Tracing Your Family Tree
By: Holly Brantley
CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO --A new tool makes it easier for Missourians to trace their family tree. The Missouri State Archives recently created an online index of more than 2-million Missouri Death Certificates from 1910-1955. It means a few clicks of the mouse can take you years into the past.
Row after row of documents at the Cape Girardeau County Archive Center help genealogy experts like Steve Pledger offer guidance to people who want to trace their family tree. The shelves hold everything from wills to tax records. But, Pledger does quite a bit of research on his computer too. And, he says a new online index of death certificates, available from the Missouri State Archives, is a big help.
"Especially on the women's side of the family," said Pledger. "It's so much more difficult to find information on them because women seldom show up on any records."
Women, like Pledger's Great-Great-Great Grandmother, Mary Boeller. Using her name, Pledger demonstrates how the index works. Just type in the name, and click 'search'.
In just seconds, Boeller's death certificate appears with details about her life and her death. She was a house wife, born in Hanover, Germany. It also gives information about where Boeller is buried.
In half an hours time, we were standing at the tombstone of Mary Boeller. It's located just outside the Zion Methodist Church in Northern Cape County. Boeller had a total of four husbands. She is buried next to the fourth. The other three are buried nearby.
Pledger is related to Boeller's first husband. Since Mary had three husbands after him, information available on her death certificate like her place of birth and father's name would have been useful to Pledger as he traced his family tree years ago.
Pledger eventually found out about Boeller's history from other relatives. Another priceless tool for those who want to learn more about their roots. Mary Boeller was never divorced. She out-lived each of her four husbands.
If you want to learn more about your family tree, visit the Missouri Archives Site www.sos.mo.gov.
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