Was Dropping Dead the Reason for Not Knowing?

While there are reasons it can happen, it always strikes me as odd when a death certificate has a precise date of birth and no other information about the person’s origins. I realize there are reasons why death certificates are incomplete (the informant being upset being the biggest one). It just always seems a little weird to me that the date of birth is precise and that’s all that is really known about the person’s origins.

Looking at the cause of death, it appears that Jurgen Albers died suddenly on the morning of 24 February 1938. The suddenness of his death may have added to the confusion on the part of the informant–which was his wife.

The certificate was filed the day after his death and apparently the place of birth was written in after the bulk of the document had been typed. There is no cause of death and no investigation was made into his death.

It could be that the sudden nature of his death was the real reason the informant “didn’t know.”



5 thoughts on “Was Dropping Dead the Reason for Not Knowing?

  1. Perhaps there is i.d. at hand that an official asks to see, which lists date of birth, but none of the other information – like a driver’s license? Those started to be issued in some states at the turn of the 20th century, and not just for automobile driving.
    It is fortunate that so much occupation information is provided – that’s not always the case, I’ve discovered.
    I expect I would be distraught and not forthcoming in the situation you describe…

  2. I’ve found that information is often missing when it’s given by an in-law, especially a son-in-law. Alas, the information that I really need is usually what’s missing, and data that I already know is present.

  3. This is why I have pre-written my obituary. Didn’t have it for my first husband and was at a loss for some information. Had my second husband prepare his ahead of time. Very helpful.

  4. I know that Illinois required driver licenses by 1940 as my mother has great stories about getting hers. (apparently it was not necessary to be a “good” driver. 😎 ) Of course, she didn’t mention the state involved until it was part of his occupation.

    I also found it amazing and sad that she had no idea of the names of his parents, nor their birth places. Even tho they may be gone or “not close” emotionally, doesn’t it seem like they should have names and places that she would know? I know the in-laws of all seven of my aunts-, and uncles-in-law, and have since I was an early teen. Some I knew personally, some I just knew their names and about where they lived. We were living within 20 miles of all but one…and my mother cared about “family knowledge” (tho she would probably never have called it genealogy, even tho that is what it was.) She never wrote anything down, just remembered it, so I had to learn to do the same.

  5. Sharon Howell says:

    The family may have celebrated his birthday, thus knowing the date and his age. He may have made no mention of his family–he didn’t get along with them, they were already dead when he left Illinois, he was reinventing himself, he didn’t think it was important to know and neither did his wife–lots of reasons.

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