National Genealogical Society 2017 Family History Conference

Last week I was fortunate to be able to attend the National Genealogical Society 2017 Family History Conference. It was held in Raleigh this year, so it was only 15 minutes from my house. Very convenient!

Most of the speakers were experts in their field, and some were the expert in their field.  I mostly concentrated on the DNA, Scots Irish, and the international connections sessions with a few other subjects thrown in.

Luckily for our library, we have a tireless local genealogical society and they were generous enough to buy us many books from the vendors in the exhibit hall.

I recommend anyone with a passion for genealogy to attend one of these conferences. It will add to your skill set and take your craft to higher level. Also, nice people, food, and coffee.

The indomitable Betty Bachelor.

Victorian calling cards for sale.

Exhibit hall

A packed session.

1915 South Carolina Birth Certificates are now Online

Nell Welsh BC

This is my grandmother’s sister’s birth certificate. I guess her parents had not thought up a name for her yet. Some copies, like this one are a bit light. I can’t even read her mother’s name, which should be Alice Hilton.

Nell Welsh

Here is where she added her name to the the blank birth certificate in 1966.

This is awesome- South Carolina birth certificates for the year 1915, the first year they were issued, are now online at South Carolina Electronic Records Archive.

South Carolina had cut the funding for their Department of Archives and History so much in the past decade that they could hardly staff the place, and I knew several people who had lost their jobs.  Well they must have somebody over there because last month they released this digital bombshell.

Thanks to the Dead Librarian at the Richland Library in Columbia, SC, for the heads up.

Death Certificates


Typhoid Mary’s (Mary Mallon) Death Certificate. I was right in guessing that she died of typhoid. But it also lists her parents, place of birth (Ireland, no county though), birth date and how long she suffered from typhoid (24 years).

In today’s New york Times there is an interesting article about death certificates

a document that has myriad benefits for the living: establishing a legal basis for life insurance and estate settlements; providing critical information to survivors and descendants in an era of burgeoning advances in genetics; advancing knowledge about diseases, accidents and other causes of death; and much else.

And it is a great resource for genealogists to uncover a dead ancestor’s vital record’s and parents.  But the article is mainly focused on a study on the accuracy of the death certificate, especially whether or not the cause of death is being accurately reported.  The study found that many times the cause of death is not precise.  Doctor’s too often are forced by time pressures and the system to just put something down even if it is not wholly factual.

The article also displayed some great digital images of some famous person’s death certificates including Lou Gehrig, Typhoid Mary,  Boss Tweed and the first person to be killed by an automobile.

Death Certificate Index for Rountree African American Cemetery


Charlie Thomas, born 1859, died August 22, 1945

One of my tireless volunteers, Joan Howell, created an index for all those who are buried at Rountree Vick cemetery and have a death certificate on file at the the Wilson County Courthouse.

Her index also lists the parents of the deceased, so it is an invaluable resource for Wilson County African American genealogy.