Death Certificates of Victims


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Charlene Vickers

Guest
I've looked through the archives and don't see the answer to this question: where were the death certificates for the victims issued?
 

Earl Chapman

Member
Jan 2, 2005
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The death certificates were issued in Halifax, Nova Scotia by Dr. W.D. Finn, the provincial coroner and medical examiner. The Canadian government was concerned that Nova Scotian law apply and previous arrangements had been made for Dr. Finn to be on hand at the temporary morgue set up in the Mayflower Curling Rink. This arrangement allowed Dr. Finn to issue death certificates without the need for a full and formal inquest. He was assisted by J.H. Barnstead, duputy registrar of deaths, who made out the necessary burial permits.

Earl Chapman
Montreal, Canada
 
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Charlene Vickers

Guest
Thank you. I had wondered if the coroner had been a federal appointee at the time (before the Treaty of Westminster in 1931).

How about those who were not recovered? Were those victims' deaths registered in their home jurisdictions (or their residence at the time of death), or were they issued by the British government, since Queenstown was the last port of call? Or again, was the onus put upon the overworked (and still overworked, unfortunately) provincial coroner of N.S.?

And does anybody know the waiting time, if any, before relatives could apply for a death certificate? I know now that it's one year in Canada for both Vital Stats and most insurance companies. But what would have it been in this case, where a death occurred in international waters in 1912?

Thank you
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Hello All, Am I correct in thinking that death certificates are not available for those people drowned at sea, and whose bodies are not found?
It must make life very difficult for the relatives.
 
Apr 16, 2001
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Hi Geoff,

Good question. I heard that some death certificates were issued to those victims who were not found. Source? I have no idea since I have never seen one.

I would imagine that several relatives had a difficult time in settling the affairs of their loved ones without this documentation. Case in point. Mrs. Penasco could not inherit her husband's estate because their was neither a body nor a death certificate to confirm that he was deceased. Spanish law required this certification for an estate to be settled. The family was furious and despite numerous attempts to have the matter handled legally, they met a dead end. No problem. The Penasco family contacted the Spanish Consulate in Halifax, money changed hands secretly, and a death certificate suddenly appeared from Nova Scotia claiming that Victor Penasco's body had been found and was buried in Canada. Of course, this was not so but at least Mrs. Penasco was able to access her husband's estate.

Mike
 

Mike Herbold

Member
Feb 13, 2001
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Leo Marriott's book "Titanic" has photos of some of the first, second, and third class Death Certificates on pages 131-134.

Listed on the first class list, for example, are the Allison's, Thomas Andrews, J.J. Astor, Quigg Baxter, Archibald Butt, etc. Date of death for all, of course, is April 15, 1912. The place of death is listed as "about 41-16 Lat., 50-14 Long." and the cause of death for all of them is "drowning."

Some of the information is rather interesting. On the second and third class death certificate, the "Last place of Abode" is usually a city or country. But on the first class certificate, a hotel is usually given. So, J.J. Astor's is Hotel Ritz, Paris; Baxter's is the Elysee Palace Hotel, Paris; Thomas Beattie's is Hotel Majestic, Nice.
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
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In Britain it was possible to get a death certified by a court. This happened in the case of Thomas Parnham Franklin. The executor of his estate obtained affidavits that stated that he had sent two letters from Titanic via Queenstown. Bruce Ismay swore that he was on the passenger list and was not on the list of survivors. His life insurance company did not oppose the application and he was certified dead.

Such commonsense was not always seen. See the sorry tale of Mrs Cardeza on this site.
 

Ben Holme

Member
Feb 11, 2001
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Thanks for that, Dave.

Fannklin is one of the few fist class passengers I know incredibly little about. I was interested to read about those Queenstown letters. I wonder where they're lurking now...

May I ask where you managed to dig up this info?

Best Regards,
Ben
 
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Megan Junghanns

Guest
Was there ever a death certificate issued for Clarence Moore? If there was, where would it be located(Nova Scotia?)? How would I go about contacting someone in NS that would have a copy on file?
Thanks
 
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Russell Ridout

Guest
I'm researching Second Class Steward William Ridout who died in the sinking. I was told at the Family Records Centre in London that no Death Certificates were available as the Captain was lost with the Titanic. However, reading the previous posts in this thread, it looks as though some at least were issued, but perhaps not in England. Can anyone clarify please? I would like to complete William's branch on my tree if at all possible.
Many thanks.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
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Since Mr Ridout's body was never found, no standard death certificate would have been available from any source. It was possible to obtain documentary proof of death through application to a court in England, but this was not a simple process and not likely to be pursued unless evidence was needed to settle something like a high value insurance claim or the inheritance of substantial property. This was probably not the case for Mr Ridout's family. The death certificates which were issued, incidentally, gave the cause of death always as drowning, even though most of the recovered victims had died from hypothermia.
 
Feb 28, 2006
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Hi To All,

I am trying to find out any information on a KATE LUNT. Her surname could also have been either any of the following:
PUGH
SPEEDY
SPEDDY

She was born sometime between the years of 1885 -1895. She was born in Edge Green/Malpas or Tilston in the area of Cheshire in England. She was on the Titanic to become a nurse in America. This is all I know about her, if anyone can help me, I would be so grateful.

Many thanks,
Pauline.
 
Jul 22, 2001
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kent uk
Hi Pauline

There is a Catherine Pugh born 1887 at Wallsey, cheshire (which is only about 30 miles from the areas you gave). She appears to be the daughter of Elizabeth Esther and Owen Edmund Pugh. Not a perfect fit but about the only one I can find! This is from the 1901 UK census index. The 1901 census is the most recent available census to us at the moment. Us family historians are biting our nails waiting for the 1911 (what there is of it) to become available in 2012. If you want to chase this link up you will have to have a look at the 1901 entry in full via www.1901census.nationalarchives.gov.uk or Ancestry.com and then buy her birth certificate if you think this is your girl. There are some websites that give details of british nurses in the early 1900's, you may be able to trace her through her training records. What have you got on her already? Where have you found the alternative surnames?
 

Gina Wheeler

Member
May 31, 2007
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Hi
i am new to the board so hello to everyone. It has recently come to light during my family research that my father is related to Thomas Joseph Fay, a greaser on the Titanic. I understand that his body may not have been identified. Would there have been a death certificate issued and if so where can i obtain a copy?

regards

ginag
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
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Hallo Gina, and welcome to the forum. A death certificate is a legal document which gives precise details of the cause of death, after assessment by a physician. Obviously this cannot be done if the body is not available for examination, and I'm afraid that was the case with Thomas Fay.

Relatives of crew members lost at sea, however, could apply for a 'Certified Extract Relating to the Supposed Death of a Seaman', an official document which basically stated that the person in question was 'missing, believed dead.' You can see one of these here:

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/item/2261/

Any surviving records of this kind would be held at the National Archives (Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen).
 

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