Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Look at These San Francisco Coroner's Records!

I posted FamilySearch has lots of San Francisco County Records yesterday, and have spent some time paging through the Coroner's Records in hopes of finding information about Linda's grandfather, Paul Schaffner (1879-1934), great-grandmother, Jane (Whittle) McKnew, and great-grandfather, Elijah McKnew (1836-1912) to no avail.

However, in the process, I got a good look at these records, and they are extremely RICH records. Let me walk you through two random examples.

1)  Here is the starting page for San Francisco County Records, 1824-1997:

2)  To reach the records, you have to click on the link that says "Browse through 1,034,024 images."  The next screen shows the nine different sets of records that I summarized yesterday:

3)  I clicked on the "Coroner's Records link and the list of datasets came up:

4)  I picked the Death Reports, Apr[il] 1912 and paged through them.  There were 2 images for every case (only the first image shown below):

In the page above for Jas. Wimbush, who died 4 April 1912 of a fractured skull in an accident, there were lines for Gender, Color, Age, Nativity, Marital status, Occupation, Residence, Place where death occurred, Time of death or when found dead, Presumable cause of death, body received at morgue, Deputy, Undertaker, Order for burial signed by, Relation to deceased, Time of accident, Place of accident, Nature of accident, When received in hospital, Predisposing cause, if suicide, Date of inquest, Autopsy Certificate, Property list, Witnesses, and History of the Case.

5)  In the Coroner's Register for May 1934, there were also two images per case (only the first page shown below)

In the page above for Matthew Brasnyo, who died of natural causes, the Report has lines for information on Name, Residence of deceased, Place where death occurred,  Date of death, Time of death, Date reported, Name of person reporting case, Relationship, Address, Phone, Place notification, Sex, Color or Race, Marital status, Name of spouse (if married), Date of birth, Age, Occupation, birthplace, Father's name and birthplace, Mother's maiden name and birthplace, Length of residence, Informant, Burial, Cremation or Removal?, Place, Date, Embalmer, Funeral director, Body received at Morgue, Body permitted to go to, Request of, Public administrator notified, Room sealed, Certificate sent Board of Health, Relatives notified, Photo taken, Fingerprints taken, body placed in cold storage, Body removed, Body delivered by, Accident or suicide information, Information Relative to Insurance, History of Case, Witnesses, Emergency Hospital Record, Evidence, Autopsy Surgeon's Report, Result of Inquest, Property, Disposition of Property, Receipt for clothing, Newspaper Clippings.

Not every field is filled in on most of the reports, but the information provided, especially the History of the Case, provides interesting details about the subject.

The Reports are in Date and Time Received order, so once you find the date of death on a Report you can work from there until a day or two after the Date of Death.  apparently, not every death was handled by the Coroner's office.

Unfortunately, I could not find the Coroner's Report for any of my targets tonight.  I'll go looking for others, though!

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/08/look-at-these-san-francisco-coroners.html

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Debi Austen said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I found some interesting stuff on my first try. I've seen some of the funeral home records but hadn't see the coroner's records and had nothing other than a date for my ancestor. Now I know he died alone while he was sleeping, naked, in bed.

Christine Woodcock said...

Thanks, Randy. Didn't realize they were readily available online. I got mine from the Coroner's office directly and learned that my great uncle was likely murdered by his wife - by accidental poisoning! A wealth of information that created as many questions as answers!