Death certificates. They are a wealth of information. They are only primary sources of information for the death of someone, not their life. The names of their parents could be wrong. The date of their birth, the place they were born, even their own name could be incorrect. That’s because the only person who truly has intimate knowledge of all those facts is unable to give them. The only information on a death certificate you can actually believe is when they were pronounced dead.
I’ve been on a roll lately, finding death certificates that no one else can find. The reason is that I don’t trust the transcriptions. And if I think a death certificate should be in a place I’m looking and it’s not, I don’t stop until I find it.
Here are my tricks for finding death certificates:
If I don’t find the name I’m looking for, I’ll put in just the place or the date.
I’ll search just by first name.
I’ll search just by last name.
I’ll search by parent’s names.
I’ll search by spouse’s name.
Tonight I found Mildred Julia Beddow in Indiana. According to the Terre Haute Tribune she died at home on the 28th of December in 1955. Searching the Indiana death certificates on Ancestry, I couldn’t find her. No Julia or Mildred died on the 28th in December in Terre Haute or Vigo County, the database said. “Yes, she did,” said I. I found her finally listed as “Mildrid Julia Bidden.” It’s a handwritten certificate and it’s very hard to read.
I also found death certificates for two men named Hodges who died in Missouri. I love it when this happens. I just plain love finding things other people can’t. It’s my biggest vanity.