Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mining the Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954

I was asked today, in an message, if I had information about a Eunice Seaver who was the daughter of Peter Seaver, who was born in Vermont.  I had information for her birth, but not her death.  She was married three times, according to my database, but there were no sources for my information.

I easily found her birth record in the "Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954" collection on  To find her death record, I guessed that, since her third husband was Stebbins Ashley, that she might be indexed as Eunice Ashley.  That worked, and I found the record, and sourced it also.

Then I got the bright idea that I could find all sorts of persons born with the surname Seaver who are in the Vermont Vital Records index if I used a Father's Name = "Seaver" and then I could mine all of the matches and put names, dates and places into my database with helpful source citations.  Frankly, I thought that I had done this before, but I'm finding very few that were previously sourced to this collection.

I also thought that others might be helped by showing my "mining" process using a father's last name (and I could do mother's last name = "Seaver" also), so follow along here if you wish:

1)  On the "Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954" collection page, I opened the "Parent's" link and entered the Father's Last Name = "seaver":

2)  After clicking on "Search," I received 519 matches for my search query:

some of the matches at the top of the list are females married to someone with a name other than Seaver whose father had the Seaver last name.

3)  Eunice Ashley is there (the fifth one down); here is her record summary:

4)  I clicked on the "View image" link and saw the image of the card for the record:

This record told me quite a bit about Eunice - her death date of 3 April 1888 in Moretown, her age as 77 years, 10 months, 9 days, her birthplace as Moretown, her father was Peter Seaver, and the cause of death as heart disease.  No date of birth, mother's maiden name, or father's or mother's birthplaces are on this particular card, but other cards have that information.

The source citation for this particular record is provided by FamilySearch on the Record Summary as:

"Vermont, Vital Records, 1760-1954," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 Aug 2012), Eunice Ashley, 1888.

That source citation provides a link to the card image shown above, I prefer to create my own free-form source citations in RootsMagic 5 trying to adhere to Evidence! Explained standards.  Here is my source citation:

"Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954,” digital image, FamilySearch International ( : accessed 22 August 2012), citing original data from the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration, Middlesex, Vermont, Deaths: Eunice Ashley entry.

That is not "exactly" EE format, but it's "good enough" for me.

I've been through about 40 of the matches in the past two hours, and have added several children to existing families, added birth dates and death dates to persons in my database, added about 50 source citations to my database, and even added two maiden names of Seaver wives in the process.  I love databases that indexed everything on a record (especially parents names!).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Geolover said...

Randy, since you are revisiting VT items, and your kin Nathaniel Seaver (1707-1777) and wife Judith Treadway wound up there, perhaps something I stumbled across would be of interest.

In Lancaster VR is the intention of marriage between Nathaniel Seaver of Narragansett No. (blotch) and Judith Treadway of Framingham, recorded on a date that contradicts what you have for their marriage.

This is better indexed than some on the same page, but I entered a correction for Nathaniel's surname. My relative Aaron Sawyer is indexed as "Karoo Saroya."

The "Naragansett" entry perked up my interest since Narragansett No. 1 was Buxton, then in York County, ME, where some generations of my kin dwelt at that time (and before and after). But I am not certain that "Naragansett No. 1" is what the entry in the Lancaster record meant.

The item is here:

Stephanie Nichols Bateman said...

Thanks for the tip, this will be a huge help :)

Cathi Desmarais said...

Hi Randy-
I love searching the Vermont VR collection this way. I've found I have to try lots of variations in the spelling of the surnames though.

Also, please remember that these are not really "vital records." They are *index cards,* created by town clerks in the 20th century to index the actual vital records. These are only a finding aid to the actual records, which sometimes contain more information than is on the card. Some of these cards aren't even index cards to vital records - they are index cards to tombstones. On top of that, there are vital records that don't appear in the index cards. I am planning a blog post or two about this topic, but just haven't gotten to it yet!

Unknown said...

Randy, I have read about you. You are a very experienced person in your working area. is the best resource to find family records online. It provides many vital records.