Family historians ‘love’ certificates, including birth, marriage and death certificates. But sometimes they create more questions than answers.
Well-known Australian genealogy researcher, speaker and author, Helen V. Smith ‘knows’ certificates, and she knows how important the death certificates are for family historians both to ‘kill off’ our ancestors as well as helping to determine their cause of death. This is especially so for people who are interested in establishing their medical genealogy (or health history). But how many times you have had to wonder if the cause of death is in a foreign language, (and not because of the handwriting)?
‘Death Certificates and Archaic Medical Terms’ examines the history and evolution of death certificates. When did they start? What is on them? What were the legal requirements? What does it mean when a death is certified? Why aren’t all deaths certified?
This guide book, which is now in its 2nd edition, gives meanings to archaic terms found on death certificates such as cachexia, breakbone fever, byssinosis, coeliac passion, dipsomania, inanition and Potter’s Rot together with hundreds more.
For more of a “taster” of this book, be sure to check Helen’s post at her blog From Helen V Smith’s Keyboard where she lists 100 or so archaic medical terms. Why not test yourself, and see how many you’ve actually heard of.
1. Evolution of death certificates
– United States of America
2. Getting the most out of the death certificate or ‘buyer beware’
3. Access to death indexes and/or certificates
– England and Wales
4. Occupational causes of death
5. Classifications of causes of death
6. Further avenues of research
– Probate files
– Internet Archive
– Certificate Exchange
– Online websites
7. Glossary of Some Archaic Medical Terms