Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One Person, Two Death Records

This is one of those not-sure-what-it's-worth-but-it's-fun-to-ponder posts.

I was searching for a death record online at FamilySearch.org's Record Search and I happened on two death records for the same individual.

WACHOWSKI, ADAM 1908-07-16 CHICAGO 06 MO U 00019664

I wasn't surprised. I knew that from 1908-1915 there are two sets of records for Chicago--but I had never really compared certificates from both sets before.

I believe the first record, the one with hurried handwriting stamped with numbers and a date, is the original, and the handwritten number in the top right corner is the certificate number--the one you find in the online index--and that's how those records are arranged.

I think the second record is a copy of the original probably made at the Cook County Clerk's Office. Notice that it has a different number in the top right corner--a register number--and that's the way those certificates are organized.

Things to notice . . .

The original certificate has the register number written on it in two places. The two records are connected.

The information on both records seems to be exactly the same.

The original record seems to have been torn from a book of records. The duplicate seems to be part of a book.

Things to wonder . . .

What does the number "33717" on the original certificate mean?

What does "See Book of Corrections Letter W Page 364 Line 17 (Bessie Wachowski)" mean? On later records I've seen certificates of correction. What is it about this record that's wrong? Or do these records reflect a correction? Is information from the Book of Corrections available from the county clerk's office?

Was Bessie Adam's mother?

The cause of death has the number "105" written next to it. Was that a code for "gastroenteritis" and/or "malnutrition?" I think the answer to that is yes--gastroenteritis. Take a look at a record with the same cause of death and same code. And notice that the cause of death code doesn't appear on the copied record. Who put that code on? Who kept track of that information? What was done with it?

What discoveries have you made about the death records at FamilySearch's Record Search? Feel free to post a comment and share.