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    Does anyone else order death certs.

    .. to see what your ancestor died of? I'm really nosey and interested in my ancestors that have died while in an asylum or mental hospital and I always wonder if anyone else is like this and whether you order the certs. 'just to look' or if it's just me

    #2
    Usually I only buy the death certs for direct line, but have bought a few for other family members IF I've thought that the death may have been of particular interest. I like to find burial register entries for everyone if I can, as these can sometimes indicate unusual deaths - e.g. found dead in hen house, burnt to death. In those cases local newspapers often have detailed inquest reports giving lots of background information as well as cause of death.

    Jay
    Janet in Yorkshire



    Genealogists never die - they just swap places in the family tree

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      #3
      I buy as many as I can afford for my direct lines and also the married ins if it’s not obvious from cemetery records or newspaper announcements etc.

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        #4
        oh if only I could afford it I would buy everybody's in my tree, find them so interesting.


        Val

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          #5
          Yes, nearly always, and found a surprise third wife as well as some tragedies!

          OC

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            #6
            Yes ........... it was curiosity that led me to order a couple of certificates that sorted out my grandfather's siblings and half-siblings. I had not expected to see what I saw on one certificate, so had to order the second to discover their really had been a first wife
            My grandmother, on the beach, South Bay, Scarborough, undated photo (poss. 1929 or 1930)

            Researching Cadd, Schofield, Cottrell in Lancashire, Buckinghamshire; Taylor, Park in Westmorland; Hayhurst in Yorkshire, Westmorland, Lancashire; Hughes, Roberts in Wales.

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              #7
              I order death certificates too, not just for nosiness but to try & understand a bit more about the social history & the conditions they lived in. I've even added a 'Cause of Death' category to my FH program.

              Some are heartbreaking. My paternal Great Grandfather's only two children from his first marriage died within 24 hours of each other from Whooping Cough.

              His second wife (my Great Grandmother) was the only one out of 8 children to survive beyond the age of 3 - her siblings all dying from things like teething convulsions, measles etc.

              And my maternal GG Grandmother was just 2 when she lost both parents to the cholera epidemic.

              These certificates really open my eyes to the grinding poverty I come from, and just how fortunate we are.

              A bit off topic, but I was lucky enough to find a document giving the dimensions of the 1840's slum my 3x great aunt lived in - a kitchen & sitting room downstairs, each measuring 11ft 6in x 8ft 3in, and two bedrooms upstairs the same size. Outside was a shared yard with two privy's and two ash pits.

              My kitchen/breakfast room is pretty much the same size as their entire downstairs, yet they had large families living in them and no running water - no wonder illnesses ran rampage. It certainly reminds me to count my blessings!

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                #8
                I have them for almost all my direct ancestors, even when I already knew their death dates from their gravestones, burial or newspaper announcements.

                I had a photo of my 3x great grandmother's gravestone in Epworth, Lincolnshire, but she died in Nelson, Lancashire where her daughter (my 2x great grandmother) lived, I decided to get the death cert even though I knew the date of death and burial date. The informant turned out to be another daughter whom I had lost track of, who must have come to help nurse her mother - she had been widowed some years before and had married a Scot in Nelson a few weeks before and gave her address in Glasgow so I was able to find her new husband and children from her fist marriage in Scotland.

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                  #9
                  Yes, death certificates are as vital as others in the information they MAY provide. That said, they can be disappointing and inconclusive! That's just the way it goes!
                  Anne

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                    #10
                    If you have a brick wall in a tree - getting death certificates of other family members and relatives can often unlock things. The most useful thing on a death certificate is usually the details of the informant and especially HOW they qualified to register the death - that can be vital information in proving family links..
                    I am a professional researcher, and ex- deputy registrar, based in Buckinghamshire - please contact me for any help/advice or research via PM or my website www.chalfontresearch.co.uk
                    Follow me on Twittter @ChalfontR

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                      #11
                      I try and buy all the death certificates of my direct ancestors. I find them so interesting and sometimes very upsetting. It was very hard until recently to decided which was the correct certificate in 1840-1860's when there was no aged on the transcriptions, hence I am still buying them now.
                      Lin

                      Searching Lowe, Everitt, Hurt and Dunns in Nottingham

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                        #12
                        Wow, really interesting to hear your thoughts! My aim is to get DC for all direct lines one day and the odd one here and there - always sad to find childrens deaths and often wonder what tradegy or horrible illness they had

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                          #13
                          Just about the biggest research blunder I ever made, was to not bother getting a death cert for my great great uncle. According to my father, he died unmarried. I found his grave and his date of death on the family gravestone "beloved son of". I found him in a street directory 12 months before his de ath, unmarried, living with his brother and brother's wife. I ruled a line under him, died without issue.

                          So imagine my astonishment, years later, to be contacted by his grandson! I was sure it was a mistake, very common name, but no, it was no mistake. The street directory was sl ightly out of date. He married 12 months before he died, leaving a pregnant widow. He was not buried in the family grave (another blunder on my part) merely commemorated there. The weird thing was, my contact knew all about my side of the family because his grandmother kept up a life long correspondence with my grandmother!

                          He was able to fill me in on our mutual 2 x grandparents and it was mostly things I could never have found any other way.

                          If I had only bought that death certificate - they were £3.50, istr! - I would have seen that his widow registered his death and my research would have uncovered the truth. Wasted years, because his child didn't die until 1999.

                          OC

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                            #14
                            Ah wow! Maybe I should buy the DC on the direct lines that I believe didn't marry/have children!

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                              #15
                              Some great tips and bits of info on here. Thanks everyone, it has certainly made me want to buy some more death certificates and maybe find some new bits of information.
                              Main research interests.. CAESAR (Surrey and London), GOODALL (London), SKITTERALL, WOODWARD (Middlesex and London), BARBER (Canterbury, Kent) and CHEESEMAN (Kent).

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                                #16
                                The thing about death certificates, too, is that they 'go back' the furthest along your ancestors. What I mean is they are likely to have been born and married before 1837 when certification as we know it began. However, with luck, they'll have had the good sense to die after 1837 so at least you have the chance to get one for them!
                                Anne

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                                  #17
                                  Having been inspired to get a few more death certificates, I am now wondering if there is a simple way to find out which ones I already have and which to order. I use FTM and Ancestry so is it possible to do a search somehow on FTM to see who has already got a death cert? I have paper and digital copies of them all in various files and the originals in one big folder but it could take a while to go through and make a list so I'm looking for a shortcut.

                                  Ideally I should make a spreadsheet of all the certificates and wills that I have so I have all the information in one place but that could prove to be another very long job full of sidetracks!

                                  Any suggestions?
                                  Main research interests.. CAESAR (Surrey and London), GOODALL (London), SKITTERALL, WOODWARD (Middlesex and London), BARBER (Canterbury, Kent) and CHEESEMAN (Kent).

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                                    #18
                                    This is reminding me that I need to order a few more certs. Maybe next month's budget.

                                    US death certs, at least in post ~1910, have spaces for parents' names, and their places of birth. Earlier than that date - it varies by state, but I have seen it. That is similar to Canadian DC's. Scottish certs should not be missed!

                                    Also, US DCs have a place for the deceased's POB. A g'g'uncle's DC gave me a foothold in Ireland for one of my lines. Actually gave the town he was born in.

                                    Another one gave me an address for a family that had been moving around a lot, and lead to another researcher contacting because of where my ancestor lived!

                                    Should be easy to make a list on Family Historian, not sure about FTM,

                                    OC, that's a great genealogy story
                                    ------------------------------------------------------
                                    My Families
                                    London-area Coverly Family Finder DNA Project

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                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Gardengirl View Post
                                      Having been inspired to get a few more death certificates, I am now wondering if there is a simple way to find out which ones I already have and which to order. I use FTM and Ancestry so is it possible to do a search somehow on FTM to see who has already got a death cert? I have paper and digital copies of them all in various files and the originals in one big folder but it could take a while to go through and make a list so I'm looking for a shortcut.

                                      Ideally I should make a spreadsheet of all the certificates and wills that I have so I have all the information in one place but that could prove to be another very long job full of sidetracks!

                                      Any suggestions?
                                      It probably depends how you've recorded them in your program, and whether you've been consistent. I created a new source in FTM called England & Wales, General Register Office, Death Certificate so I can go into the Sources tab then scroll down to that Source and see a list of the ones I've got. Same for marriages & births.

                                      A spreadsheet is probably worth doing too, if you can find the time! I'm not normally so organised but as I was ordering loads at the beginning I set one up to log them, including the ones that turned out to be wrong to make sure I didn't end up ordering them twice (mainly lots of people called Davis/Davies in Wales!)

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                                        #20
                                        Teasie, thank you for those thoughts. I have to confess that there are many sections of FTM that I have yet to explore and the Sources tab is one of them. I had no idea you could do what you have described so I think I will start by exploring that and having a look at the guide book. Thank you
                                        Main research interests.. CAESAR (Surrey and London), GOODALL (London), SKITTERALL, WOODWARD (Middlesex and London), BARBER (Canterbury, Kent) and CHEESEMAN (Kent).

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