Saturday, December 09, 2006

Death Certificate for Marina Parisi

Marina Parisi was Anthony Parisi's mother. I don't have any photographs of my great-grandmother, but I do have her death certificate, posted here. My translation:
Oregon State Board of Health
Division of Vital Statistics
State of Oregon
State File No. #3956
Local Registrar's No. #3957
Other Misc. Numbers at top of certificate [purpose not stated]:
84-7506 [handwritten in top left corner]
12062 [stamped at top of certificate]
102 [handwritten under local registrar's no.]
Left Hand Column:
1. Place of Death:
[Date of Dec. 9 1947 stamped at top of this section]
(a) County: Multnomah
(b) City: Portland
(c) Name of hospital or institution: 2435 S.W. 5th Ave.
[printed in small letters underneath: if not in hospital or institution write street number or location]
(d) Length of stay: In hospital or institution [left blank]
In this community: 56 yrs.
In state: 56 yrs.
3. (a) Full Name: MARINA PARISI
(b) if veteran, name war [dashes to indicate n/a]
(c) Social Security No. [dashes to indicate n/a]
4. Sex: F
5. Color: W [for white]
6. (a) Single, widowed, married or divorced: Widow
(b) name of husband or wife: Joseph
(c) age of husband or wife if alive [left blank]
7. Birth date of deceased: July 21, 1862
8. Age: 85 years, 3 mos, 26 days
9. Birthplace: Austria
10. Usual occupation: Housewife
11. Industry or business: [left blank]
12. Father's Name: Anthony Morelli
13. Father's Birthplace: Austria
14. Mother's Maiden Name: No Record
15. Mother's Birthplace: Austria
16. (a) Informant's own signature: Mrs. Mary Balerica [signature underneath]
(b) Address: 2435 S.W. 5th Ave.
17. (a) Burial, cremation or removal: Burial
(b) Date: 11/20/47
(c) Place: Mt. Calvary Cemetery
18. (a) Signature of Funeral Director: Hennessey, Goetsch & McGee
(b) Address: Portland, Oregon [signature]
19. (a) Date form received by registrar: Stamped Nov. 18 1947 [possibly 19th]
(b) Registrar's signature: [Stamped, unreadable]
Right Hand Column:
2. Usual Residence of Deceased:
(a) State: Oregon
(b) County: Mult. [Multnomah]
(c) City: Portland
(d) Street No: 2435 S.W. 5th Ave.
(e) how long in USA? 56 yrs
[the number 102 is handwritten under this line with no explanation]
20. Date of Death:
Month: November day: 17 year: 1947 hour: 8 minute: 40
21. I hereby certify that I attended the deceased from Nov. 17th [unclear, possibly other date], 1947
to Nov. 17, 1947 and that death occurred on the date.
[the number 16-1947 is handwritten here with no explanation]
Immediate cause of death: Heart. A few days only.
Due to: Hypertension
Due to: Senile
Other Conditions: Advanced Age
Major findings of operations: None
of autopsy: None
22. If death is due to external causes, fill in the following: [the following was left blank and is omitted here]
23. Signature: Alan Welch Smith, MD [typed]
Address: Medical Dental Bldg
[Signature below address]
A death certificate contains a number of genealogical clues. Most obviously is the name listed of the parents, although Marina's mother is listed as "No Record" so we do not have this important piece of information. However, we do have her father's name (and thus Marina's maiden name) so we can start looking there. We also have information about Marina's residence and know how long she'd been in Portland and at this address. The certificate also tells us where she is buried.
The informant is also important. Usually this is a family member or close friend of either the deceased or the family. In this case it is Marina's daughter, who lives with her at the time of her death. I will have to look up whether Marina's son-in-law or grandchildren are also living with her at this time.
The informant is important because that tells you the accuracy of the information. Because a death certificate is at the end of a person's life (hopefully long), many of the birth details may not have been passed down. This is the case with Marina's mother's name and information. Also, birth dates may not be accurate, either because the date wasn't known (before birth certificates were required, an illiterate family, or other errors) or on purpose (women lying about their age, men changing theirs to enlist or get jobs, or simply to receive a pension or social security).
There are also transcription issues, such as Mary Baldrica's name being misspelled as Balerica by the person who filled out the certificate. Since a death certificate is usually completed at the worst time -- someone close to the deceased has just lost them -- many things may not be corrected or overlooked.

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