Monday, December 12, 2005

Working immediate collateral lines, SSDI & NGS

I am at a brick wall with my uncle. I sent for death certificate at the state vital records in Louisville. They said they did not have the certificate and they thought that the funeral home did not forward it to them. The funeral home is no longer in business. I have located a Claude Lee Lewis in the SSDI and it shows he died in 1970. I am not positive that he is the right Claude Lee. I have sent for the original SS application. If this shows that he is my uncle where can I go to find the death certificate? Thank you for any help.

Ol' Myrt understands it is important to know the cause of death for your parents, grandparents and all siblings of these generations when compiling medical family histories. In Manatee County, Florida, the funeral home directors tend to know who inherited the funeral records when a company folds or is purchased by another funeral home. So check with other funeral homes in your uncle's town to see what happened. Hopefully his file may have the pertinent info which can be filed even though quite late.

If there is no death certificate, you could look for the obituary through a microfilm copy of the local paper. Hopefully you can obtain that through inter-library loan. Often there is mention of the cause of death, even if only by inference when mentioning a donation in lieu of flowers to a particular organization, such as the American Cancer Society.

Be sure to consider all possible spellings of his name including dropping either his first or given name:
-- Lee Lewis
-- Claude Lewis
-- Claude Lee Lewis
-- Louis

How is he listed in the 1930 census? 1920? The last census when he lived with his parents as a child?

Not everyone is listen in the SSDI. It is not a perfect listing of everyone who died in the US since 1965ish. Read on...

From: Peggy G
Here is another freaky story about the SSDI: My mother died in 1980 and she was not listed on the SSDI until about the year 2000. I've never understood that, except she only worked for a few years from approximately 1930-1934 and then was self-employed during the early 1970's. I thought that possibly could have something to do with the lack of her listing: They lost her! Or it would just be a fluke.

I do so enjoy reading your down to earth columns! I hope to see you next year in Chicago at NGS, as the Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium (one of eight local societies hosting) will be hosting the conference "They Passed This Way." As president of the British Interest Group of WI & IL (BIGWILL), I'm issuing this early invitation for you and all your readers to join us in Chicago for a fantastic conference next June, from the 7th to 10th. Get your reservations now. Check out the NGS website at

Couldn't help but get on my bandwagon, Myrt. And if anyone wants to volunteer an hour or two, here or there, please let me know. I'm volunteer chairperson and would love to hear from anyone who is interested!

On reflection, it occurs to ol' Myrt that we might get stuck when not finding a particular record on an individual. Please study the RESEARCH OUTLINE on your ancestor's state or country, written by experts at the Family History Library. You'll find the most up-to-date versions online at: Click SEARCH then RESEARCH HELP, then find them listed alphabetically. The advice in these outlines will suggest all sorts of alternative record groups, including some that are peculiar to the specific locality. Good luck!

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207

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