A free public website, http://plymouthcolony.net/barnstable/vitalrecords/vrindex.html, is now available which displays transcripts and, where available, digital images of original Town Records (births, marriages and intentions, and deaths) of the 15 towns on Cape Cod.
It is a work in progress; Harwich has been completed, and a few other towns are now being phased in. The project must be supported by historical societies and town halls which have preserved copies of their old hand-written journals on disk. To include images of the original journal entries, a disk from the town hall's archivers is needed.
The web-pages are presented by town, event, and year of the event. A surname index for each town provides easy access to a transcription of a family's records. For example,the transcription web-page contains the link http://plymouthcolony.net/barnstable/vitalrecords/harwich/harbirths1831.html to a photocopy of the original journal entry, thus replacing the need to contact the town itself for copies of the record. The goal is to consolidate one county-wide index for Barnstable County, so that, for example, when one looks up "Nickerson", it will then list links to all Nickerson vital records in the county.
How To Participate--This work is being done by volunteers, many of them seniors who on long wintry nights become reinvigorated by working on the project. The project involves: opening an email from the coordinators with an attachment of a copy of a source document, and then copying the information into a spreadsheet on the home computer. To participate in the project, contact the local historical society in your town (see the Historical Societies link on the right-hand list in the blue section on the home page of this blog, to find how to contact your local historical society).