Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Death Certificates Arrived...

and they were enlightening (greater knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation). So, my previous post addressed my great grandmother Effie's death certificate and my being advised to pay close attention to her "other contributing factors" to death. Hmm. I didn't know what to expect. When I opened the envelope, I wasn't really surprised. She died from a condition called "interstitial nephritis" (inflammation of the kidney). It was "chronic" I gather from the abbreviation on the certificate.

The not so surprising part was the contributing factors - chronic alcoholism. In a previous post about Effie, I shared some of the newspaper articles about her, and they did seem to revolve around her being intoxicated in public. When I shared this information with my mom, she wasn't surprised. She seemed to recall my dad saying that Lola and Red were drinkers. I kind of wonder if Lola's drinking contributed to her being locked up in a State Mental Facility in the 1930s. After all, that was a time when women (in particular) could be committed seemingly easily.

In fact, Lola's sister, Bessie, was a patient in an Illinois State Hospital in 1930! She was married and I cannot seem to find her husband in 1930. I wonder. These were women that had hard lives and I am really trying hard to gather information and details about them to understand this. Not only does California require the mysterious "court order" to obtain hospital records for someone deceased, Illinois does as well. Ugh. I did order Bessie's death certificate and hope to receive that soon. I'm curious as to her cause of death and contributing factors, as well as informant. I imagine the informant might be a nurse, as she died in a nursing home. Her obituary did mention nieces as survivors, and I have attempted contact with descendants, but to no avail at this time. I may need to make another attempt to contact these people via email (I found a message board post where he gave his email address - my unanswered contacts in this case were via Ancestry account.)

I also got the death certificate of my great grandfather, George (Lola's father). I saw the name of his parents. Additionally, I ordered the death certificate of George's sister Kate. It looks like they had the same father but different mothers. I also got place of birth for their parents. I found that Kate's informant was her daughter Emma. Well, know who would think that two women named Emma, living in Kansas with daughter named Maxine, born in Illinois with last names so similar that I assumed the newspaper made a typo, could exist. When I typed in the first name Emma and the last name in the article, living in Kansas, in the Ancestry search, I found an Emma in Kansas with a daughter Maxine. The last was SOOO close, I thought it was her. This Emma was married to Fred. Well, when I got Kate's death certificate I found that Emma was not Mrs. Fred, but rather Mrs. JA. I found them. The correct Emma was not born in Germany and was not raised by another family. I can't express the value of death certificates, if you are doing genealogy search - searching for people you knew absolutely nothing about.

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