Thursday, February 2, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday - Death Index Record of Isaac Buck (1757-1846)

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - a time to reveal another gem in my treasure chest of family history.

I have quite a few index records from the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841 to 1910 database, I have not collected Death certificates for all of them.  In almost all cases, the information on the indexed records are exactly the same that are available from the town records or on a death certificate obtained from the specific Massachusetts town.

As an example of one of these indexed records, here is a death index page from 1846 for Sterling, Worcester County, Massachusetts:  

This image was obtained from the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) database on  The source citation for this entry is:

"Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910," online database, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (, citing original data at Massachusetts State Archives, Deaths, 1846, Worcester County, Sterling town, Volume 21, Page 121, Isaac Buck entry.

The entry for my fourth great-grandfather, Isaac Buck (1757-1846) is the fifth from the bottom of the page.  The column headings and the entries for Isaac are:

No.:  26
When Registered: Feby. 10th
Name and Surname:  Isaac Buck
Sex and Condition:  Male. Widower
Age, Years, Months, Days: 93 - 11 - 20
Occupation:  Revolutionary Pensioner
Date of Death:  February 7th
Disease or Cause of Death: Old Age
Place of birth:  Southboro
Name and surname of Parents - if a Married Female, the Name of her Husband:  Illegitimate

The Sterling town record book, which I extracted back in 1995 when I visited the town hall, has this same information, as does the published book:

Frances Pratt Tapley, Vital Records of Sterling, Massachusetts (Sterling, Mass.: Sterling, Mass. Historical Commission, 1976).

I've always thought that it was very sad that the parents of this Revolutionary War soldier were not named in this record.  The Southborough, Massachusetts town records not that they are Isaac Buck and Mary Richards, who were apparently not married.  I guess that the informant of Isaac's death did not know this. 

The one error I see is his age - his birth date calculated from the age at death (93-11-20) works out to be 18 February 1752 for a death date of 7 February 1846.  However, he was born on 27 September 1757 in Southborough.  Therefore he was 88 years, 4 months and 11 days old at death.  I wonder where the informant obtained his information?

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