Meticulous is one of those qualities that really serves you well in genealogy. Case in point: If you are looking for Alabama Vital Records, and you go to that website, you’ d see that the State began keeping death records in 1908. But what if you said…hmm…..did any counties keep records earlier than that? If you dug around (in Lawrence County for me) you’d be rewarded for that. I found a Death Register that started in 1882. Looking at it was even more eye-opening:
Look at all the information on this thing! First of all, yes, it includes blacks. It notes the person’s name, date of death, age, race and occupation on the first page. It’s funny how sometimes they would mark the person white, then cross that out only to replace it with mulatto;) You can see an example of that above.
The second page notes the cause of death, place of death and burial, and the person who reported the death. This register goes through 1895. Some of the notations even say who the person’s parents were! Now think if you had just stopped and thought that the state level vitals were all that were available. This was such a hidden gem for me. I’m searching in Lawrence County, Alabama for my Fendricks family roots. They are a BIG brick wall for me. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anyone with that surname listed here. But I thought this was a pretty cool record.
Now, at the end of the book, they had a list of the doctors that worked in Lawrence County in that timeframe. Nice. But guess what was next?
How terrific is that? A list of midwives! Notice the colored ones. What if that was your ancestor?
The places in which we find unlikely information still amaze me. I’m still convinced the ancestors want to be found.