Monday, September 2, 2019 Search Quirk - They Use Maiden Name in a Massachusetts Death Record Summary

Recently, has been adding the maiden name of a female as the last name of the person in the record summary of a Massachusetts Death Records, 1841-1915.  I use this collection a lot, and this really bothers me.  I have looked for, and have listed at the bottom of this post, the same quirk in other death records.

Here is the record summary for Lucinda (Seaver) Bruce in the Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915 collection:

Notice that the record summary provides the parents names (and this record comes up when I search for those parents - I like that!).

Here is the record page with the death record of Lucinda:

And the snippet for Lucinda's death:

Notice that the record is for Lucinda Bruce (m[aiden] n[ame] Seaver, Hus[band]. James B. Bruce).

All of that information is very helpful, but the record summary should read "Lucinda Bruce" with an alternate name of "Lucinda Seaver" or "Lucinda (Seaver) Bruce" or similar.  The latter would be fine with me and would reflect the record information.  But "Lucinda Bruce Seaver" is very misleading and could cause an error in a researcher's tree.

The important thing is that Lucinda had a "Bruce" surname when she died, and there are many other records for her as a Bruce.  

I can visualize that some researchers might assume, from the record summary above and without looking at the actual record, that Lucinda's middle name was "Bruce" and that she died unmarried with the "Seaver" surname.

To me, this is an "unforced error" on's part - the name on the record should be the one on the record summary, and any alternate information like maiden name on the record should be in parentheses below the name on the record.  

What other record collections do something similar?  Have you found any others?

NOTE:  These collections also have the same indexing quirk:

Vermont Death Records, 1909-2008
U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007
Maine, Death Records, 1761-1922


Disclosure:  I have had a fully paid subscription since 2000. has provided material considerations for travel expenses to meetings, and has hosted events and meals that I have attended in Salt Lake City, in past years.

Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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