Here a Keokuk, There a Keokuk Everywhere a Keokuk?

It can be confusing when small political jurisdictions with the same name are contained within the same larger jurisdiction.

That’s apparently what caused the confusion with the index entry for this 1940 death certificate from the State of Iowa that appears on FamilySearch in their “Iowa, Death Records, 1921-1940.” George Sartorius died at Graham Hospital in Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa. That hospital was also apparently located in Lee County’s Keokuk Township.

And Lee County was not the only county with a Keokuk Township. Wapello County has one as well. That’s apparently how George Sartorius’ place of death in FamilySearch‘s “Iowa, Death Records, 1921-1940” became located in Wapello County.

The error suggests that some of the data entry for this death certificate was automated. That does not really matter. The impact for the researcher is that:

  • searches based upon place of death (when performed exactly) won’t locate this record
  • importing the database entry directly into a database  (without correcting it) will result in an error based upon the transcription
  • reading the original record is always an excellent idea

Unless your research is in a state that has no two places with the same name and has never had them.


3 thoughts on “Here a Keokuk, There a Keokuk Everywhere a Keokuk?

  1. And how to “fix” these errors in transcription becomes a CHORE. A find a grave made an entry that is probably flat out wrong…… yet the person who did the work is “no longer excepting messages”…. and with out knowing that persons source the whole thing is in never never land. And I find this make believe person in many family trees ……

  2. What do we learn from this? You cannot trust the descriptions others have added. Always look for the actual record (or digital copy).

    • Yes–that’s exactly the lesson. Sometimes I feel like I’m “preaching to the choir” . It turns out there are several death certificates in this database for people who died in Keokuk, Lee, Iowa that are transcribed as having died in Keokuk Township–Wapello County.

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