Got Death Certificates, Whats Next?

In my prior article An Exciting Day in PA Records Is At Hand I discussed the impending release of the first wave of PA Death Certificates (1906-1924) on Ancestry.com.  Four hundred and sixty-nine (469) death certificates later, I’m ready for the next wave to be released in June.  You may ask yourself, what in the world would Sandy want with 469 additional PA Death Certificates (above the directs I had already pulled)?

The answer is: medical health history and cause of death.  While I pulled more death certificates than just the directs and great aunts & uncles, I am most interested in the illnesses described on the death certificates for those that share the same gene pool as myself and my husband.  I’m not too worried about causes of death like:

  • typhoid
  • smallpox
  • car accident
  • suicide

However, I am very interested in the incidences of:

  • cancer (any type)
  • apoplexy (strokes)
  • heart attacks or heart disease
  • other genetic or inheritable  diseases
Create Reports, Events

Create Reports, Events

GenDetective has a few reports that will help you ferret out any pattern of inheritable diseases.  In the Create Reports tab, select the Events category as shown on the right.  There are 2 reports that are very suited to this kind of inquiry:

  • Who has this event that matches?
  • Who has this event with details?

These reports are dependent upon the way you record the cause of death or illnesses for relatives in your family tree software.  You may record this information under any of these common events or your own custom event:

  • Illness
  • Death
  • Cause of Death

Regardless of how you record the information, these two reports isolate the information so that you can study it for patterns.  My favorite is the “Who has this event that matches?” as I like the geographic breakdown of the report .  The geographic grouping allows me to distinguish between city and country illnesses.

Who has this event that matches?

Who has this event that matches?

Using these reports what chronic or genetic illness might you discover run in your family?

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