given 

Here's my findings list sample.  Your findings list should not be a complete extraction of the death certificate but, rather, a quick reference guide to let you know if you're tracking the correct individual(s).  Keep in mind that negative research is still good research.  For me, personally, as there are three sets of Boyd families, in Starkville, this is great way to track who belongs to whom.

Good luck!

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