Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.
I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.
I began this project back on February 16, 2009. Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.
This week I transcribe the death certificate of my great grandfather, Barney Newmark. He died November 25, 1956.
I actually have two different copies of his death certificate from two different sources, and there are differences between them. (You can click on either to see a larger version.)
The certificate on the right was downloaded from the State of Missouri's Archival database. I'm unsure where the one on the left came from, but it clearly predated the funeral, as the funeral director hadn't yet signed it. While it contains the doctor's signature, it doesn't have the cause of death. (Actually, it looks like a cause of death has been erased.)
It's possible it came from the funeral home - as we have retrieved copies of other death certificates from there - but the funeral home certificate we have for my great grandfather, Herman Feinstein, contained additional information about the plot.
The responses on the earlier version are also all handwritten. Which suggests that the person who typed the final document did it from the handwritten version, allowing room for mistakes. (I don't see any in this instance, except 'Russia' on the original as the place of birth was changed to 'USSR.' Barney was likely born in the city of Warka, on the outskirts of Warsaw. At the time of his birth, Russia would have been correct, but the USSR didn't exist until well after the family had left the area.)
The Division of Health of Missouri STANDARD CERTIFICATE OF DEATH
State File No 43617. Reg. Dist. No. 318. Primary Reg. Dist. No. 1003. Registrar’s No. 10776.
1. PLACE OF DEATH
b. CITY OR TOWN: St. Louis
c. LENGTH OF STAY: 10 days
d. FULL NAME OF HOSPITAL OR INSTITUTION: Jewish Hosp.
2. USUAL RESIDENCE
a. STATE: Mo.
c. CITY OR TOWN: St. Louis
d. STREET ADDRESS: 5573 Delmar
3. NAME OF DECEASED: Barney Newmark
4. DATE OF DEATH: Nov 25, 1956
5. SEX: male
6. COLOR OR RACE: white
7. MARRIED, NEVER MARRIED, WIDOWED, DIVORCED: married
8. DATE OF BIRTH: April 14 – 1886
9. AGE: 70
10a. USUAL OCCUPATION: Tailor Retired
10b. KIND OF BUSINESS OR INDUSTRY: Owner of shop
11. BIRTHPLACE: USSR
12. CITIZEN OF WHAT COUNTRY: USA
13a. FATHER'S NAME: Samuel J. Newmark
13b. MOTHER'S MAIDEN NAME: Rose (unk)
14. NAME OF HUSBAND OR WIFE: Bertha Newmark
15. WAS DECEASED EVER IN U.S. ARMED FORCES: No
16. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER: None
17. INFORMANT’S SIGNATURE OR NAME ADDRESS: Bertha Newmark 5573 Delmar
18. CAUSE OF DEATH
DISEASE OR CONDITION DIRECTLY LEADING TO DEATH: Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease
ANTECEDENT CAUSES: With congestive failure
INTERVAL BETWEEN ONSET AND DEATH: 5 years
22. I hereby certify that I attended the deceased from 1950 to Nov 25, 1956, that I last saw the deceased alive on 11-25, 1956 and that death occurred at 1:20 am, from the causes on the date stated above.
23a. SIGNATURE: Melvin B. Kerstein
23b. ADDRESS: 607 N. Grand, St. Louis
23c. DATE SIGNED: 11-25-56
24a. BURIAL, CREMATION, REMOVAL: removal
24b. DATE: 11/26/56
24c. NAME OF CEMETERY OR CREMATORY: Mount Olive H. Cem.
24d. LOCATION: Univ. City, Mo.
DATE REC’D BY LOCAL REG: Nov 26, 1956
REGISTRAR’S SIGNATURE: J. Earl Smith, MD
25. FUNERAL DIRECTOR’S SIGNATURE ADDRESS: Berger Memorial 4715 McPherson
1. The 'county' for place of death and usual residence is left blank, because there is no appropriate 'county' for the location. The City of St. Louis has been separate from the County of St. Louis since 1876.
2. Barney celebrated his birthday on March 17th. April 14th appears as his date of birth on his draft registration and his death certificate. March 25th appears on his naturalization papers.
2. I am surprised that my great grandmother, Barney's wife, didn't know her mother in law's maiden name. Of course, the information one can recall when their spouse dies isn't always the same as the information they can recall under less emotional stress.
3. Mount Olive cemetery was renamed United Hebrew Cemetery in 1960.