And, yes, Benjamin Franklin's reminder about the only two certainties in life being death and taxes may make us chuckle. It's what he doesn't mention that's important to us as researchers – all the paperwork that surrounds these two certain events in a person's life, especially death. Paperwork and documents that along with giving us details of our ancestors' deaths, provides for us details of their lives. Evidence of their lives. Following is a listing and some examples of the types of paperwork and/or documents with some tips on where to look for them that can provide ‐ if not direct evidence ‐ then clues of an ancestor's death and their life. Emphasis has been placed on, of course, death certi-icates, but there are many other types of documents that should be searched for that can yield information on both an ancestor's death and their life, and these are touched upon as well. DEATH CERTIFICATES Death certi-icates can be very helpful in your search for clues about both your ancestor's life and their death. Below are three examples of death certi-icates or records from my own family research. The -irst one is my 2nd great‐grandfather's, Daniel Rook Vaughan's, and the second is his and Annie O'Brien's oldest child's, Henry Lewis Vaughan's, death certi-icate. They are both from the state of Texas, and illustrate just what kind of information can be gleaned from a death certi-icate. The third example is from the death record of one of my 3rd great‐grandfathers, Nelson Martin, from Johnson County, Illinois. Example #1: Life and Death On Devine Street According to his death certi-icate, Daniel Rook Vaughan passed away 26 Dec 1909 in San Antonio, Texas from “cardiac valviular [valvular] disease” and from a “chronic ulcer of the stomach”. Prior to his death he had resided at 201 Devine St. in San Antonio, Texas and had been at this residence for three months. He had also resided in the state of Texas for 8 years according to the death certi-icate. Having been born in Michigan, Daniel was 62 years, 1 month, and 14 days old, was married, and was a contractor by trade at the time of his death. His parents are listed as Benjamine Vaughn and Susiana Rook, both born in Michigan. He was buried at the K.P. Cemetery, and the undertaker is listed as Shelley Undertaking
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