Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The information on a death certificate

Below is the death certificate of my second great grandfather, Moshe Leyb (aka Morris Louis) Cruvant.  I referred to it in the notes of my Monday Amanuensis transcription.  It's an excellent example of all the information one can find on a death certificate.  As long as one realizes that the informant may have had some of the information incorrect.
First, there is the obvious date and time of death, which here is September 26, 1911 at 11:25 pm.  The time of day is important in the Jewish religion, since if you convert the Gregorian date to the Hebrew calendar you have to remember that the next day starts at sunset.

However, the physician also notes when he first 'attended' the deceased.  In this case it was August 20, 1911.  As was mentioned in Monday's transcription, Moshe Leyb's daughter, Bertha, was married on August 27th.  Due to her father's illness, the wedding was small, and not as joyous as it would otherwise have been.

Moshe Leyb's place of death is the same as the address of the informant, Dave Cruvant.  Dave was Moshe Leyb's second eldest son.  There weren't many treatments for cancer in 1911, and Moshe Leyb may have been confined to his son's home instead of a hospital.

The death certificate confirms a lot of information I know from City Directories.  (Actually, the city directories confirm the information on the death certificate.  I would generally rank the directories as more reliable in this regard.)  Moshe Leyb had been in the State of Illinois since 1900, when he changed careers from Tailor to Shoe Merchant, and moved from St. Louis, MO to East St. Louis, IL.

The death certificate says he was in the US for 35 years. This would mean an immigration year of 1876.  It's actually believed that the Cruvants immigrated closer to 1886, though the exact date hasn't been nailed down.  It's possible 25 years was written down wrong.

It appears David Cruvant didn't know the name of his paternal grandmother, though he did know his grandfather's name was Aron.

Finally, there is the name of the cemetery in which Moshe Leyb was buried.  Hashaschelemus.  No such cemetery exists.  This is what happens when whoever is transcribing the information doesn't speak the language the words come from.  The name of the cemetery is Chesed Shel Emeth. (English spelling may vary slightly, though it will always be three words.)

If one wasn't familiar with Hebrew, or the local Jewish cemeteries, one might have difficulty deciphering the name.  (Note: The Hebrew word 'אמת' is usually transliterated as 'Emet' or 'Emeth', however the European, or Ashkenazi Jewish community often pronounce the final consonant as an 's.' )

No comments: