Buffalo Death Index

I wrote this blog post on November 29th but waited to make it public until after an official announcement was made that the records were available. Instead another group broke the news before an official announcement was made.

Reclaim the Records has done it again. The organization has obtained copies of the Buffalo, NY death indexes. At first Buffalo maintained there own death records and did NOT send vital records to the State Department of Vital Records in Albany until Jan. 1, 1914. Even more amazing is that Buffalo started keeping death records in 1852. Other sources that I have seen say that their death records started in 1878.

These records only include the City of Buffalo and not the rest of Erie County. There are a lot of families from the Rochester area that also ended up in Buffalo.

The earliest indexes have the decadent’s name, year of death and volume and page number of the record (see below). Starting in 1892 the index also gives the parent’s names and a place of death (address). Those kinds of extra data stopped after 1902 and the indexes go back to just names, year, volume number and record number.

Reclaim the Records has uploaded the indexes to the Internet Archives. This is a link to the collection. Then these are links to individual index books:

When you view one of web pages you should click on one of the two icons that has arrows pointing to four corners. That will have you enter “full page” mode. That way you can zoom in and out of the image.

For death records before 1914 you should write directly to: Vital Records, 1302 City Hall, 65 Niagara Square, Buffalo NY 14202. The fee is only $10 but they only accept a money order (payable to the City Clerk). They also want a copy of a government ID and a self-address stamped envelope. For records beginning Jan. 1, 1914 you could order from the same address but I suspect that they will send you a transcript; not a copy of the original. If you know for sure, please reply. For sure, if you order a death certificate from Albany, they will send a copy of the original for $22.

Old News – Brockport Christmas 1917

Christmas in Brockport in 1917 involved a lot of caroling. The Village was small enough at that time that they could easily visit every house.

The Brockport newspaper also had this Christmas comic strip.


Thursday, Dec. 20, 1967


The Community Christmas tree, Erie street, Christmas Eve., 7 o’clock sharp.

The children of the village will meet in the flowing places at 6:30 ready to start marching: Grammar school, Methodist church, Parochial School, Parochial School Building, Training School, Baptist church..

The Boy Scouts will lead the procession to the Christmas tree. After the carol singing and pictures all the children will march to the Methodist parlors where they will be served with cocoa and wafers.

The music for the singing will be furnished by Messrs, Korn, Michaels and Dalton.

The “grown-ups” who wish too help sing carols to the “shut-ins” will meet in the Parish House and form in groups. After having cocoas, they will go about the village singing. All who know of any who would like to hear these carol singers hand in the names and addresses to the leaders of the choirs or send them to Miss Hebbard.

Every person in Brockport, Sweden and Clarkson is urged to participate.

Make this a real giving Christmas. Contributions of money are especially appropriate as often times it can be used to so much better advantage. However, gifts of any kind are acceptable. They may be left with the representatives of the different churches or Harold Richards at the Boot Shop on Saturday, Dec. 22. Also names may be handed in of those to whom you wish to give or of those who would care to be remembered.

Christmas Countdown – Dec. 19

This is an old Christmas postcard from about 100 years ago.

The poinsettia is considered a Christmas flower because of the red and green colors. Less common are poinsettias that are white or pink. Poinsettias are a tropical plant that is native to Mexico. In order to have the red colored leaves they need to be in darkness for over 12 hours for at least 5 days.

This card also has holly leaves and berries.


FS Icons

This is not about religions icons. It is about those tiny pictures that you can click on to view other detail pages on FamilySearch.

First, I must tell you that beginning on Dec. 13th FamilySearch made it mandatory that you sign in to see any records. They say that it is to insure that their content will remain safe and secure. An account is absolutely free so if you don’t already have an account, sign up next time you visit the website.

FamilySearch uses icons as shortcuts to tell you what is available after you do a search for a person’s records or do a catalog search. Those icons are are so small that it is often hard to tell what they represent. Plus there are some similar icons that have quite different meanings.

If you do a search for records of a person, on the left of the results page is a column called “View.” Those icons are:

  • This means that the record has already been linked by someone to a person on FS Family Tree. Click on it will send you to see the person’s FS Family Tree record.
  • This means that there is some detail on the record. On a census record it usually shows people in the family and age. Other records will at least show an event date and place.
  • This is the one you will like best. It is a link to an image of the original record
  • This is a link to an image of the record but it is on another website. Some of those websites will have free access to the images (like Find A Grave), while other websites are fee based (like Ancestry & Fold3). In those cases, you will only see a screen asking for you to subscribe.

You can also search the “Catalog” for records by a place to see what kind of records are available for that place. The results gives you a list of subjects (like church records, cemetery records or local histories). Open the subject and click on the record title. On the page for that title you may see some on these icons:

  • This means that the record has a searchable database. Clicking on the icon will send you to the record search page but limit to just records in that database or film.
  • That thing above the camera is a key. That means that these records have restrictions. The only way to find out what those restrictions are is to click on the icon. Some of these records are only viewable at a Family History Center. I found one set of church records in Germany that can only be viewed by LDS members. There are probably some other records with different restrictions.
  • This means the record is only available on microfilm As FamilySearch no longer is distributing microfilm you either have to visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City or wait until it gets digitized. They say that all microfilm will be digitized by 2020.
  • If  the record is only available on microfilm then you can click on this icon. It will send to Worldcat where you can find out if it is available in a library closer to you..