Thursday, May 31, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday - Jane (Whittle) McKnew'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 of Jane (Whittle) McKnew (1847-1921):

This Death Certificate was obtained from both the County of San Francisco, and from the State of California.  The better image is the one above from the State.  The content in both certificates is identical, but have different reference numbers on them.  The California reference number (on the image above) is 21-007723.  The information on the Death Certificate is (handwritten entries in italics):

Place of Death:  City and County of San Francisco (1288 30th Avenue 5 Ward)
FULL NAME:  Jane McKnew
Sex:  Female
Color or Race:  White
Single, Married, widowed or divorced:  Widow
Date of Death:  February 7, 1921
Wife of:  E.P. McKnew
Date of Birth: August 2, 1847
Age [at death]: 73 years 6 months 5 days
Occupation:  Housewife
Birthplace:  Australia
Name of Father:  Joseph Whittle
Birthplace of Father:  England
Mother's Name:  Rachel Moore
Mother's Birthplace:  England
Length of Residence (Place of Death): 46 years
Length of Residence (California): 71 years
How long in U.S.: 71 years
Informant:  Henry L. McKnew, 3718 16th St.
Doctor's Statement:  I attended deceased from July 1920 to Feb 6 1921 that I last saw her on Feb 6 1921 and that death occurred on the date stated above at 6 A.M.
Cause of Death:  Inannition
Duration: 1 month
Contributory:  Pulmonary tuberculosis
Duration: 2 years
Did an operation precede death? No
Was there an autopsy? No
What test confirmed diagnosis?  clinical
Signed: F.B. Carpenter, M.D.
Date: Feb 8, 1921
Address:  Howard Bldg.
Place of Burial or Removal:  Cypress Lawn Cemty
Date of Burial:  February 9th, 1921
Undertaker:  Bunker & Lott, 2666 Mission St., Undertaker's License No. 1207

There is quite a bit of information in this Death Certificate, but some is inaccurate and some is confusing.

We know now that Jane (Whittle) McKnew's parents were Alexander Whittle and Rachel Morley, not Joseph Whittle and Rachel Moore.  Close...but wrong (see The Whittle Research Compendium), and was misleading family members for decades!

The Cause of Death was listed as "Inannition" which is, I think, Inanition:  "Exhaustion, as from lack of nourishment or vitality" (Free Online Dictionary).  Or:  "exhaustion due to starvation: exhaustion caused by lack of food or water or as a result of disease" (Bing Dictionary).  That's a new definition for me

The place of death (1288 30th Avenue) was, I think, the home of one of Jane's children in 1921.  She lived most of her married life in San Francisco at 4131 19th Street in San Francisco (or on the same block).  

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Unknown said...

Interesting death certificate. I am wondering whether there is an explanation of the black block of ink near the top left. Has something been censored? The reason I am asking is that I am looking at another San Francisco death certificate that has several thick black lines near the top left, above the text "FULL NAME OF CHILD." Should I be wondering whether there is something important that has been blocked out? Thanks very much, Ruth

Randy Seaver said...

Hi Ruth,

That blacked out area on Jane McKnew's death certificate looks like a stamped county file number. I think I got this from the state, not the county.

I have no idea why it's blacked out - perhaps they don't use those numbers any longer? It has a state file number in the upper right.

Thanks -- Randy