Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Of Death Certificate and Disappointments

You may remember a blog series I wrote about Rachel called Rachel Luttrell and Her Widow's Pension Woes. I received Rachel (Schmuck) Luttrell Jones' death certificate yesterday. Looking at death certificates is always a weird experience. Partly because of the unreliable or non-information that they have, and the primary information they do have.

Rachel died 14 August 1912 of breast cancer. I was particularly sad about the cause of death. Rachel had a challenging life and I had hoped that she died happy and from old age. The certificate states that she was still married, presumably to Lewis Jones.

Her son, T.A. Luttrell [Thomas Arthur], was the informant of the family information. This was horribly and sadly lacking.  Date of birth is recorded as "Exact date not known." I just found this odd. How could Rachel's son not know her birthday? Or did he just not know the year and so they scrapped the whole thing? However, Rachel's age is recorded as 66 and her birthplace as Columbus, Ohio. It's just baffling. Thomas provides her father as Joseph Schmuck and doesn't know where he was born. He also didn't know Rachel's mother's maiden name, so the space was marked as "Do not know" as was her birthplace.

So, the end result.... I have more information than I had before I received the death certificate but of course not as much as I hoped (sigh).

1 comment:

  1. Cinamon, I shudder to think what inaccurate data will be on my own d.c. Despite being reminded every year of the date and year (by my age), my son never gets it right. My daughters have slightly better memories, but living several hundred miles away in different states, there's no guarantee any of them will be present to provide the information. Or even be asked.

    My grandmother was still alive and already in her 90s when my mother died, and even though I was The Eldest Child, had been the family historian for years, and was sitting right there when the funeral director began filling out the d.c., it was Grandma and one of Mother's sisters who jumped in and answered his questions before I could even open my mouth. As a result, much of what ended up on it is incorrect. Same for the obit for the paper. Even my first and married name was misspelled.

    The d.c. may be an "official" document as far as time, place and cause of death, but never blindly consider anything else on it to be correct.