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Family Tree Maker


Most of the time, my columns are designed to give advice on how to find genealogical records and work with different web sites. Unless something new is released, there is rarely an element of timeliness to what I write. If you find an Italian record now, ten years from now that record will be the same.

Since Fra Noi is a monthly publication, it’s lucky for me that I don’t have to worry about being “up to the minute”. The only problem is that when web sites change quickly, I have no way to rush that information to you.

Last month, I announced the bad news that Family Tree Maker genealogy software was being retired by, the company that owns it. They announced this on December 8th, and gave everyone up to December 31st to purchase the product before shutting down the program. So I warned everybody that it would be prudent to begin choosing new software that was fully supported in Windows or Mac so that you didn’t risk losing your data during an operating system update.

Although nobody announced specifically why, sold Family Tree Maker in late January to the Ukranian company that managed the Mac version of the software. This means that this company will sell, update and support the Windows and Mac versions of the program, which is great news for those of us who chose not to convert to another program right away. I feel bad for those who jumped overboard and began changing software already. Perhaps you have discovered software that works better for you, but it might take a while to learn it enough to become proficient.

So while I am happy to report that the program is available again, I am sorry that my last column might have scared people away from Family Tree Maker, but that was the information that was public at that time.

In other news, I am happy to announce some great new data in!! Cook County death certificates have been indexed for some time, although a number of years and suburbs were missing. The latest update of Cook County death certificates on has plugged most of those gaps! The 1965-1975 years that were once empty now have many certificates. There has never been an index for 1951-1954 anywhere, and now there is!! Also, many suburbs that had not been released are now in the index. A reminder: These certificates are not available on familysearch, just an index. But the index has parents, spouse, birth date, birth place, death date, death place, cemetery, and certificate number. If you want to acquire an actual copy of the certificate, you need to use and purchase a copy for $17.00, or contact the county clerk’s office directly. But the index will help you be certain you are ordering the certificate for the correct Vito Nitti.

Click here to search the death certificate index.

Familysearch has also added a lot of birth certificates to their index which are mostly “delayed” births. These are people who had no birth certificate to start with, but when they needed one years later, they went to the county clerk and applied as an adult. So even though the birth was in 1922, the certificate was filed in 1971.

Click here to search the birth certificate index (so far 1878-early 1930s)

Click here to search the marriage license index (so far 1871-1920).

Familysearch’s catalog shows that they plan to index birth certificates through 1949, marriage licenses through 1932, and death certificates as late as 1994, which is mostly complete. They will continue to release this data to the index as it is verified by volunteer indexers all over the country.

About Dan Niemiec

Dan Niemiec has been the genealogy columnist for Fra Noi since 2004. For the past 25 years, he has researched his genealogy back 17 generations, plus tracing descendants of his ancestors, yielding 74,000 relatives. His major focus is on civil and church records in Italy, Chicago vital records, Chicago Catholic records and most major genealogy web sites. He has given dozens of presentations to many local and some national genealogy societies on topics such as cemetery research, Catholic records, Italian records, Ellis Island and newspaper research, among others.

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