Friday, February 20, 2009


I couldn't wait to share an exciting piece of information I just found!

I had just read a posting on Dear Myrtle's Genealogy Blog that mentioned:
The West Virginia birth, marriage, and death records, and the South Dakota state censuses for 1915 and 1925 are now complete. Many thanks to the thousands of online FamilySearch Indexing volunteers who helped make these wonderful records available. See the chart below for more details. The new records can be searched for free at (Click Search Records, then Record Search pilot).
I've been searching for a while now for my great-grandmother's death certificate at West Virginia Vital Research Records with no luck. Her maiden name was Rhoda Ann Webb, and she had been married twice, first to William S. Tolbert, my great-grandfather, and later to another man, Joseph Wilson who apparently died between 1920 when Rhoda lived in his household with him and 1930 when Rhoda lived with her son and was listed as a widow. I kept hoping the WV Vital records would update their files so that I could find her death certificate. I hadn't checked the FamilySearch site yet, but seeing the message above gave me some incentive.

This is where I started:
I entered her name, Rhoda Wilson, selected Death/Burial under Life Event, and typed West Virginia in the Place box, and I was shown a list of 7 names. The 5th name was Rhoda Ann Wilson who died in 1960 in Summers County, WV. I about jumped out of my chair because that's her! The location and month of birth are correct, the year of birth is off by one year, she was born in 1866. When I clicked her name I was taken to a page that gave me this information:
Name: Rhoda Ann Wilson
Death date: 13 Jul 1960
Death place: Hinton, Summers, West Virginia
Gender: Female
Age at death: 92 years
Birth date: Oct 1867
Birth place: Hillsville, Va
Marital status: Widowed
Spouse name:
Father name:
Father birth place:
Mother name:
Mother birth place:
Street address:
Cemetery name: Talbert Cem.
Burial place:
Burial date: 14 Jul 1960
Film number: 589345
Digital GS number: 4228489
Image number: 326
Reference number: v 4 p 229
Source: County Records
Collection: West Virginia Deaths 1853-1970
Now hopefully I'll be able to get a copy of her actual death certificate. According the WV Vital Records page, Summers County only has its death certificates online up to 1958. I will try to find out if I need to contact Summers County directly, or maybe I can stop at the WV Archives the next time I drive thru Charleston if they have the record there.

Now if I can just figure out where "Talbert Cemetery" is!


  1. That is exciting that they had it on line. A cousin I had found was searching for the death certificate of our common great grandfather, Patrick O'Rourke. She sent money to the PA Bureau of Vital Statistics in New Castle PA and they took the money and said there was no death certificate. I happened to have a copy in the pile of my fathers papers. I mailed a copy to her. How many other records we are sending for are they taking the money and not producing the records. PA's system is so and antiquated. They won't put things on line because of "privacy" issues, really, what kind of privacy could be had with records of people who have been dead for 100 years.

  2. I've heard about that kind of thing happening too often in PA.

    Virginia is another state with crazy privacy laws. I found out a few years ago that my mom's brother had died in Richmond in the 80s, but when I looked into trying to get a death certificate, I found out that I could only get it if I was a close relative (child, parent, grandchild) unless the person had been dead for 70 years or more. Thought about having my mom request it, but I'm not even sure if a sibling is considered close enough. Maybe I'll just wait until 2054!

  3. I have WV Webbs in my tree, too: Harley Webb, daughter Imogene (b. abt 1912) and another....Mary, maybe?

    So far, I haven't found any WV records. I need to just sit down and focus. Glad you were able to make the connection.

  4. You never know, Amy, but Rhoda's ancestry is sort of a mystery. Her mother's husband's name was John J. Webb, but he died in the Civil War about 11 months before Rhoda was born. Sarah (Combs) Webb went on to have 6 more children after the death of her husband and all of them went by the surname "Webb", as well as the 4 children born during her husband's life.

    I think that a lot of the Webbs in WV were related to John J. Webb's family who were originally from Carroll County, VA.

  5. I enjoy following your blog. I've awarded you the Kreative Blogger award. Check it out here

  6. Wow Valerie! Thanks so much! Now I guess I better get busy picking out some people to nominate!


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