Providing practical, down-to-earth advice for family historians since 1995, online since 1985.
What I learned from great-grampa's
Here is part of what I already knew about my dad's paternal grandfather, from my grandmother Myrtle's family records.
NAME: Alma Oades Player
At home in Florida, I have a picture taken just after all of Alma's children attended the funeral. One had been distant from the family for a number of years, but managed to return for the solemn occasion. I also knew that Alma's parents and grandparents were pioneers who made the trek west enduring dire circumstances.
Here's how ol' Myrt located the death certificate:
1. I checked the Family History Library Catalog http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp
2. I clicked the "PLACE" search button, and specified "Salt Lake" as part of "Utah" (without the quote marks.) Note I did NOT type COUNTY after Salt Lake, as I had previous experience understanding that designation isn't necessary.
3. I scrolled down and clicked on the topic "VITAL RECORDS."
4. I chose to see the details for the record group titled "Death records of Salt Lake City, Utah, 1848 - Sept. 1950 Salt Lake City (Utah). Office of Vital Statistics" since it covered the time period of my ancestor's 1929 death.
5. I noted that the collection was filmed in 1950 by the Genealogical Society of Utah and that it contained 31 microfilm reels.
6. To determine which film covered 1929, I clicked the grey button in the upper right labeled "VIEW FILM NOTES."
7. I scrolled down to make a note that the Death registers 1928-1929 were located on FHL US/CAN Film 26564.
8. I was already on the US/CAN (US and Canada) film floor, so I merely went to the drawer and pulled film #26564.
What I learned from great-grampa's death certificate:
What's NEXT for ol' Myrt?
Just how do we feel about death certificates? Are they reliable? What do you think? Have you also found conflicting info in death certificates? In my opinion, the most reliable bit of information is the death date. Everything else is up to interpretation. After all, although Acel was a much loved son-in-law, he wasn't around to attend his father-in-law's birth, so his report of Alma's birth date is second or third-hand info at best.
Happy family tree climbing!