FamilySearchLabs has been on a major updating roll as of late. They recently completed their 'beta' site and have introduced within the last few days dozens of newly indexed records to the site. The majority of the indexes some of which include actual images, have been birth/baptism, marriage and death/burial indexes for various states as well as one for the entire US. This is a plus for researchers because much like I did the other day with Elizabeth (Wear) Hahn's first husband Jacob, they can find bits of information on ancestors and/or relatives where they have some info but need that one missing piece to confirm that they really did find the right person. In other words, take my finding Jacob Hahn. I used the daughter he had with Elizabeth, Lillie because I wanted to find whether or not she did die after the 1880 census. At the same time I was able to find her father's first name.
Just today the site released another database/index that I was pleasantly surprised to see. They have had indexes for both Cook County, Illinois (specifically Chicago) birth and marriage records complete with images and now they have added the third vital record, death certificates. Granted it is only for the years 1878-1922, but much like the other two it is one database that I had been secretly hoping they would index and one day release to the site. As far as this researcher is concerned, FamilySearchLabs is on the right track and if they complete the birth and marriage record databases for Cook County I'll be doing a LOT more research for my maternal lines in the coming days and weeks.
As a matter of fact, when I got my daily digest of messages from the Cook County, IL message board announcing this latest addition to the site I immediately went there and started a search for my great-great grandmother's first husband and the actual father of my great-grandfather, Albert John Ring. His father's name, at least according to his brother's birth record, was Martin Olsen. Dozens came up but I had a bit of an idea when he died. And I actually thought I'd found him but the date is off. This Martin Olsen died in 1887, which is six years or so after Julia, his widow married Fred Ring. The one clue that made me think at first that it was him was where he is buried, Mt. Olive. That happens to be the name of the cemetery where Julia is buried (though she had no headstone). So I am going to continue to look for him and perhaps I can find some other relatives from my mother's side of the family since most if not all lived in and around Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.