Saturday, August 9, 2014

Death Certificate Analysis–Raymond Lucas

1921 13 Dec Death Raymond LucasMy previous post, Death Certificate-Raymond Lucas, gave my initial observations of this record, but I said I had to do some analysis and a little research before I could definitely (or at least almost definitely) say that this is the death certificate of my great grandfather.

I have done that and with almost certainty, I can say that this is the death certificate of my Great Grandfather, Raymond Lucas. I do not know much about the Lucas family so any find is a giant leap forward. As I find these little tidbits I can start putting together a story of this family and so far the story doesn’t turn out very happy or fun-filled and this death certificate only adds to that. I can’t imagine what the family went through at the time of Raymond’s death. The kids were all still at home, with the oldest, Mary or Marvella, being about 15. I am still not 100% sure of the birthdate of my grandfather, Raymond’s oldest son, Joseph, but everything that I have says that Joseph was born 13 December 1907. This means he would have turned 14 years old the same day that his father died. It is hard enough to lose your father, but to do it at such a young age and on your birthday, I cannot imagine.

Genealogy and the pursuit of my family history is very rewarding and is mostly filled with the joy of the find and the connection I can make with the past. However, sometimes, it is filled with sadness as is the case with my Lucas ancestors, especially with this newest find. After a little more research into some of this family, I’ll have to do a post of all the information I have and lay out the short history I have for them. But before I can do that I have to analyze all my data to ensure of what I have. The first step is to provide my analysis of this death certificate, and that begins now.


State of Michigan
Department of State-Division of Vital Statistics
Certificate of Death

1. Place of Death: Monroe County, Exeter Township, Registered #8

2. Full Name: Raymond Lucas

a. Residence: Carleton, length of residence where death occurred: __yrs 7 mos. __da. How long in U.S if of foreign birth? 19 years __mos.__da.

3. Sex: Male

4. Color or Race: White

5. Single, Married, Widowed or Divorced: Married

a. If married, widowed, or divorced, Husband of (or) wife of: Katie Lucas

6. Date of Birth: 1879

7. Age: 42 years, Months: Don’t Know, Days: [blank]

8. Occupation of Deceased: Farmer

9. Birthplace: Russia

10. Name of Father: Simon Lucas

11. Birthplace of Father: Russia

12. Maiden name of Mother: Don’t Know

13. Birthplace of Mother: Don’t Know

14. Informant and address: Katie Lucas, Carleton, Michigan

15. Filed 12-19, 1921 signed ?? Leiss, registrar

16. Date of Death: Dec 13 1921

17. I hearby certify, that I attended deceased from Dec 10, 1921 to _________, 19__ that I last saw h__ alive on ____________, 19___ and that death occurred on the date stated above at 1130 a.m. the CAUSE OF DEATH was as follows: Tuburculosis. Contributory (secondary) Starvation.

18. Where was disease contracted if not at place of death _______. Did an operation precede death:________ date of __________. Was there an autopsy? ___________. What test confirmed diagnosis? _____________________. Signed Jno?? F Heffernan, M.D. address Carleton, Mich.

19. Place of burial, Cremation, or Removal: Stoney Creek Cemetery. Date of Burial: Dec 15 1921.

20. Undertaker: FE Baker. Address: Carleton

Citation: "Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 08 Aug 2014), Raymond Lucas, 13 Dec 1921; citing Exeter, Monroe, Michigan, United States; 00025; FHL microfilm 001973024.

Description of Source: The source is a photo duplication of the microfilmed death certificates that I received from the photo duplication service. It is a .jpg file in great condition. The entire document is legible minus the actual signatures of the registrar and the doctor (annotated that in my transcription above with question marks). The file seems to be an accurate certificate with no signs of tampering or questionable marks. I have no reason to believe that this would not be a photo duplicate of the original.

Conflicting Information:

Age: I do not have anything that gives Raymond’s actual birth date. The death certificate says he was 42 and born in 1879 (the math adds up). He is shown as 28 yrs old in the 1910 Census[1] which would put his birth abt 1881. In Dec 1912, on his son’s birth certificate he says he is 33 at his last birthday, which would make his year of birth 1879[2]. The 1920[3] Census he is listed as 39 years old which puts him born abt 1880. I do not think Raymond was sure of his exact birthdate, which is not uncommon of immigrants from this era. His wife, the informant, did not even know his exact birthdate. None of the dates are exact but estimations can be made and all are very close and can be of the same person. I cannot discount this record because of the disparity in age when nothing is actually known.

Address/Place of Death: The 1920 Census shows Raymond living in Romulus Township, Wayne County, Michigan.[4] His death, just a year later, occurs in Exeter Township, Monroe County, Michigan and his residence is Carleton, Monroe County, Michigan. The 1930 Census shows his wife, now married to Frank Goodman, living in Exeter Township, Monroe County, Michigan.[5] So, I know that at one point at least his wife and kids moved from Romulus to Exeter. Upon re-examination of the death certificate it says that they were only at their residence for 7 months at the time of his death. This tells me that they moved into their residence in Carleton about May of 1921, which is a year after they were enumerated for the 1920 census in Romulus. I do not have anything that tells me that they definitely moved from Romulus to Exeter Township[6], but the information tells me that it is very feasible.

Wife’s Name: Different sources show the wife’s name as Katherine (1910 Census), Kate (1920 Census), Catherine (Son’s Birth and Baptism Certificates), and Katherine (1930 Census). My mother, her granddaughter, said that she was called Katie. The death certificate shows Raymond’s wife and the informant is Katie Lucas. Katie is a short form of Catherine so all are probably the same person, considering all sources combined.

Corroborating Information:

Birthplace/Origin: There is no source that lists an exact birthplace of Raymond. The 1910 Census has him listed as being born in Aust-Polish. His son’s birth certificate (1912) lists his birthplace as Russia. The 1920 Census says he was born in Poland. Finally, the death certificate says he was born in Russia. In the 1910 Census it says that Katherine, his wife, speaks Polish although Raymond speaks English. My mother remembers Polish being spoken around her grandmother, Katie. Without an exact place of birth for Raymond, I cannot verify the information. However, the two common origins are Russian and Polish. During the time that Raymond was born, there were Polish speaking areas within Russian parts of Europe and Asia. It is very feasible that Raymond was from one of these areas.

Date of Death: There is nothing other than the Death Certificate that gives me Raymond’s date of death. However, I know he was alive in 1920 because he shows up in the Census. Raymond is not in the 1930 Census but his wife shows up remarried to Frank Goodman. Frank is 44 yrs old and says he was married for the first time at age 39, only 5 years before the Census, which would have been abt 1924/25. Making the assumption that this is Frank’s only marriage, this means that Raymond would have died somewhere between 1920 and 1924/25. I further narrowed this down and guessed that his death would have been about 1922 or 23, giving at least a year or two for Katherine to mourn and then marry again. The death certificate gives a date of death in December 1921, which is not exactly my estimation but does fit the scenario.

Final Conclusions: I do not have very much information about Raymond Lucas. When comparing the information that I do have with that reported on the death certificate, no single piece of information is definitive proof that the death certificate is my great grandfather. However, there is no single piece of information that disproves it either. My final conclusion, when taking all the information as a whole, is that the probability is that this death certificate is that of my great grandfather.

Areas for Further Research: Although I am fairly certain that this is the death certificate of my great grandfather, there is still additional research that needs to be done to help bolster my argument.

1. Is there any burial records that may show who was at the funeral. I’ve already contacted the Church which maintains the cemetery where he was buried and they do have burial records. My next trip to Michigan will include a stop at the church to take a look at the records they have.

2. I do not know where Raymond Lucas was born and I need to continue searching for immigration records or any naturalization papers he may have submitted.

3. The 1920 census said that they owned their land in Romulus. I need to search to see if there are any records of this land in their name, either when they bought it or when they sold it and moved to Exeter.

Have I missed anything with this analysis – can you add something that maybe I cannot see through my own bias?

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ for that family.



[1] Year: 1910; Census Place: Northbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts; Roll: T624_629; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 1796; FHL microfilm: 1374642.

[2] County Recorder, "Certificate of Birth (Delayed Registration) for Anthony Lucas" (Registered in Wayne County, Michigan on 12 April 1941).

[3] US Census Bureau, "Fourteenth Census of the United States: 1920-Population, Romulus Township, Wayne County, Michigan, USA" (Library of Michigan, Roll T625-821), ED 781, Sheet 5b, Family 106, Enumerator: Edward Krebs

[4] Ibid

[5] US-Bureau of the Census, "Fifteenth Census of the United States: 1930, Exeter Township, Monroe County, Michigan, USA" (<> copyright© 1998-2003, Inc.), ED 58-12, Supervisor District 17, Sheet 7a, Family 142

[6] Carleton and Exeter Townships are side-by-side in Monroe County.


  1. Hello Chris, I wish I could add something but your research looks very comprehensive to me. I’ve only just begun digging around in the world of family history and obviously have a lot to learn, so I count myself very lucky to be in touch with bloggers such as you. Thank you for taking the time to visit my fledgling blog. Barbara

    1. Barbara, thanks for the comment and the compliment. My research hasn't always been great but after some education and a lot of experience and a lot of mistakes, you learn to put a little more into research and documentation.

  2. You did a nice job of evaluating this death certificate, Chris. I was going to suggest looking for an obituary but Katie probably also supplied the information for it so genealogical information would be the same, though you may find more anecdotal information.

    How sad that Raymond died just before Christmas. That would have been an especially hard Christmas for the family. One of my great-grandfathers died leaving his pregnant widow and 6 children 10 and under. I often wonder how the widows managed.

    Welcome to GeneaBloggers!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Nancy. An obituary for Raymond is on my todo list for when I visit Michigan the next time. I didn't even think about Christmas right around the corner for Raymond's family - I was stuck on his death being the same day as my grandfather's birthday. People persevere and make it through tough times but I don't know how, sometimes.

  3. Here are some plat maps from Romulus / New Boston, 1905 and 1925. I skimmed them for R.Lucas and didn't see anything, but that doesn't mean his land isn't there, and maybe there are other family names to check for (or other maps). The 1925 one has land for an N. Lucus in the upper left hand corner, on Ecorse/Ecorce near intersection of Wayne.



    Here is the present day map of the lower left corner of those Plats,-83.4038623,2574m/data=!3m1!1e3