Genealogists who are actively looking for vital statistics will be interested in the documentation that can be found online at Ancestry.com.?

Currently we have 228,957,515 available births, marriage and death records from resources for the United States. Some records are listed by county and some by states.?

When accessing the state records, we can request the information by county, if known. Because the Texas birth, death, marriage and divorce records are, again, online, I have been busy researching the Shown, Shoun and Shawn family.?

These records were found on RootsWeb a few years ago, but mysteriously disappeared. When you search for these records on RootsWeb, you will find this statement: "We are sorry but the page you are trying to access is no longer available at RootsWeb."

They could have removed them because Ancestry.com supports and funds RootsWeb. RootsWeb is free to users and Ancestry.com charges a fee.

Regardless of the cost, I have found that my membership in Ancestry.com has been beneficial to my research. Especially the Texas birth, death, marriage and divorce records.?

When you find more than one marriage record for an individual, check the divorce records to see when he/she divorced their spouse. These divorce records can tell you if there were minor children (under 18) at the time of the divorce and the date and place of the marriage.

The search for Texas information gave me 18 documents from another state, i.e. Arizona marriages for 1864-1982. Accessing a marriage record for Clarissa A. Layne listed her residence as Peaster, Texas. Her husband's residence was Phoenix in Maricopa County.?

They married Dec. 15, 1890, in Maricopa County. The record can be found at the courthouse in volume A-1, page 145. There were numerous records from other states that would have a Texas connection. These records included 325,275 California death records for 1940-97. The 325,275 individuals had either been born in Texas or had a Texas connection.

An individual listed in the Florida death indexes was listed in my search for Texas records. He had died in Texas in 1942; however, he was listed in the Florida death indexes. Perhaps he was buried in Florida and, therefore, included in their records.

Working with the Shawn and Shown records has been a challenge because there are so many of them. The researcher can request all the records by the mother's maiden name, which will give you all the children born to that mother. If you are requesting an exact spelling of her full name, you may have to request it with or without the middle initial and various other ways.

The rules for using an index still remain. We all know that an index can have lots of mistakes, but by working around those mistakes you may be able to find the needed record. It is worth the effort.

For researchers who are not presently members of Ancestry.com, you may want to take advantage of searching those records when Ancestry.com is available to the public for a given period on a trial basis. Some researchers voice their opinion against this Web site, but I have found it gives me many research advantages.?

Any research that can be accomplished in my home saves me time and travel expenses. It is much less expensive than traveling to Texas and searching each courthouse and saves me loads of time for other projects.

Save your cemetery canvassing for the cool autumn days. Utilize the cool libraries and courthouses during the hot summer or spend time at home organizing your files, loading all your records on your computer and enjoying your research.

It is the perfect time to check your files to see what is missing or to attend a seminar to learn more tips on how to perfect your research.?

The Cleveland County Genealogical Society has its 20th annual Summer Seminar on the topic "The Law of the Land in Texas" from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 30 at the Brand Center at 501 E. Main St. in Moore.

Guest speaker Martha Everman Jones, Ph.D., is the Texas State Genealogical Society president for 2004-06 and author of a weekly genealogy column for the Victoria Advocate and Treasurer of ISFHWE.?

Her presentation will include: State Lands and Federal Lands ? What is the Difference? Texas Land Records ? How Can They Be Used? Texas Courthouse Records ? When Should They Be Used? and Finding Granny in Texas Courthouse Records.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the cost is $30. For more information, write to: The Cleveland County Genealogical Society (CCGS), P.O. Box 6176, Norman, OK 73070, call 701-2100, e-mail ccgs@coxinet.net or visit www.rootsweb .com/~okccogs.

When sending in queries or sharing information, write to: Relatively Speaking,? Drawer 1058, Norman, OK 73070 or e-mail Darlene Shawn at Djshawn636@aol.com.

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