Casefile Clues

20 May 2013

Mary J. Randles as Mary J. Reynolds--One Day Off and One County Away

An earlier post challenged readers to find the death certificate for Mary J. Randles using information on her "drop pensioner" card.

The actual certificate for Mary illustrates some simple errors that researchers encounter in terms of dates and names when researching records. The "drop pensioner" card would likely be considered to contain secondary information on Mary's date of death.


Mary's name was Mary J. Randles--her husband was Embertson Randles.  The "drop pensioner" card indicated she was living in Malvern, Ohio, on 5 April 1932.

Searching for Mary took a little bit of time. The image with this post is her death certificate which was located on FamilySearch. These death certificates are indexed on the Ohio Historical Society's website. Mary was finally located by searching for women named Mary who died in April of 1932. When she could not be located in the county in which Malvern is located, adjacent counties were searched. That is how the index entry for this death certificate for Mary J. Reynolds who died on 4 April 1932 in Canton, Stark County, was located.

The name of the husband is "correct" and the name of the father matches information in her widow's Civil War pension application which is where the "drop pensioner" card was located.

The date of death only differs by one day--not a serious difference to be honest. Of course someone cannot die on two days and (without additional information) one would usually consider the death certificate to be more likely to be accurate than the date of death on the "drop pensioner" card.