Click Here to Receive New Posts
in Your Inbox

This form does not yet contain any fields.

    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

    Now Available

    Follow Me
    « Heirloom Hunting | Main | Obtaining a Vital Record for Los Angeles Genealogy »

    A Rather Boring Death (Certificate)

    Kinsel eb

    Eliphaz Bigelow Kinsel

    I am not very impressed with the death certificate that arrived recently for my great grandfather; but since negative information can be useful, I will attempt to extract every bit of life from this document. At the very least, I will have in hand the documentation needed for my D.A.R. application.

    To expedite my vital record request, I drove 30 miles to the Los Angeles suburb of Norwalk and placed an order in person for my great-grandfather's death certificate. I could have ordered the document by mail, but the turn-aroud time is reputed to be several months. As it was, the death certificate arrived exactly seven days after I placed my request. I am, however, still waiting for another request… for my grandmother who died in another Los Angeles County town, not the City of Los Angeles. The city of death must make a difference in the record return time.

    I did not anticipate that I would receive much new information from E. B. Kinsel's death certificate, and this was sadly true. I already knew that the widower Eliphaz was living with "that other woman" as my mother called Lillian M. Garnett. I knew from cemetery records that he died in May 1933, was buried on May 15th by W.A. Brown undertakers, and buried in the Graceland Block Lot 5, Section 6115 of Valhalla Memorial Park, within shouting distance of the SCGS Jamboree in Burbank, California.

    I didn't think Lillian would have known much about E.B.'s family, and I was right about that too. His death certificate gives the following information:

    Elizphas B. Kinsel [first name misspelled, should be Eliphaz]

    Died 1324 West 5th St, Los Angeles

    Date of death

    Date of birth



    Occupation - RR Conductor

    Birthplace - Penn

    Father - Mr. Kinsel, birthplace "unk"

    Mother - "unk," birthplace "unk"

    death caused by stroke, three attacks, first 11 December 1932

    What did I learn?

    1. Lillian didn't know E.B. very well. She couldn't even spell his name correctly. (Ok, that might be a transcriber error.) But she knew his birthdate. Hmm… maybe she was nice after all.
    2. Place of death was the same as Lillian's address on the cemetery record, but confirmed that he lived and died at her home.
    3. Date of death was available via the State of Calif database, so this wasn't new information.
    4. Date of birth differs from the information in E.B.'s family Bible by two months. I think the Bible would be more reliable than Lillian..
    5. Spouse, old information. Lillian knew E.B.'s wife, my great-grandmother. I think they may have been related in some way.
    6. Age needs to be adjusted for corrected birthdate.
    7. Occupation railroad conductor isn't new. E.B. worked for the railroad his entire life. We have his conductor's identification cards and paystubs to prove it.
    8. Birthplace also stated in family Bible, and pretty much common family knowledge.
    9. Father's name - in the family Bible, but Lillian didn't know his name.
    10. ditto Mother's name.
    11. Cause of death isn't new either. I have several letters written between Lillian and my grandmother who was living in Kansas relaying information about his state of health after the first stroke in late 1932. My grandmother Arline was upset because she couldn't travel to see him; she was to eight months pregnant with my mother at the time. 
    This official record didn't really give me any new information, but it did confirm other references and give evidence that I had thoroughly checked the available sources. Was it worth $14 to get the "official" record?
    Maybe so. Reading that sad little record makes me very grateful for the many other bits and pieces of family records I have in my home -- from E.B.'s moldy Bible to the the cemetery location cards from visits by previous relatives. And shows me once again, that sometimes those scraps of paper tucked away and saved can hold all kinds of answers to our genealogy questions.


    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    Reader Comments (2)

    And to think, I've been looking forward to reading this post and hoping that you would have found something new too! Oh well... that's the way it happens sometimes.

    I also hate to bring this up (only because you spent your money and had to wait), but hopefully it'll save you time (and most importantly, money)... but FamilySearch has added births and deaths for Los Angeles County just recently. The deaths come as recent as the 1960s. I was able to find some death certificates that I had been wanting to order, but it was a good thing I waited to do so. Now I have them free! :)

    September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Ray

    I think it was worth the purchase, as it helps you develop the story of your great grandfather, and knowing "The other woman" did not know much about him. I love the way you did the write up on your documents. I think I might try this way of presenting instead of the usual abstracting of information. Thank you.

    September 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYvette Porter Moore

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
    Find us on Google+