Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I Found Sweet Edna Lillie Webster's Death Record

This is a photo of sweet little Edna Lillie Webster, one of my maternal grandfather's sisters. My grandfather, Debs Warren Webster, and his oldest sister Carlota Adelia Webster were the only children of my great-grandparents, Watson (Frederick) Emory Webster and Esther Matus Villatoro to survive to adulthood.

Sadly, Edna Lillie and two of her younger siblings, Eugene and Alice, passed away as children.

For the longest time, I didn't know exactly when or where Edna Lillie passed away. Her father, a.k.a. "The Traveling Dentist" here on my blog, traveled between the United States, Mexico, and Brazil during his life. Edna could have passed away in any of those countries, but I didn't know which one.

That all changed when I found Edna's death record on

It turns out that Edna passed away in Pénjamo, Guanajuato, México. This document is in Spanish. Unfortunately, I don't read or speak Spanish, but I have done family history research for my Mexican ancestors before and can understand a bit. Plus, I can use Google Translate to help me. Edna's death record contains a lot of valuable information.

Information gleaned from Edna's death record:

Name: Edna Lillie Webster
Death Registration Date: 28 February 1924
Death Registration Place: Pénjamo, Guanajuato, México
Edna's Age: 11 years old
Edna's Cause of Death: Gastroenteritis
Edna's Place of Birth: Santos, Brazil
Father's Name: Doctor Frederick Emory Webster
Father's Age: 70 years old
Father's Occupation: Dentist from the United States of America
Mother: Esther Matus (deceased)

My Grandpa Debs loved his sister Edna Lillie. It must have been devastating to him when she passed away. He endured quite a bit of heartache in his life. His mother passed away when he was only 5 years old and three of his four siblings didn't survive to adulthood. His first wife, Sarah (my grandmother), passed away when my mom was almost 4 years old, leaving him a widower with a small child.

The photo of Edna at the top of this post was taken sometime between January - April 1922 in Brinkley, Monroe, Arkansas when she was 9 years old, only 2 years before her death. It's cropped from the photo below.

Photo Above (Left to Right): Debs Warren Webster, Carlota Adelia Webster, Watson (Frederick) Emory Webster, Edna Lillie Webster. January - April 1922 in Brinkley, Monroe, Arkansas.

I'm grateful that we finally know when and where little Edna Lillie passed away, and that we know her cause of death.

Thanks for stopping by!


© 2016 Copyright by Jana Iverson Last, All Rights Reserved

1 "Guanajuato, Mexico, Civil Registration Deaths, 1862-1930," database with images, ( : accessed  31 October 2015), entry for Edna Lillie Webster, 28 Feb 1924; No. 107; citing Archivo General del Registro Civil del Estado de Guanajuato, México.


  1. Jana - I'm so glad you found the record for little Edna. And isn't it wonderful that you have a photo of her. It's always important to me too, to locate death records for everyone, especially the young ones. My mother's oldest sister died at age 13 of nephritis. Took me several years to locate her record. My Mom was born 4 yrs later and never met her. However, we have lots of photos. Thanks for sharing Edna's story.

    1. Hi Diane,

      Yes, it's really wonderful to have photos of little Edna Lillie. It's great that you have photos of your mom's oldest sister too. Oh, how tragic that she passed away at such a young age. Poor thing!

  2. She should not have died from gastroenteritis. It must have been REALLY severe. Very sad indeed.

    1. Yes, it was so tragic and sad. It is rather surprising that she died from gastroenteritis. As you said, it must have been a very severe case.

  3. She sure was a cute little girl. I'm so glad you finally found out where she died and what she died of, but it is sure sad.

    1. I agree. She was such a little cutie. And I'm really glad to finally have the information about her date, place and cause of death.

  4. How nice you found that record. The indexing of the Mexico Civil registrations have been so helpful to find people in towns and at times you wouldn't expect. I even found my grandmother's birth registration 17 years after her birth (adding more questions than answers to my question of where she was born.). I am sure you are as grateful as I for those records being indexed.

    1. Oh yes! I am so grateful that these records were indexed! It's great that you found your grandmother's birth registration. It's very interesting that it was from 17 years after her birth. Wow!

  5. How lovely you have that photo to remember her by. But so sad that she died so young. Thanks for sharing her story. I'm so glad you were able to find that document that gave you the answer you needed.

    1. Oh yes, it's wonderful to have this and other photos of little Edna. Thank you for your kind comments!




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