Genealogists have new sources to mine
SYCAMORE – Two new online sources are available for DeKalb County genealogists for research.
Last month, DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder John Acardo launched his office’s genealogy website, www.dekalbgenealogy.com, and Monday the National Archives and Records Administration released files from the 1940 census.
Acardo said his office has placed 90,000 vital records online.
“Genealogical records consist of birth, death and marriage records that are older than 75, 20 and 50 years, respectively,” Acardo said. “This new online portal opens access to these documents to a global audience, and thus allows for the county to realize a new revenue stream.”
Acardo expects the increase in sales of vital records to pay for the cost of the website within 18 months. Web portals such as Ancestry.com, FamilyTree.com and Genealogytoday.com will drive traffic to the clerk’s site, where visitors can procure vital records for personal collections. After the initial cost of the system is repaid, sales will be retained by the county.
The conversion of data took four months longer than Acardo anticipated because about 60,000 original documents were poorly recorded and indexed because of faded and hard-to-read handwriting. Acardo and his staff worked with the system’s vendor to resolve the inaccuracies in the scanned data.
Visitors can search for vital records and view the search results, which include a person’s name and date the record was filed with the county, at no cost. Visitors may download copies of the records for $15, the same price as picking up documents at the clerk’s office.
“I think it’s not only going to be a great resource for the county but for genealogists and just people who want to know more about their own history,” Acardo said.
Acardo wants to include military records and land records in the future.
Sue Breese, DeKalb County historian and director of the Joiner History Room, anticipated the release of the 1940 census records for weeks.
“It’s so exciting that we will have another decade of records that we can research,” Breese said. “This is a major milestone for people who do genealogy work.”
Tens of millions of Americans who were included in the 1940 census still are alive, and unlike previous census years, pages of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be made available as free digital images. The link to the 1940 census page can be found on the Joiner History Room’s page at www.joinerhistoryroom.org.
On the Web
• DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, www.dekalbgenealogy.com
• 1940 census page, www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/index.html