Monday, April 19, 2010

Madness Monday, or, Milestone Monday: My First Death Certificate

So back in March, during the Fearless Females posts, I wrote about my great-great grandmother, Helen Coolidge Adams being my then brick wall. I've been trying to prove or disprove that Helen is the daughter of Henry Coolidge and Margaret Hawley. Well, brick wall no longer -- thanks to the good people at NYC Vital Records!

Not long after writing the Fearless Femals post on Helen back in March, I finally found her death notice in the New York Times. It was brief, but as it turns out contained vital information. The notice states:
"ADAMS--On Sunday Jan. 20, 1929, at the Hotel Devon, 70 West 55th St., in her eighty-first year, Helen Coolidge, wife of the late William Adams. Funeral private."
[New York Times, Jan. 21, 1929, p. 15]
NYC Vital Records general information states that death records are filed by place of death, so thankfully the death notice told me not only when and where she died (Hotel Devon), but gave me an exact address. And it was enough information to fill out the request for a copy of her death certificate.

Today I received my self-addressed stamped envelope back from NYC Vital Records. I felt like I was back in high school waiting for a college acceptance -- feeling the envelope for thickness to figure out whether it contained my desired information or was a polite "sorry no luck" letter. Happily, the envelope contained two sheets of paper, double sided copies each, containing Helen Coolidge Adams' death certificate.

Scanning it quickly I found that the certificate did indeed list her parents, as follows--

-- Henry Coolidge and Margaret Hawley.

In addition to her parents, the certificate also list other interesting information. Birth date and place, 13 Nov. 1848, Connecticut, as well as her place of burial, "Cremation Fresh Pond". Page two of the certificate was a statement signed by her son William, understanding her wish for cremation and releasing the remains to the undertaker. I'm wondering if I should take the "Fresh Pond" bit literally.

Anyway, now I have this link and am free to move forward by going backward to the Coolidge and Hawley families.

No comments:

Post a Comment