Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Is That Really Your Name?

I have been working on this Missouri Death certificate project for too long. That is the project of trying to find all that are possible to be found. I've found close to a hundred so far for the years between 1910 and 1960. When Missouri first released these death certificates, I pulled hundreds of them. Who knew that my Chinns and Kirtleys were so fruitful and multiplied so rapidly. I quickly located husbands, wives, sons, and daughters. That was the easy part of the project. The latter part, which I am working on now using my GenSmarts program requires a little bit more work. So, I find myself searching census records and marriage records hoping to prove or disprove, add or eliminate. So far, I've worked through over 700 people. Some get the little red X that says that no death record could be found, some get the ignore designation - because if some one's husband's last name is Smith, but I have no idea what his first name was, there is no point searching that name in the death record database. Others get the intriguing Revisit or the vaguer Plan to search. I've eliminated some families from the Missouri death records altogether because they moved out of state, or just drop off the face of the earth somewhere around 1910 (yeah, that could mean they died, but probably not in Missouri.)

Today has been a real challenge and I have found a couple of hard-won records. And it is something I've tried to keep in mind while searching. For instance, Taylor Hibbs is really Robert Taylor Hibbs. Of course, I needed census records to confirm that, but for one or two records the man is listed as Taylor. I'm sure a hundred years or so ago, someone was sitting around thinking "I'll throw that family researcher off my scent." Hah. It didn't work. Gotcha.

Lesson learned: Don't skip looking at the actual census. Don't discount something because you didn't find the name you expected to see in the index. Lots of people are known by their middle names. I am not one of them!

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes

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