Thursday, December 15, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Lucretia (Smith) Seaver's Death Certificate

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to share an artifact or a document image from my collection of ancestral stuff.

The treasure today is the death certificate for Lucretia (Smith) Seaver's (1828-1884) in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts, obtained by mail from the Leominster Town Clerk in 1991:

The information on this "CERTIFICATE of DEATH" includes:
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
From the Records of Deaths in the City of Leominster, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

1.  Date of Death: MARCH 24, 18842.  Name: LUCRETIA D. SEAVER
     Maiden Name:  SMITH
3.  Sex, and whether Single:  FEMALE
    Married or widowed:  MARRIED
4. Age: 56 Years, 6 Months, 18 Days
5.  Color:  WHITE
6.  Disease or Cause of Death:  ABCESS
7.  Residence:  -----
8.  Occupation:  -----
9.  Place of Death:  LEOMINSTER, MA.
10.  Place of birth:  MEDFIELD
11.  Name of Husband or wife:  -----
12.  Name of Father:  ALPHEUS SMITH
13.  Maiden Name of Mother:  ELIZABETH D. (NOT LISTED)
14.  Birthplace of Father: ------
15.  birthplace of Mother:  -----
16.  Place of Interment:  LEOMINSTER, MA

I, Audrey J. Johnson, depose and say that I hold the office of City Clerk  of the City of Leominster, County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that the records of Births, Marriages and Deaths required by law to be kept in said City are in my custody, and that the above is a true extraction of the records of Deaths in said City, as certified by me. 

Date of Recording:  1884

WITNESS my hand and seal of said City, on the 28TH day of AUGUST  19 91
Audrey J. Johnson
City Clerk

I posted the 1901 death certificate, obtained by Isaac Seaver's third wife, Alvina (Bradley) (Lewis) Seaver after Isaac died in order to obtain Isaac's Civil War Pension, in Treasure Chest Thursday - Lucretia (Smith) Seaver's Death Record.  I thought this was interesting to see how the format of a death record provided in 1901 looks significantly different to that which are provided in more recent times.  The information is the same, however!

The one interesting thing I saw on this death certificate was the age at death - 56 years, 6 months, 18 days.  For the death date of 24 March 1884, that works out to a birth date of 6 September 1827.  The Medfield, Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 book notes that Lucretia was born on 6 September 1828. 

The quandary now is did the informant, presumably her husband, Isaac Seaver, mis-state the year either from personal knowledge or from a record? 

The Original source for the birth record is the handwritten Medfield Town Clerk's entry in the record book using information provided by someone, probably Lucretia's father, soon after her birth.  This record is Primary Information and Direct Evidence. 

The town book record of the birth was then transcribed into the Vital Records of Medfield, Massachusetts To the End of the Year 1849 book published in 1903.  This book is a Derivative Source with Primary Information and Direct Evidence.

The Death Certificate above is a Derivative Source (the record was not made contemporaneously with the birth event), Secondary Source (relied on information provided by an informant who was not present for the event) and Indirect Evidence (I had to calculate the birth date from the age at death) for Lucretia's birth date.


Celia Lewis said...

Don't you wish the death records list the Informant's name (and their relationship to deceased) for all the details -? Our local BC ones do, and that's been very helpful to evaluate the data more meaningfully.

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Don't you just love it (NOT) when dates don't come out like they should. Thanks for sharing another great example! ;-)