Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Essex County MA Vital Records to 1850

The vital records for Essex County, Massachusetts have been transcribed and placed online - for FREE access - through a volunteer effort led by John Slaughter and Jodi Salerno. Below is the text from the post on the MAEssex mailing list from John describing the effort:

The early vital records of Essex County to 1850 is now 100% transcribed and online for everyone to search. This includes the additional volumes that were published for Ipswich, Marblehead & Rowley. Those are all linked from the main records. They are indicated by a red link to the additional information.

We still have nine towns to finish getting images. If you get a page can not be found, the link isn't broken. We just haven't got the images up. Send a request to MAVitalRecords for the image and we'll get it for you.

The surname index is probably 99% in agreement with the full database. I'll try to update that tomorrow night - IF I'm not too tired when I get home. I'll be moving a lot of steel pipe and might only want to sit and relax.

This is a huge milestone. The thanks all go to all of the people who have pounded their keyboards for us over the years. These people are absolutely phenomenal. "Thank you" does not convey the feelings I have for these people.

Essex County has well over 18,000 pages of actual records. This doesn't include all of the introductory pages in each book. Last weekend we passed three-quarters of a million records. Of those, Essex County comprises about two-thirds, over half a million individual records.

I started this about seven years ago with the intention of only transcribing Ipswich. How it has grown. We intend to make this the absolute best vital records data base on the web. Best of all, it is absolutely FREE.

Thank you to all of you who have continually given us support in this project. Also, thank you to everyone who finds errors and reports them to us so we can continue to make this an even more reliable database. I have looked at many databases, including the pay sites, and I think ours has the absolute lowest error rate. This is mostly thanks to the hard work of the transcribers, but also to you for when you find the ones that slip through.

BTW, if you're new and don't know about this, visit http://www.rootsweb.com/~maessex/VitalRecords

These vital records are available online behind the New England Historic Genealogical Society firewall, and some of the towns are available on Google books. The books themselves are available at libraries all over the country, and are on microfiche as part of the University Microfilm International collection.

This is a huge milestone, and is worthy of the accolades given to the volunteers on the MAEssex list. The volunteers are working on the VRs of other towns in the other MA counties. The total effort is admirable, and a tremendous service to online genealogy researchers.

Well done, John, Jodi and all of the volunteers.

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