A genealogy blog about the migration generation of my McKee Family line, including bios, transcribed obituaries, photographs, and research notes.



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Thursday, December 15, 2011

The State Historical Society of Missouri

The demise of Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness has severely slowed down my acquisition of obituaries. Random Acts provided lots of contacts with local volunteers who could go into local libraries and get copies for free or for a minimal sum of money. Sans Random Acts, I've been forced to dig deeper for newspapers.

In the case of Missouri, The State Historical Society of Missouri seems to have swept up all of the newspapers in Missouri and you have to go to them to get almost anything you want from a newspaper in Missouri. The Saint Louis Public Library has the Post Dispatch, but if you want anything outside of Saint Louis, you have to go through the society.

Until recently, I've resisted in part because when you read about the process it seems so drawn out. You can make only one request at a time. You must wait until they answer your current request before you can make your next request. They notifying you via email with an obit or a note of regret that they couldn't find it.

Obituaries for non members are $15 and $5 for members. Membership is $25. I have more than a few obituaries to pursue in Missouri; therefore, being a member would save me lots of cash. I just needed to be prepared to order the obits as quickly as possible. So I joined up and sent my first request.

The response took quiet a bit of time. I immediately started counting weeks and looking at how many obits I had to order. At the slow rate of response, my membership would run out before I had exhausted my list of needed obituaries. But I had already joined, so I sent in my second request. Turnaround time was about a week and half for the second request. The third request had a similar response time...much improved!

So if I had to characterized my experience, I have to say a slow start but rapidly improving. I'm still not sure I'll get all the obits I need during my one year membership but I'm more hopeful than I was.

To see details from the most recent obit, go to the Find A Grave memorial for William Robert McMillan (82016524). Meanwhile, I'm typing up my next request.

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