Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Rabbit Holes With Randy -- Wisconsin Death Records, 1959-2004 for Seaver Folks

 Another day, another rabbit hole.  There are too many choices, it seems.  I noted, while doing the Saturday weekly update of collections, that added more birth, marriage and death index records for the 20th century for the state of Wisconsin.  I try to "mine" record collections like this for my family tree, since vital  records after the 1940 U.S. census are difficult to find for some states.

1)  My rabbit hole today is to "mine" the Wisconsin, U.S. Death Records, 1959-2004 record collection for Seaver and Carringer entries, and add the information to my RootsMagic database with a source citation.

Here is the record collection search form:

I put "Seaver" in the last name field, and selected "Exact" from the dropdown menu.  The collection summary page also provides "Related data collections," "Source information," and "About the collection."  The latter section notes:

"The information provided in this collection is not a legal vital record index. Inclusion of any information does not constitute legal verification of the fact of the event." 

2)  There are 34 Seaver (exact) last name entries in this collection:

Each entry includes only a full name, a death date, a death county, and a residence county.  Here is the first result on the list:

I already had Jerome John Seaver's death date from a number of other sources, but I added the source citation to my source list for his death Fact and name as given in the record:

"Wisconsin, U.S., Death Records, 1959-2004," indexed database , ( : accessed 18 January 2022), Outagamie county, 2004, Jerome John Seaver death entry, 12 February 2004; Original data: Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Madison, Wisconsin.

3)  This is a Derivative Source (because it is an index of information given by an informant to a county clerk, transferred to a death certificate, and indexed to this collection), Primary Information (the original record was likely contemporaneous to the event), and Direct Evidence (it gives a specific name and specific date in a specific place).  Of course, any of the information can be wrong, but in this case it matches several other records created at about the same time, but is a better source than, say, Find A Grave, or an obituary.  Being over a thousand miles away from Wisconsin, and when the record is for someone who is not in an ancestral family, this record is "good enough" and I'm not going to order a death certificate.  

4)  The benefit of doing this, especially when a person is not in my database already, is that Ancestry provides "Suggested Records " on the right sidebar with more records in their collection, so it's like a one-stop shop.  For instance, the suggested records for Jerome include his social security application, his World War II draft registration card, his Find a Grave memorial, several census records, a obituary index entry, a marriage index entry. a marriage index entry, city directory entries, and more.  In some case, when a person appears in some other family members record (for instance, a spouse's death record or obituary, a child's birth or Social Security Application, etc.), you can add that record to the family member's profile also.

Using the "Suggested Records" I don't have to search each collection, or do a general search.  However, the "Suggested Records" do not provide every record in Ancestry's collection for the person, and the "Suggested Records" can be wrong for the specific person.  A researcher has to use their judgment.

5)  Unfortunately, the maiden names of married Seaver women do not appear in this database, so the Suggested Records can be helpful in that case.  When they aren't helpful, the searching for them in your family tree may be helpful.  Or searching for a spouse dying in the same county may be helpful.

For instance, the second entry on the list of 34 Seaver deaths is for Mary Ann Seaver:

She died in Walworth County on 3 April 2004.  I don't have an entry for "Mary Ann Seaver" dying in Wisconsin in 2004 in my RootsMagic database as a person's name or alternate name.  However, further down the list of Seaver deaths is that of Claude E. Seaver, who died in Walworth County.  I do have him in my RootsMagic database, and note that his wife's maiden name is Mary Dodge Piper (1930-2004) with a death date of 3 April 2004 in Walworth County from other sources.  So I can add another source citation to Mary's death Fact and to an alternate name of Mary Ann Seaver.

6)  Two hours later, I have entered information for all 34 Seaver persons in this record collection.  There were no Carringer entries.  I need to look for Seaver name variants too - Seavers, Seever, Seevers, Sever, Severs, Sevier, etc. And then do the same task for the Marriage and Birth indexes that recently added to their record collections.  Later on, after has provided Record Hints for the Wisconsin people in my RootsMagic database, I will go mine those for other persons in my database.

Where are my carrots to give me energy to complete all these task?  Time for a snack!


Copyright (c) 2022, Randall J. Seaver

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