Philadelphia – Death Records Online

Genealogists researching Philadelphia just got even more help in finding their ancestors.

FamilySearchLabs has just added digital copies of Philadelphia (PA) death certificates from 1803-1915.

The Philadelphia Inquirer 1860-1922 along with over 280 Philadelphia and Pennsylvania newspapers from the colonial period right up to today are already online at GenealogyBank


So – what will you find in these records?

One gives the basic facts and the other tells us the rest of the story.

The coroner’s return has the grim story: Edward Hendrickson, age 11, killed on 20 April 1905 at the B&O Railroad tracks “while trespassing.” A sterile almost harsh report.


But there is more to the story. The Philadelphia Inquirer (21 April 1905) called him a “little hero” – who had “sacrificed” himself to save his younger brother Gilbert, age 8.

Edward and Gilbert were walking along the B&O Railroad tracks when he saw that Gilbert had stepped onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train. The paper reported that Edward “jumped toward him, pushing him down a small embankment” saving Gilbert’s life, but the train took his.

Yes – the coroner’s report gave us the core facts but aren’t we glad to have the newspaper account to give us the full story.

Having Philadelphia’s newspapers and death records online makes it easy for genealogists to get the complete stories in our family tree.

This new FHL resource includes Philadelphia Death Certificates, hospital returns, undertaker certificates and similar death records from 1803 to 1915. It may be searched for free.

Typical entries include the person’s name, date of death/burial; place of death/burial; names of the parents; attending physician; undertaker; age of the deceased; occupation of the deceased; race; former residence; and cause of death.

The FamilySearchLabs site is easy to use.

Go to
FamilySearchLabs.org
Under: Current Projects – Click on Record Search
Sign-in
Under: Search an Indexed Collection – click on:
Pennyslvania Philadelphia City Death Certificates 1803-1915

A simple search box appears.
You may search by first or last name; names of the parents; name of the spouse or location.
The FHL index let’s you search on any one or these entire search options.

To search the nearly 280+ Philadelphia and other Pennsylvania newspapers go to GenealogyBank and begin searching.

1st genealogy published in America – 7 May 1724

The first genealogy published in America appeared in a newspaper 284 years ago – today – May 7, 1724.

It appeared in the American Weekly Mercury. It was a genealogy of King Philip V of Spain. Genealogy articles routinely appeared in colonial newspapers.

The first genealogy published in book form was in 1771 – the Stebbins Genealogy and by 1876 and the nation’s first centennial there were less than 1,000 genealogies published.

With a push from President Ulysses S. Grant the idea really took off. It was 132 years ago on May 25th that he issued a “Proclamation” to the American people asking them to remember their history, write it down and distribute it widely.

He wrote that he wanted to see “a complete record” of our history … be kept and placed in each county and in the Library of Congress”. If the Internet were available then I am sure he would have suggested that they be put online too.


According to the 16 Mar 1912 issue of the San Jose Mercury “Genealogy Study Rapidly Growing. In Recent Years Americans Have Been Making Great Study of the Family Tree”. By the year 1920 there were 2,000 published genealogies and by 1972 there were 50,000 family histories in print.

With the publication of Roots in 1976 genealogy really took off.

By the late 90s the Internet was becoming a common tool for genealogists. By 1998 there were over 90,000 published genealogies. Today, just ten years later that number has jumped to over 150,000 published genealogies.

GenealogyBank was launched in 2005 and is also growing at a rapid pace. Now we are adding over 4 million items per month.

This month we added 4.3 million records; included 78 newspapers from 23 States. Click here for the complete list.
Amazing.
What a great day for genealogy!

B-Ann Moorhouse (1925-2008)

Joy Rich, Editor, Dorot: The Journal of the Jewish Genealogical Society (New York), contacted me with the sad news that B-Ann Moorhouse has passed away.
She was a terrific genealogist. When I began researching in the 1960s I got to know her and always appreciated her kindness and assistance.

With permission I am reposting Joy’s announcement of her passing.

I write to you with a heavy heart about the passing of B-Ann Moorhouse. B-Ann was a professional genealogist (and a CG) for several decades. She was loved and respected by the enormous number of people whose lives she touched.

B-Ann was the epitome of kindness and graciousness. She believed in people and encouraged them to fulfill their potential. She was always eager to share – especially with the next generation of professional genealogists and with librarians and archivists – the astonishing amount of wisdom, knowledge, and insight she had in the field of genealogy, particularly concerning Irish and colonial American genealogy.

Another area of great interest to B-Ann was the history of African American families in Brooklyn. B-Ann was the founder in 1978 of the Ulster Historical Foundation’s Ulster Genealogical and Historical Guild, a research co-operative established to link people worldwide who shared a common interest in Irish genealogy. She also founded the Genealogy Workshop at the Brooklyn Historical Society, which, at the time, was named the Long Island Historical Society.

She authored numerous articles for genealogical publications, abstracted Kings County, New York, administration proceedings and typed them on an extremely temperamental computer, and created finding aids for New York City for several New York state censuses. B-Ann was given access to basements and storage rooms in New York City’s Municipal Archives (when it was still in the Tweed Courthouse), Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court, and the Long Island Historical Society. Left to her own devices, she proceeded to rummage around and found many hidden treasures that she brought to light.

B-Ann passed away on February 15, 2008, in Georgia. Her beloved niece, Ann, who assured me that B-Ann died peacefully, moved her there last year so that she could care for B-Ann in her last months. It will bring a smile to your lips to know that, under Ann’s care, our B-Ann of the small frame gained sixteen pounds in six months.

Soon before she moved to Georgia, Jim Garrity and I paid her what turned out to be our final visit. We took her for a stroll on the promenade in her Brooklyn Heights neighborhood and then out to dinner. We had a wonderful time. It is just one of so many good memories of her that we will have with us always.

B-Ann will be dearly missed by her friends and her family.

Joy Rich
Brooklyn, NY