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Re: State Archives vs. Town Hall records

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  • Suzanne Hough
    Nelson: Thanks for a clear, easy-to-follow explanation. Suzanne [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Message 1 of 19 , Jul 4, 2011
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      Nelson: Thanks for a clear, easy-to-follow explanation.
      Suzanne

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Linda
      Nelson, I m beginning to think what one receives from a city/town or the RI Archives tends to be dependant on what one specifies. I ve been to RI Archives &
      Message 2 of 19 , Jul 4, 2011
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        Nelson,

        I'm beginning to think what one receives from a city/town or the RI Archives tends to be dependant on what one specifies. I've been to RI Archives & have found for vitals, 20th century at least which was the period I was looking, they are microfilms of the original records albiet the State of RI's copy which which the municipalities submitted to the state and in the instances where I later went to the town/city in question, what I'd seen on microfilms were near duplicates but for some minor differences as one would expect in making two identical copies by hand.

        That said, I requested a marriage that occurred in 1900 from RI Archives. I didn't specify that I just wanted a photocopy pulled from the microfilm so what I got was a certified transcript on Archives letterhead that cost me $5. Not at all what I'd expected and yes, I was unhappy to find myself billed for $5 when I was expecting to pay something around, maybe with postage & copying costs a $1 max given that the copies you do yourself on the microfilm reader were, last time I was ther, I think 25 cents. Of course, like everything else in RI, I suspect the price has gone up.

        You're correct that the town/city halls, the ones I visited, have the originals. that is to say, the actual physical, huge books. What is at Archives are the State's copies of those books that were instead converted to microfilm rather than the physical books being shelved at Archives. With 39 cities & towns, you can imagine how much space all of the state's copies of the BMD books would consume
        1

        From what I understand, the reason each year it takes a few months lag between when RI Vital Records turns over the latest set of BMD records to have "gone public" on 1 Jan and when those records are available to researchers is in part because the physical records which take up a ton of space are getting microfilmed. I supose the paper originals must go someplace for storage or maybe they are destroyed once they are filmed. Does anyone know?

        Linda


        --- In RI_Ancestors@yahoogroups.com, Nelson Tamakloe <nelson.tamakloe@...> wrote:
        >
        > I wanted to comment on recent experiences getting certified copies from state archives (which is cheaper), vs. town halls (which is more accurate).
        >  
        > I visit the Rhode Island and Mass archives off and on (I know this is an RI-centered forum, but I bring this up because I go to Boston to track people who moved from RI to MA). As of late last year certified copies in both states cost $2 / $3 per record, still much more cost-effective than going to town halls.  But you have to be careful.
        >  
        > Now the town hall record is the original record.  It costs more money, but my experience is they (usually) give you a photocopy of the original record, signed and sealed.  You have a certified image of what was originally recorded that you can study with your own eyes -- what you see may not be what actually happened, but it's what the town clerk wrote down at the time.  The town halls can certify all vital records (and perhaps other things, depending on the town clerk and their practices) that were put on the books back to the incorporation of the town.  The only thing I wasn't able to get certified was a church record, even though the minister was the town clerk... but that's another story.
        >  
        > The RI state archives, however, do not have the original town records.  They have copies of post-1859 records the towns sent to them.  They may have copies of the Mormon microfilms of original town records, but if you need it certified, you have to go to the town in question, they can't certify those.  There was one time I ordered a marriage record from the state archives that was missing the parents' names.  Later I found out on familysearch that the parents' names were recorded in the town hall records, and I had to shell out the extra money to get the original record.  Now I look on familysearch and on the Mormon microfilms of the original images first before I order anything, because the dates and details occasionally get copied down wrong
        >  
        > Plus the state certification process is different.  They look at what they have in their books, type up a new certificate for you from scratch, print it and seal it.  It's not the original record, it's a brand new certificate.  You have to make sure what they type up matches what is on the books.  I have gotten things back with misspellings, incorrect ethnicities, small things that don't matter to me personally, but that make a difference when trying to look for people in earlier generations and trying to prove you have found the right person.  
        >  
        > Again, the state archives are more limited in what they can certify.  RI can certify births and marriages 100 years back or more and deaths 50 years back or more, but not before 1859.  The town can certify all public records from the time of incorporation. If your ancestors came to America after 1859, it may not be worth it to double-check the town records but it is food for thought.
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • SANDRA JOHANSEN
        I have read that when records are transcribed and sent to the state archives, it is often done using a form that the local agency fills out so that all the
        Message 3 of 19 , Jul 4, 2011
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          I have read that when records are transcribed and sent to the state archives, it is often done using a form that the local agency fills out so that all the archived records are in the same format.  Sometimes, if you can get a look at the original entry in the town records, you just might find that there is more information available in the town record.  This is usually because the standard form may not have had a place for the transcriber to put the information so they just ignore anything in the original record that didn't have a place on the archives form.
          Sandy in Colorado

          ________________________________
          From: Linda <miyukichan0987@...>
          To: RI_Ancestors@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Monday, July 4, 2011 12:42 PM
          Subject: [RI_Ancestors] Re: State Archives vs. Town Hall records


           
          Nelson,

          I'm beginning to think what one receives from a city/town or the RI Archives tends to be dependant on what one specifies. I've been to RI Archives & have found for vitals, 20th century at least which was the period I was looking, they are microfilms of the original records albiet the State of RI's copy which which the municipalities submitted to the state and in the instances where I later went to the town/city in question, what I'd seen on microfilms were near duplicates but for some minor differences as one would expect in making two identical copies by hand.

          That said, I requested a marriage that occurred in 1900 from RI Archives. I didn't specify that I just wanted a photocopy pulled from the microfilm so what I got was a certified transcript on Archives letterhead that cost me $5. Not at all what I'd expected and yes, I was unhappy to find myself billed for $5 when I was expecting to pay something around, maybe with postage & copying costs a $1 max given that the copies you do yourself on the microfilm reader were, last time I was ther, I think 25 cents. Of course, like everything else in RI, I suspect the price has gone up.

          You're correct that the town/city halls, the ones I visited, have the originals. that is to say, the actual physical, huge books. What is at Archives are the State's copies of those books that were instead converted to microfilm rather than the physical books being shelved at Archives. With 39 cities & towns, you can imagine how much space all of the state's copies of the BMD books would consume
          1

          From what I understand, the reason each year it takes a few months lag between when RI Vital Records turns over the latest set of BMD records to have "gone public" on 1 Jan and when those records are available to researchers is in part because the physical records which take up a ton of space are getting microfilmed. I supose the paper originals must go someplace for storage or maybe they are destroyed once they are filmed. Does anyone know?

          Linda

          --- In RI_Ancestors@yahoogroups.com, Nelson Tamakloe <nelson.tamakloe@...> wrote:
          >
          > I wanted to comment on recent experiences getting certified copies from state archives (which is cheaper), vs. town halls (which is more accurate).
          >  
          > I visit the Rhode Island and Mass archives off and on (I know this is an RI-centered forum, but I bring this up because I go to Boston to track people who moved from RI to MA). As of late last year certified copies in both states cost $2 / $3 per record, still much more cost-effective than going to town halls.  But you have to be careful.
          >  
          > Now the town hall record is the original record.  It costs more money, but my experience is they (usually) give you a photocopy of the original record, signed and sealed.  You have a certified image of what was originally recorded that you can study with your own eyes -- what you see may not be what actually happened, but it's what the town clerk wrote down at the time.  The town halls can certify all vital records (and perhaps other things, depending on the town clerk and their practices) that were put on the books back to the incorporation of the town.  The only thing I wasn't able to get certified was a church record, even though the minister was the town clerk... but that's another story.
          >  
          > The RI state archives, however, do not have the original town records.  They have copies of post-1859 records the towns sent to them.  They may have copies of the Mormon microfilms of original town records, but if you need it certified, you have to go to the town in question, they can't certify those.  There was one time I ordered a marriage record from the state archives that was missing the parents' names.  Later I found out on familysearch that the parents' names were recorded in the town hall records, and I had to shell out the extra money to get the original record.  Now I look on familysearch and on the Mormon microfilms of the original images first before I order anything, because the dates and details occasionally get copied down wrong
          >  
          > Plus the state certification process is different.  They look at what they have in their books, type up a new certificate for you from scratch, print it and seal it.  It's not the original record, it's a brand new certificate.  You have to make sure what they type up matches what is on the books.  I have gotten things back with misspellings, incorrect ethnicities, small things that don't matter to me personally, but that make a difference when trying to look for people in earlier generations and trying to prove you have found the right person.  
          >  
          > Again, the state archives are more limited in what they can certify.  RI can certify births and marriages 100 years back or more and deaths 50 years back or more, but not before 1859.  The town can certify all public records from the time of incorporation. If your ancestors came to America after 1859, it may not be worth it to double-check the town records but it is food for thought.
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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