The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 8, 2012

Frankie Meyer: Death records contain crucial details

By Jacque Gage
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — If your ancestors were early settlers in Missouri, they probably traveled to the area via the National Road that was started in 1811 in Cumberland, Md., along the Potomac River. During the next 30 years, the road was extended west almost 800 miles as it passed through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

The road, which was the first federally sponsored highway, was sometimes called the Cumberland Road and National Pike. It passed through Hagerstown, Md., Wheeling, Va., Zanesville and Columbus in Ohio, and Indianapolis and Terre Haute in Indiana.

It stopped at Vandalia, Ill., when the project ran out of funding. From that town, settlers sometimes took a road northwest to Alton, Ill., or west to St. Louis.

My ancestors Asa and Maria Carlin traveled along the National Road (now U.S. Highway 40) in 1856. After reaching the St. Louis area, they followed the Telegraph Road (now Interstate 44) to the Monett area of Barry County.

As Asa’s sibling, Robert, traveled west along the road, he decided to stop and settle with his family in Ohio. Perhaps your ancestors’ relatives did the same.

The Ohio Historical Society has a website that provides free, online digitized information about Ohio that may be helpful in your search for family history. The site is found at www.ohsweb.ohiohistory.    org.

When the site opens, click on “Chronicling America.” The section allows you to search newspapers published between 1836 and 1922. When the next screen opens, the site provides a form on which you can enter a state, a span of years and a name.

After that information is entered, the site provides thumbnail images of newspaper pages that have that name. One can then select a page and zoom in on the page to see a larger image.

One can also move the page around to read it after the page has been enlarged. If you only enter the surname during the search, you may find information on relatives as well.

The society also provides the Ohio death certificate index of deaths between 1913 and 1944. That page is found at ohsweb.

The site provides a form to enter a complete name and a county. If you only enter a surname and select “all counties,” the site provides a list of all people with that surname who died between 1913 and 1944.

The site also provides the death date, the county where each died and the death certificate number. The society charges $7 if you want to order a copy of the certificate.

In addition to the death date and place of death, death certificates usually list the date of birth, place of birth, marital status, spouse’s name, occupation, father’s name and place of birth, mother’s name and place of birth, the person who provided the information, place of burial and the funeral home that made arrangements. Thus, death certificates may provide the key information to break through brick walls of research.

Suggestions or queries? Write to Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168, or email frankie