Thursday, May 19, 2011

Death Certificates

Okay, yeah, the title's a bit morbid, but . . . death certificates, when you can find them, are a great source of information . . .

. . . sometimes! Ha!

Sometimes, they don't help at all.

Death certificates often, but not always, list the parents of the deceased, as well as the parents birthplace. Woo-hoo, more verification of information.

Not always . . .

Case in point: Great-Grandpa Charles A. Mitchell - the mysterious man who seems to have appeared out of thin air. Okay, not really, I know he was born in Dekalb County, Alabama on October 4, 1858. I know - or knew, but still really know, nothing much else about him. I don't have his parents names - the Mitchell Family Bible was no help at all. What the heck, people? Still, I was determined to learn his parents names.

Oh, the false presumptions people have when they first begin dancing with their ancestors. I journeyed to the State Archives here in Nashville, scrolled through the microfiche and . . . voila, found his death certificate. Back to the microfiche cabinet to get the roll containing his death record . . .

. . . scroll . . .

. . . scroll . . .

. . . scroll . . .

VOILA! The death certificate for Charles A. Mitchell. Parents name . . .


Father's name . . . Mitchell.

Double CRAP!

Mother's name . . . Forrest.

Triple CRAP!

So much for helpful information on that death certificate. Back to square one and the belief that dear, old Great-Grandpa Mitchell was beamed down to earth by aliens.

Oh, and then there are the times where the following is inserted, as the case with Great-great Grandpa Alexander Sweat, for parents names: don't know!

Well, gee, could you be any more helpful? Ha!

But, don't dwell in the depths of despair like Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Death certificates are not a lost cause, as evidenced by . . .

Great-great Grandma Mary Catherine Langdon Sweat, Alexander's wife! Her death certificate revealed her parents names . . . which I'd already found using Ancestry, but some other verification is always nice.

So, if possible, go for the death certificates. Hopefully, you'll have better luck, and less mysteries (more on that later - ha!) than I have.


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