24 May 2014

FamilySearch Update: Iowa Death Records-And Some Concerns

Familysearch announced recently an update to their database of Iowa marriage records ("Iowa, County Death Records, 1880-1992"). I'm always grateful for access to new finding aids. But this database is one of those on Familysearch that confuses me.

The search page for this database (as of this writing) indicates that "the collection contains indexes, death records, certificates, registers, etc. for 98 of the 99 counties." Actually the "collection" is an index to these items since currently there are not links to actual digital images for specific records.

The wiki entry for the collection does not indicate the year coverage for any counties specifically and apparently there is no way for the researcher to know what county's records include what years within the 1880-1992 time span. In fact, the wiki states:
"This collection will include records from 1867-1991. These records include a compilation of county death records. The collection contains indexes, death records, certificates, registers, etc. for 98 of the 99 counties."
Those are not even the years on the title of the database.

Which means that the researcher does not really know what they are searching and if they do not find the desired record in the database they should search the records manually. While manual searching is always advised when desired materials cannot be found in any finding aid, in cases like this it is even more advised because the finding aid does not make it clear exactly what materials it includes.




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