Monday, September 15, 2014

Mining the New Hampshire Death Certificates, 1938-1959 on FamilySearch

Another recently added or updated (I can't tell any more...) on FamilySearch is the New Hampshire Death Certificates, 1938-1959.  Death certificates are usually very rich genealogical documents, so they can really help piece families together.

I wanted to "mine" this record collection for Seaver persons in it - so I entered "seaver" in the last name field:

I clicked on the blue "Search" button and saw 38 matches:

One of the items on the list of matches was Leila Baird Seaver.  I knew I had her in my database, but I had only a birth year and birth state for her, from census records.  Her husband was William D. Seaver.

I clicked on the link for her name and saw the record summary:

As you can see, the indexed information for this database include the:

*  Name
*  Event type
*  Event date
*  Event place
*  Gender
*  Age
*  Birth year (estimated)
*  Father's name
*  Mother's name
*  Spouse's name (not shown above)
*  Certificate number
*  Page number
*  Digital folder number
*  Image number

Clicking on the link for "View the document" (you need to be signed into FamilySearch  for this collection), I saw the digitized death certificate image:

There are many more bits of information on this death certificate, including:

*  Name of deceased
*  Date of death
*  Place of death
*  Length of stay (in this place)
*  Usual residence
*  Sex
*  Color or race
*  Marital status
*  Date of birth
*  Age
*  Usual occupation
*  Birthplace
*  Father's name
*  Mother's maiden name
*  Ever in U.S. Armed Forces?
*  Social Security number
*  Informant
*  Medical information
*  Burial/cremation information

I can Print or download the certificate if I choose to, or Save it to my computer.

For Leila Baird Seaver,  this certificate told me her death date, death place, residence location, birth date, her birth place, that she was widowed in 1955, her parents names, etc.

I went through all 38 matches on the list.  The death date and death place were the items of most interest, but I was able to add several birth dates and birth places to my database.  For some matches with a parent or spouse matched, I was able to use the information in the certificate to identify other family members using other resources.  In some cases, a mother's maiden name was added to my database.

Of course, only the death information is primary information, and the birth information, the parent's names, etc. are secondary information.  However, that doesn't mean they are wrong.  I found that almost all of the birth dates were accurate, based on New Hampshire birth record cards.  Same with parents names.

A source citation?  Here is the FamilySearch source citation provided:

"New Hampshire, Death Certificates, 1938-1959," index and images,  FamilySearch   ( : accessed 15 Sep 2014), 1956 > No 1065-1592 > image 190 of 552; citing New Hampshire Division of Vital Records, Concord.

A source citation crafted by myself in RootsMagic 6 is:

"New Hampshire Death Certificates, 1938-1959," indexed database and digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 September 2014), 1956 > 1065-1592 > image 190 of 552, Leila Baird Seaver certificate of death No. 56-1232; citing New Hampshire Division of Vital Records, Concord, N.H.

I was able to add this source citation to the person's name (or alternate name in the case of a spouse like Leila), her birth date and place, her death date and place, her parent's names.  I could have added a residence and an occupation, and a cause of death also.

I try to do this with every collection on FamilySearch that may have information about Seaver, Carringer, Vaux, Auble, McKnew and other family surnames.  At a minimum, they add information I don't have, and at best they add new persons, relationships and content for my extended families.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

SearchShack said...

Great explanation!

I use the Export Results Feature in Family Search and download the file into an Excel spreadsheet, delete the top three lines leaving headers for my file, name it "Shackfords in New Hampshire Death Certificates, 1938-1959 pulled 9/16/2014". I can then work the searches by clicking on the URLs on the far right column of the spreadsheet. That brings up the person match which I can review to see if the source is already matched or analyze the information to see if it needs to be matched, match the information and then add the source to my RootsMagic file. I then color that line in the excel file green. This way if my project of reviewing the index match gets interrupted, I know where to start up the project later.

Also if the person is not one of the SHACKFORD descendents I research, I mark the line red.