52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Mistakes

Numerous times I have come across mistakes on death certificates. I always looked at the informant’s name and thought he/she had misinformed the funeral director. Not so anymore…first hand experience taught me differently.

My father-in-law died in October, 2018. When my husband brought home a copy of the death certificate, I read it. Four mistakes! One was his middle name. Another was the address of his residence…transposed number. Another was the name of the assisted living facility…left out a letter in the spelling. The last was the information about the duration of the illness. I had gone with my husband to the funeral home to make arrangements, and I did not remember the funeral director asking my husband about the information per se. I asked about correcting the mistakes and learned they cannot be corrected once submitted. It appeared that the funeral home secretary did not proofread the information before submitting it. To top it off, the memorial programs given at the visitation listed his year of death as the next year!

In September, 2021, my husband Daniel passed away. Going to the funeral home I asked about the death certificate. The director related that the information placed on it of a non-medical nature was taken from the files of the parents’ funeral and records. I would be listed as the informant. I related to her that I wanted to see a dummy copy of the certificate before it was submitted. I told her I was a genealogist and accuracy was important to me. It would be e-mailed to me so I could have the final approval. When the e-mail came, I read the dummy copy in disbelief! My name was misspelled! I sent it off with an immediate correction. Correction made.

How many other certificates are filed where the staff have not proofread the information?

One thought on “52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Mistakes

  1. Interesting post! I had a very different experience when my mom passed away in 2020. I sat down with the funeral director and personally provided all the information for the death certificate. He then emailed me a copy to proofread before submitting it to the state. There were no mistakes. Your point is well-taken, however, that not all funeral homes may be so careful. As always, we genealogists must be circumspect about documents pertaining to our family, no matter how recent.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.