Archive for January, 2012
The Sacramento County, California Sheriff has developed its own inmate release notification – Sheriff’s Inmate Release Elective Notification System (SIRENS) – that replaces the multi-agency VINELink (Victim Information and Notification) Everyday) program. The SIRENS service, like VINELink, will alert registered users by phone, text or email after a specified inmate is released. (See the SIRENS brochure for instructions.) Start by looking up the full name in the inmate search database.
Hopefully, VINELink won’t drop their Sacramento County incarcerated offender name search because it’s more flexible than the one at the Sheriff’s website. Both were functional today. The Sheriff’s site requires a full first name and full last name to find an inmate. That’s not helpful if you want to see everyone with the same last name — which you’ll want to do if you only have a nickname. Or maybe you want to see all of the possible relatives simultaneously incarcerated, right? The VINELink database can be searched with a partial first name AND a partial last name.
But these databases are better in tandem because the inmate information shown by the Sacramento Sheriff is more detailed. Alias’ and DOB’s are shown for those in custody and for released inmates, along with their release date. Because the date of birth is excised for out-of-custody inmates on VINELink you don’t know whether the “James Johnson’s” listed are the same person, or whether they are a match with those at the Sheriff’s site.
But neither site had private investigators in mind when they developed these tools.
There are many substantial collections of genealogical materials — telephone and city directories, school alumni directories, newspapers, electronic subscription databases — in San Francisco Bay Area specialty libraries.
The California Genealogical Library and Society is located in downtown Oakland. I mentioned this resource at my Google+ site. See the list of their United States City Directories — available only to members, accessible to anyone for a small fee. One room of the library is dedicated to the extensive collection of California telephone books and city directories. A few college alumni directories are also here. The subscription databases available onsite include Newspaperarchive.com (see their California collection) and the state birth, marriage, divorce and death indexes from Vitalsearch covering 21 states, including California.
The most extensive collection of family history and genealogical resources west of Salt Lake City is in the Bay Area, housed at the Sutro Library, a branch of the California State Library and located in San Francisco. Their collection of 20,000 city directories and 10,000 telephone books is a gift of gold to those of us who are Bay Area private investigators — a professional field that prized these tools to locate people and businesses and reverse telephone numbers long before there were electronic databases.
The Family History Center in Oakland can order microfilmed copies of some California birth, death and marriage certificates from the repository in Salt Lake City. You pay a modest fee of $5.
My prior post on Genealogical Resources in U.S. Federal Depository Libraries is still current and I’ve updated the links in Find historical records – 50 state list. Future posts will address free 20th century genealogical databases on the Internet of interest to private investigators. Meanwhile, peruse these genealogy resources and links.
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