Death Certificate Saturday!

About two weeks ago, my husband found this site to order Death Certificates in Pennsylvania. There are links to indices to search for document numbers, which you will need if ordering the certificates. (Birth certificates are also available- but for limited years.)

$5 each! Wow- what a bargain! Considering how much you can spend on these docs- I was pretty excited about that. And- personal checks are accepted.

I printed out the request form, filled it out and sent it out in the mail. 

Today we got a packet of death certificates in the mail. My husband had much better luck with new information. Me….not so much.

My paternal branch has been in this country only since the late 1800’s- early 1900’s and most of that time in Pennsylvania- specifically Carbon County, because that’s where the coal mines were. I am missing one set of 2nd great grandparents and three sets of 3rd great grandparents- I was hopeful.

But it was not to be. The death certificates I got had “Unknown” listed for parents- there were two fathers filled in- one missing a first name, and the other not even a complete first name. So…what’s a genealogist to do????

A couple of things I did learn.

1. I had best watch out for my kidneys- I’m surprised how many ancestors I’ve found kidney failure to be their cause of death!

2. I finally have a personal link to the 1918 influenza pandemic.



Paul Eremus was my 2nd great grandfather. Until my husband found this site, I wasn’t sure exactly when he died. I knew he was alive in the beginning of 1918 because there is a World War I draft card- but his wife is listed as a widow in the 1920 census. I knew, from the draft card, that he was residing in a sanatorium with tuberculosis. So I figured he died there, but I didn’t know when. Now i know he died on October 12, 1918 from pneumonia and influenza. I’m assuming that the tuberculosis disease would’ve made it impossible for him to survive the influenza virus- especially because that virus was particularly nasty. Considering that plenty of healthy people in his age range died as a result of the pandemic, it’s no surprise that he wouldn’t have had a chance when his lungs were already weakened due to tuberculosis.

Maybe that’s weird that I find that interesting to the point of exciting- but I’ve been studying the 1918 pandemic for years now and the fact that one of my relatives died from it makes it even more real.

In other news, I am awaiting a copy of Sheldon Shaw’s death certificate which I ordered from the NC Bureau of Vital Statistics. They’re a little more stringent with their rules. I had to get a certified check or money order and also send a copy of my driver’s license. Their charge was $24 plus an extra $15 if you want the process expedited (I didn’t). I hope they’re able to find it because I don’t know what name she was using when she died- so I just listed them all. Sheldon Shaw Rigsbee Clifton- hopefully the dates of birth and death will eliminate any possible duplicates. Distant relatives have said she committed suicide- I’d like to know for sure.

If anyone might have a guess as to what Paul’s father’s name could have been I’d appreciate any input!!!


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