Friday, February 1, 2013

Follow-up: Olivine's Death Certificate

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the New York City Municipal Archives at 31 Chambers St. in Manhattan. I went there after having received a death certificate number from a gentleman named Donald at the German Genealogy Group (GGG); a member of the organization that helped to index the New York City vital records. 

Donald had thorough access to the GGG's database allowing him to search by date for the death certificate of my 3rd great-grandmother, Olivine Ethier. I had a date of death for her from a plot record I purchased from Calvary Cemetery; the largest and oldest cemetery in New York City. I knew her date of burial to be December 14, 1906 but for the life of me could not find her in the New York City Death Index. I knew it had to be a spelling issue; I knew her last name must have been incorrectly spelled on the certificate or in the index. Donald sent me the following information:

Olevene Eltrier,  Age 70y,  Died 11-Dec-1906, Queens County, Certificate # 3434.

With this information I went to the New York City Municipal Archives. There I retrieved on my own the appropriate roll of microfilm from the cabinet and set myself up on a microfilm reader. 

I found certificate #3434 and sure enough the name was spelled wrong on the certificate; Olevene Eltrier. I am sure, however, that this is indeed the death certificate for my 3rd great-grandmother, Olivine Ethier, based on a few facts on the certificate.
  1. Place of Death: 92 Lanford St. L.I.City. I know this line of my family was living in the Long Island City and Astoria area of Queens County based on other documents I have collected including census records.
  2. Place of Birth: Canada. Yes, I know Olivine as well as her children were all born in Quebec Canada based on church records and, again, census records.
  3. Place and Date of Burial: Calvary Cemetery, December 14, 1906. This is exactly the same information I have on the plot record I obtained from Calvary Cemetery. This woman is buried in the same plot as my great grandfather, Albert Gardner. This is his maternal grandmother!
Additionally, this document confirmed for me that Olivine's maiden name was Page. This is confirmed by the information provided on the form in the section "Father's name." The data supplied there is the name Palo Page. Based on a baptismal record I found for who I believe to be my Olivine, I think her father's name was Pierre Page and that her mother was Disange Brunet. This death certificate, though, does not confirm those details, in fact, it does not even state Olivine's mother's name. A death certificate is not a primary resource for those details. The document is a primary resources for the date and cause of death. I learned that Olivine died of bronchial pneumonia and pulmonary edema on December 11, 1906 at 7:30 p.m. The names of her parents, though, is information reported second-hand by an informant who may or may not have ever known such facts. 

Thus, my research on Olivine will continue. Each newly found document is like a drug; just a small fix to push me on to search for more records.

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