Death Certificates


Typhoid Mary’s (Mary Mallon) Death Certificate. I was right in guessing that she died of typhoid. But it also lists her parents, place of birth (Ireland, no county though), birth date and how long she suffered from typhoid (24 years).

In today’s New york Times there is an interesting article about death certificates

a document that has myriad benefits for the living: establishing a legal basis for life insurance and estate settlements; providing critical information to survivors and descendants in an era of burgeoning advances in genetics; advancing knowledge about diseases, accidents and other causes of death; and much else.

And it is a great resource for genealogists to uncover a dead ancestor’s vital record’s and parents.  But the article is mainly focused on a study on the accuracy of the death certificate, especially whether or not the cause of death is being accurately reported.  The study found that many times the cause of death is not precise.  Doctor’s too often are forced by time pressures and the system to just put something down even if it is not wholly factual.

The article also displayed some great digital images of some famous person’s death certificates including Lou Gehrig, Typhoid Mary,  Boss Tweed and the first person to be killed by an automobile.


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