And one more thing to note about the portion of the marriage index: that data spans across two pages, not just one. See that layout below? So, how did we get years of New Jersey records? Well, in this case we all owe a huge debt to a mild-mannered genealogist who, probably much like you, was just totally fed up with the government wrongly withholding records from the public.
But rather than just being frustrated, he decided to do something about it. This is a story about how one genealogist can make a difference. He may look young, but Alec Ferretti been a serious genealogist for more than a decade. In this photo, we catch a rare glimpse of the genealogist in his native environment amongst the microfilms at the NYC Municipal Archives. Alec was inspired by our work at Reclaim The Records using Freedom of Information laws to force government archives and agencies to release copies of important archival documents back to the public.
In fact, Alec was so inspired that he decided to launch his own public records requests! Unfortunately, far too many states have some or all of these indices unavailable to researchers. Most states have strict rules about who can access vital records and when, and how, and how much it will cost per copy , but most states forgot to explicitly restrict the index or finding aid to those same records. New Jersey is one of those states.
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Alec realized that while the actual text of the state vital records law seals the marriage certificates as private, it also directs the state to create an index to all marriages, for all counties that have a population more than five thousand people. Well, in New Jersey, every county has a population above five thousand people! In other words, Alec had just figured out that the New Jersey marriage index was always supposed to have been a public record!
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But they denied his request. So Alec turned to the New Jersey Government Records Council the GRC and asked them for an Advisory Opinion about the matter, which is a non-binding but very helpful ruling on some of the facts of the case. But there was a catch: the backlog of cases meant that it might take up to a year before they heard his case, unless he wanted to file a motion in the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Either way he was going to need help, both legally and financially. Could we set him up with an attorney for either mediation or help him move the case to court? So we set up phone calls with Alec, and phone calls with our attorneys. And amongst our Board of Directors we discussed the situation and decided to set aside money and time to fight for these records in mediation and in court, if need be. They attempted to set a mediation date for late August or early September, This was a little bit intimidating, but we were still prepared to go to court if we had to.
Those records were supposed to be open, after all, and we would fight for them.
But one week later, a small miracle happened. The Deputy Attorney General decided that there was no need to go to mediation after all. She would instruct the Department of Health to put all the files on a small hard drive and send it to Alec in the mail, along with an invoice for the cost of the records and the drive. Now, that might sound like a lot of money, but really, a one-time charge to get about five million records and years of data released to the public domain forever, plus avoiding all the costs of litigation?
That sounded like a very good deal.
Reclaim The Records made plans to reimburse Alec for the cost of these records, with his agreement that they would go online for free without any kind of usage restrictions, and we got our credit card ready. And then?
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Another small miracle. They just gave us the data! Why did they do this? New Jersey is one of only a handful of states where a requestor who wins an open records lawsuit will also automatically win payment of all their attorneys fees and court costs. This is unusual; in most other states, including New York, the decision whether to award attorneys fees is a totally separate question from whether the records were being wrongfully withheld from the public.
Alec sent us a copy of the data as soon as he received it.http://taylor.evolt.org/zasir-mujeres-solteras.php
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We started to put it all online at the Internet Archive. And then we realized a few years were missing. The New Jersey Department of Health did not have a complete set of their own state marriage index! Luckily, we were able to figure out that the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton had copies of the missing years of data on microfilm. The similarly nice people at FamilySearch then agreed to scan the microfilms for us, and the six missing Brides Index microfilms went online a few months later in December We also gave a heads-up e-mail to some friends in the genealogical community about the impending data release.
All the major websites you would hope or expect to see this data will have it online eventually, and multiple transcription projects are being planned, although it may take a year or two for everything to wind up freely text-searchable. Michigan, County Marriages, — Searchable Index and Browsable Images — Images of marriage registers and certificates from county records. Michigan, Marriages, — Searchable Index — Name index to marriage records from the state of Michigan. Michigan, Marriages, — Searchable Index and Browsable Images — Name index and images of marriages recorded in the State of Michigan between and In some instances, marriages were celebrated and recorded in a county different from the county where the marriage license was issued.
Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, — Searchable Index and Browsable Images — Index and digital images of microfilmed marriage records from Missouri counties including recorded marriages, marriage applications, licenses, and certificates. This project is being published as images and index data become available. Minnesota, Marriages, — Searchable Index — Name index to marriage records from the state of Minnesota.
Mississippi, Marriages, — Searchable Index — Name index to marriage records from the state of Mississippi. The records were filmed at the county courthouse in Ripley, Mississippi. To find out more, please visit the wiki or browse the collection. Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, — Searchable Index and Browsable Images — Digital images of records created in Missouri counties including recorded marriages, marriage applications, licenses, and certificates, naturalizations and other court records.
Missouri, Marriages, — Searchable Index — Name index to marriage records from the state of Missouri. Records held by the Chouteau County Courthouse include birth, death, probate, naturalization, deeds and school census records. This collection is being published as image become available.
Wisconsin Public Records
Montana, County Marriages, — Searchable Index and Browsable Images — Name index and images of Montana county marriage records acquired from local courthouses. Birth and Death records indexed. The birth and death certificates are being indexed first. Montana, Marriages, — Searchable Index — Name index to marriage records from the state of Montana.
The death certificates have been indexed. Montana, Teton County Records, — Browsable Images — Images of vital records, naturalization index, land index and probate records from the clerk of court, clerk and recorder offices in Choteau. Montana, Yellowstone County Records, — Browsable Images — Images of vital, probate, deeds and discharge records from the county courthouse in Billings.
Nebraska, Marriages, — Searchable Index — Name index to marriage records from the state of Nebraska. Coverage varies between counties. These records consist of cards giving the names of the bride and groom with the town and date of the marriage and often much more information.
Wisconsin Genealogy Resources
With the town and date, the original records can usually be located. Note — there are two images for each marriage. New Mexico, County Marriages, — Browsable Images — Images of county marriage records acquired from the state archives and county courthouses.
This collection consists of records for the following counties: Sandoval, Socorro, and Valencia. New York, Buffalo, St. Only burial records go beyond the s. New York state began requiring marriage records for each county in The collection does not include New York City nor its boroughs. Only part of this set of images is currently Indexed. Indexing of the remaining images is in process and will be added as it is completed.