Saturday, June 11, 2011

Got County Codes? Reflections Does!

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

The other day I showed you a Soundex chart from some research I was doing in the state of Washington, it was an edited version because all I was interested in sharing with you was the code.

Today, I am going to go back to that chart, but, here is the entire chart, all columns represented:

Now, you will find additional information here, like a birthday, for example for Enola Ethel Lashbrook, father L. J. (that is in error by the way) and mother Dollie Justice, and indication that she was born in Spokane City with a certificate number of 540.  I have already learned that those certificate numbers can be helpful or basically useless in actually locating the document on the film, so I have not been using them much, especially for earlier years of certificates.

So, if you want to pull Enola's birth certificate, you go to the catalog at FamilySearch, pull up Washington Vital records, births, and find a VERY long list of films.  So, you go to the films for 1918, Spokane CITY, note that is CITY, not county, and find film 1819344.  Pull the film and proceed to locate the record.

I was in pretty good shape plugging away like this till I got to the index films that cover 1940 -45.  Oh, oh, here is what I got:

Note, that the county or city names are gone.  So, what do we have, OK, the 216 is the Soundex code, surname, given name of father, a female given name, which I discover later is the child's name, F or M, you can figure that column out.  Next we have stuff like 171, 082, 271.  What does that stand for??  Next is a group of 3 numbers/letters.  We can pretty well guess that O 20 45, for example is for October, 20, 1945, and we would be right in that guess.  Some entries have a number in the last column, some do not.

Common sense tells us what most of the columns are, educated guessing tells me that those 171 and 271 are county or city codes, which I will need to break/figure out before I can pull film.  That last column is probably a certificate number.

First things first, that county/city code.  Back at the catalog entry for Washington births I find:

See instructions at beginning of each set of years for complete explanation of contents in index.

So, I pull the very first index film for these years, and find:

NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  No explanation.  I am totally bummed, and OK, disgusted.

So, I decide to work on something else, until, somewhere down in the dark and sometimes confused recesses of my memory banks, I remember VitalSearch.

I remember they used to have county code number charts.  I surf over, I click around a bit never passing into the "gotta pay realm" and find:

Yes, indeedy, a county and city code chart!  Check the codes, compare to the catalog, find film number, pull film, and in just a few short minutes,


All thanks to the county code charts!




TennLady said...

According to what I find in the index for Washington State Archives, she died Feb 4 1920?

Carol said...

So happens she did pass as a baby, sad.

Becky said...

Yes, Carol was totally bummed - until she broke the code! Way to go Carol. I'm soooo glad that you got that figured out!

Susan (Nolichucky Roots) said...

Someday I'm going to be sitting in the Library there racking my memory for all your shortcuts and hints. OR, I can start clipping them now to Evernote! Clipped! I figure you'll save me at least a couple hours of head beating on the desk time.

Lori E said...

I am sooo confused. Boy they don't make it easy do they?

Michelle Goodrum said...

Good work Watson. I'm with Susan. Put that county and city code chart over in Evernote. You'll never have to remember what you did with it again! Now I'm off to do just that before I forget.