Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bits and Pieces - Assorted Death Certificates and the Clues Therein

I find it curious that the highlight of my day is receiving a death certificate in the mail. I'm not saying this is abnormal, but simply an interesting observation of where my current interests lie.

In the past week I've received three death certificates for ancestors in my paternal line, and while none of them provided huge clues or broke down brick walls, they all had little bits of value.

Adeline Emma Bridge Stone (1827-1855). Given the little information I supplied on the request form, I'm actually surprised I even got this. Considering that my 3rd great-grandmother died in 1855, there was little additional information on the form, but it is a record from New York City in the mid-nineteenth century. I've been working on determining the definitive identity of Adeline's mother, and had half-heartedly hoped this might help. Sadly it didn't. But it did answer another of my questions... What caused her death at age 28, leaving my great-great grandmother motherless at age five? Answer: pneumonia.

John Stoddard McCormick (1889-1948). I really wasn't looking for answers with this one -- more to bring his documentation full circle and complete as much as possible. One piece I've gone back and forth on with my great-grandfather is the year he was born. The month and day, December 8, has been consistent, but other information has pointed to either 1888 or 1889. His death certificate lists 1889. He was born in Connecticut, not New York, so I suppose my next step is trying to track down a birth certificate.

Margaret Gilligan McCormick (1851-1927). I love having this one. I struggled for quite a while to prove that Margaret was John Stoddard McCormick's mother and my great-great grandmother, and I cherish every piece of information that links us together. My great-grandfather, Dr. John S. McCormick provided the "personal and statistical particulars." This tells me her father was John Gilligan, born in Ireland, and her mother Katherine, also born in Ireland. Unfortunately, Katherine's last name is hard to read or even guess at. But it's a tidbit I didn't have before.

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