Genealogy Friday: Case Study—Using Vital Records

I’ve been sharing tips on vital records.  Here is a case study on how I used vital records to unlock a genealogical mystery in our family:

My great-grandfather had a sister that no one knew what happened to her.  She was lasted listed on the 1910 census with her parents.

She was not included in either of her parents or any of her siblings obituaries, so evidently she had already passed away.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I went to the SC Death Certificates and ran a search under her maiden name with no results.  I then put in her first name, Florence, and left the last name blank.  In the keyword section, I typed in her maiden name, Reynolds.  Up popped a death certificate for a Florence Ballenger that died in 1918 of childbirth complications.  I knew by this that she had married and when she died.  I was even able to find her grave on Find A Grave.

However, I wanted to know who she was married to.  Since she died before a census she wouldn’t be on there and at that time her spouse wasn’t linked.  All I had were his initials,
J. R. from the grave.  I searched for a death certificate for the child and there wasn’t one {child not full term so one was not issued}.

So, I evaluated my options.  The best course was the check for a marriage license so I drove to the neighboring county {where they married}, pulled the bride index, searched for her name and BINGO.  There she was with her husband.  So now I had his name and birth year.

Out of curiosity I wanted to know more about this man my aunt married.  So I did a search on him and found him on proceeding census records and death records.   Naturally he went on to remarry and have more children.  I even looked up his obituary and obtained a copy.  So I learned what happened to my great-aunt and her widower.

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