Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Marit's Death Certificate

In early November, I shared my Death Causes Pedigree Chart on my blog. There were quite a few "Unknowns" on that chart. Since publishing that blog post, I ordered three death certificates from the Minnesota Historical Society. They have a Death Certificates Index online. It was so easy to search for my ancestors and order their death certificates.

Two of the death certificates I ordered have helped me replace the "Unknowns" with a cause of death in my pedigree chart.

The death certificate I'm sharing today doesn't replace an "Unknown" on my Death Causes Pedigree Chart because this ancestor is a generation back from what is shown on the pedigree chart.

This death certificate is quite unusual. At least, to me. I don't recall ever seeing one like it before. Thankfully, the Minnesota Historical Society included an Example of a Non-Pre-Printed Card (1905-1907). It explains the information contained in the death certificate.

Marit (Thorsdatter) Iverson's Death Certificate

This death certificate is for my 2nd great-grandmother, Marit (Thorsdatter) Iverson. She was married to my 2nd great-grandfather, Iver Iverson. I wrote a blog post about Iver. He served in the U.S. Civil War. Here's a link to that blog post if you'd like to read it ~ Military Monday ~ Iver Iverson – A U.S. Civil War Soldier from Norway.

Thanks to the Example of a Non-Pre-Printed Card (1905-1907) below, I was able to decipher Marit's death certificate.

Information gleaned from Marit's Death Certificate:

  • Name – Marit Iverson (she went by Mary in America)
  • Date of Death – October 8, 1905
  • Place of Death – Chippewa Falls, Pope, Minnesota
  • Cause of Death – Asthma
  • Sex – Female
  • Race – White
  • Marital Status – Widow
  • Father's Name – Thor Rye
  • Mother's Name – Marit Rye
  • Age at Death – 70
  • Place of Birth – Norway
  • Father's Place of Birth – Norway
  • Mother's Place of Birth – Norway

Example of a Non-Pre-Printed Card (1905-1907)

Marit's cause of death was asthma. I didn't know she had asthma. I am quite intrigued by this finding. Why? Because I also suffer from asthma. I had it as a child, but seemed to grow out of it. Then sometime in my early 40s, it returned. I use asthma meds to keep it under control.

Is asthma an inherited disease? According to WebMD, it is. I found an article about the risk factors for Asthma in the Asthma Health Center on WebMD . Regarding Family History and Asthma, the following was stated,
"Blame Mom or Dad or both for your asthma. Your inherited genetic makeup predisposes you to having asthma. In fact, it's thought that three-fifths of all asthma cases are hereditary. According to a CDC report, if a person has a parent with asthma, he or she is three to six times more likely to develop asthma than someone who does not have a parent with asthma."

Marit is an ancestor on my paternal side. On my maternal side, I have found another ancestor who suffered from asthma. My maternal 2nd great-grandfather, Ebenezer Perry Carlisle Webster was discharged from service in the U.S. Civil War due to "asthma of long standing."

Another interesting fact in Marit's death certificate is that Rye was listed as the surname of Marit's parents. Her father's surname was actually Toreson according to my records. The name of "Rye" is actually the name of the farm in Norway that the family came from. I also don't understand why Marit's mother was listed as Marit. My records indicate her mother's name was Rangdi Nilsdatter. Perhaps someone made a mistake on the certificate.

It's amazing how much information I was able to glean from what appeared to be a rather sparse death certificate for Marit.

Thanks for reading!


© 2013 Copyright by Jana Last


  1. Your post reminds me of something that will haunt me forever just as I know it will haunt future genealogists. When my mother died in May, I was the informant for the death certificate - my brother and sister were only too happy to turn that duty over to me since I was in the know. But when I received her death certificate back, her mother's maiden name was listed as Fitgerald (no Z) rather than Fitzgerald. I decided to just leave it as I figured it would be quite complicated to get it changed. But I'll always be haunted thinking of someone 100 years ago trying to figure it out.

    1. Hi Debi,

      Uh oh! Well, we all make mistakes. Somehow, my maiden name was not correct on one of my own children's birth certificate. It wasn't a spelling error. They had put my occupation (homemaker) as my maiden name. Really? So, we went through the process of fixing the birth certificate. Unfortunately, when I do a search on Ancestry.com, the results for that child still have the incorrect maiden name listed. Ugh!

  2. Wow, I've never seen anything like it either, but I have been to the Minnesota History center and even got copies of Death Certificates while I was there! Nothing that old though. My oldest was from the 1930's. It's wonderful too, the help that you can get from those working there too!

    1. Hi Karen,

      Wow! You've been to the Minnesota Historical Center? How fun! I don't live close by. I'm so grateful for their wonderful website. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. What an interesting death certificate, Jana. How kind of them to send a "map" to explain everything. If you don't already know her birth date I suspect the age of "70_0_14" is 70 years, 0 months, and 14 days. I suppose that would be an assumption, though. I think Marit is a beautiful name. I'm sorry she chose Mary instead.

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Yes, I'm very glad they sent the "map" to help me understand this death certificate. I suspect that "70_0_14" does equal 70 years, 0 months, and 14 days as well. Marit was born on September 20, 1835 according to my records, so that would translate into "70_0_18." So, either my records are off by four days, or the death certificate is off by four days. And yes, Marit is a very pretty name. =)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Very interesting death certificate! I have a few I should order from Minnesota as well, thanks for sharing. I hope if I have a death certificate come back as yours did, they will share how to read it too! If not, I'll be back! ;-)

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      I love how easy it is to order death certificates from the Minnesota Historical Society's website. Good luck with your research and thanks for stopping by! =)




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...