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January 17, 2013

And Now a California Death Record Disappointment!

About 30 minutes after I published my blog post yesterday called Disappointment of a Michigan Marriage Record, the California Death record I ordered through VitalChek arrived.

That's it on the left. The good news is that the names of Maggie McGinnis' parents are given! So I know now which McGinnis couple were her mother and father - Daniel & Margaret or my ancestors Joseph and Fanny. 

The bad news? The huge label printed across the death certificate effectively hides many of the facts! For example I cannot make out the name of the cemetery where Maggie is buried. The address of the informant (her son) is hidden.

And if I didn't already know the exact location of her birth and if I was not familiar with Ontario towns and villages, I doubt I'd be able to figure it out from the record. Much of the name (Plattsville) is obscured.

Since this death record cost me $48.50 I'd have expected to be able to see it. All of it. A kinder way to handle this would for the originating record office to use a hand stamp that a clerk could place partially on the record (where there is no writing) and partially on the white border.

But the bottom line is that $120.00 later (for the Michigan and the California records) I have what I wanted - the names of Maggie's parents.  It's been an adventure and an experience getting there!


AliceinWonderbra said...

This record really is horrible! Geez. At least you had the knowledge to be able to get some information from it. And the mystery of the parents is solved!

Kathy Nitsch said...

Lorine, A digitized image of this death certificate is available (without the obscuring overlay) at FamilySearch. This database isn't indexed, so you need to know date of death and location in order to browse the image set. But, with the certificate number from the upper right hand corner of the VitalChek copy, it's pretty quick to find the image at FamilySearch:

Debi Austen said...

Most of my ancestors were in California so I've ordered quite a few death certificates. I'm curious as to why you use Vital Check rather than go directly to the specific county? I know it drives me nuts when the "Informational" information obscures stuff :-(

Kristin said...

I am ordering a death certificate directly from the county office. The only cost will be postage for two envelopes and $16. I hope I can read past the stamp. It may take longer to get than the copy you ordered but it sure costs less.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Debi - I used VitalChek because I didn't know there was another way to do it!

I've learned SO much from my amazing readers who have posted such helpful comments and instructions

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Kathy - thank you for this. I can't believe I didn't know this was online. ARGH!

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Kristin, I didn't care how long it took and would never have ordered from VitalChek if I'd realized the state office considers that a RUSH request and tacks on an extra 10.00

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Alice - I can't tell you how happy I am to finally put this question to rest.

I had assigned Maggie/Margaret to Daniel and Margaret McGinnis but it was not set in stone, just my best assessment of all the clues.

I needed some proof and now I have it! Yay

Mariann Regan said...

How frustrating! And expensive. Once I found a death certificate where the mother's name was typed right over the letters "NAME OF MOTHER" and I could not read it for the life of me.

Congratulations on your persistence.