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Showing posts from October, 2017

Celebrating Digital Access: Cook County Out-of-town Death Certificates

Today's post focuses on Out of Town Deaths, 1909-1915 , a unique set of Cook County death records that are available on FamilySearch from a Family History Center or an affiliate library. Here is an example of an out-of-town death certificate for Flora Smith who died in Kansas City, Missouri. Notice that it's neatly written on a City of Chicago death certificate form. And notice that it only includes basic information: name, sex, color, age, death date, place of death, place of burial, undertaker, cause of death, and a physician’s name and address. "Out of town deaths, 1909-1915," FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/280109 : accessed 22 October 2017) > series 4, nos. 1-1490, Jan.-Sept. 1912, microfilm 1298897 > digital folder 004005117 > image 51, Flora Smith, no. 45 (11 January 1912). Now compare the death certificate that was created for Flora in Missouri. The information on this record was recorded in two or more hands and it

Celebrating Digital Access: Coroners' Inquest Records, 1872-1911

Yesterday I wrote about  coroners' death certificates . Today I'll focus on a related source—the Cook County, Illinois coroners' inquest records, Dec. 1872-Nov. 1911 . Background As I mentioned in the coroners' death certificate post, a coroner was called to investigate deaths that occurred under unusual circumstances. A jury was assembled, witnesses were interviewed, and, together, they tried to determine the cause of death. The findings were recorded as inquest records—short entries in bound volumes—and as the verdict on the coroners' death certificates. To see a list of situations where today's medical examiner would be called in (Cook County changed from coroner to medical examiner in 1976), visit the Medical Examiner page on the Cook County Government website. What Information Do the Inquest Records Include? The format of the records changed over time. The first few volumes contain formulaic paragraph-style reports written in a blank ledger. Lat

Celebrating Digital Access: Coroners' Death Certificates

Today's post focuses on Cook County coroner's death certificates, 1879-1904  which can be accessed for free on FamilySearch if you visit a Family History Center or an affiliate library. What is a coroner's death certificate? If a Cook County death occurs under unusual circumstances--homicide, suicide, or accident, for example--or if the cause of death is unknown, the coroner is called in to investigate. Between 1879 and August 1904, two records were created when that happened: a coroner's inquest record and a coroner's death certificate. The records are related, but they're not the same. (If a person died from natural causes, there was no inquest and a "regular" death certificate was created. And, after 1904, the results of the inquest were noted on the "regular" certificates.) Here's an example of a coroner's death certificate. Example of a Coroner's Death Certificate (1) Notice it lists the "verdict of the juro

Celebrating Digital Access: 1937 Lurie Index (Chicago Voters)

Example card from the Lurie Index of People in Chicago in 1937 as well as All of the Voters' Registration for Chicago Today's post focuses on the Lurie index of people in Chicago in 1937 as well as all of the voters' registration for Chicago . As the title states, this alphabetical card file appears to list registered voters living in Chicago in 1937 and it's important for a number of reasons: 1) It serves as a substitute city directory, filling in the gap between census years. (The last of the early Chicago city directories was published in 1928/1929.) 2) It lists people of the same surname living in the same house and can suggest family groupings. 3) It provides addresses. These records can be accessed online from a family history center or FamilySearch affiliate library by folowing this path: FamilySearch > Search > Search by Title ("lurie") > Select correct title Once the catalog entry loads, use the guide names to select the c