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View Diary: GFHC Open Thread: Carole Ann Beckett, 1941 - 2012 (115 comments)

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  •  Katherine Montgomery (b. 1902, d. 1924?) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    klompendanser, Jim H

    This has been an interesting week.

    I basically ran up into a brick wall researching my aunt Katherine.

    I'm looking for an obit for my aunt Katherine, born in Kansas in May 1903, grew up in San Diego, graduated Stanford Univ. (Jun '24) and died sometime before Aug. '26.

    Her ashes were interred in Greenwood Cemetery, San Diego, Aug. 6, 1926. Mother: Miller (Maddox) Montgomery. Father: S.N. Montgomery.

    She's not in the CA-death index under Montgomery and I checked all the alternate spellings of her first name. I called Santa Clara County and they have no record of her death in spite of the fact that my mother told me that she died within a week of graduating.

    Katherine's martial status is uncertain but I thought she was single at the time of her death--at least I never heard about a marriage, but then I heard next to nothing about my aunt Katherine. So, place and date of death are unknown.

    Her father S.N. Montgomery was principal of Sherman High School in San Diego and her mother was a teacher at San Diego High School. So it seems likely that she might have died in San Diego County. So I mailed a query to the San Diego Genealogical Society this afternoon asking them to check the vital records and for an obit.

    Since she's not in the CA-death-index under Montgomery it seems likely that she either married shortly before her death or she died out of state.

    If SDGS draws a blank I just don't know what to do next.

    I have this young woman's diploma from Stanford University and to my mind that's just pretty amazing. This was only a decade or so after Stanford was founded and there were only a handful of female students.

    Katherine died 22 years before I was even born which I find very sad because I would have absolutely loved having her in my life.

    Does anyone have any ideas?

    Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

    by Mr Robert on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 07:30:01 PM PST

    •  Correction... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      klompendanser, Jim H

      Katherine was born in early May 1903.

      Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

      by Mr Robert on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 08:12:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  frustrating ! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, Jim H

      I ran into brick walls with obtaining death certificates of a set of g-grandparents who were buried in a county other than the one they lived in, and unbeknownst to me g-grandma had remarried several years after her widowhood ... it took forever to get their death certificates!

      I'm not as familiar with CA records, but one idea off the top of my head is what about the Stanford U alumni office ... maybe someone was keeping track of those early students ... especially if a classmate had died so soon after graduating. Or maybe the school newspaper would have made a note of such a sad event.

      In Wisconsin, they have a lot of obit indicies strategically/regionally available at the libraries/archives at the land grant university campuses (w/four year program) ... and they've been invaluable in searching out obits for me long distance. I just have to keep in mind that the campus physically nearest the cemetary might not be the one that covers the county where the death actually took place. Grrr.

      Be sure to post again in tomorrow's open thread (or I will try to remember to link back to the question) -- there are a number of west coast researchers that may have other ideas.

      "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

      by klompendanser on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 11:27:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My father died in 1980 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        klompendanser, Jim H

        and I recently acquired his old files and photos. My sister received them at the time of his death and when she died they passed to my niece who was ready to toss everything out. Fortunately, I visited her right after Christmas and rescued them.

        There were a number of obits and death/birth certificates in his files. Sadly, there was no death certificate or obit for Katherine, but he did have a little notebook that was provided by the funeral home and completed at the time of his mother's death.

        According to the notebook, father's mother, Miller, died in San Diego in 1950 and the notebook listed the name of the cemetery and the niche: Greenwood Cemetary Columbarium, Room 2, Niche 167, Grant 180. Furthermore, there was a note stating: "In this niche is one other urn containing the ashes of Katherine Montgomery and which was deposited Aug. 6, 1926".

        I also found the original notarized deed of the same date documenting the sale of the niche into which my grandmother placed the ashes of her daughter Katherine.

        My grandfather died in 1920 and my grandmother remarried in November 1925 and apparently she didn't purchase the niche at Greenwood Cemetery until August 1926 because the deed is in the name of Miller Murphy.

        Well, prior to discovering this little notebook I had no idea where my grandmother and aunt were interred. So, I called the cemetery and asked them to confirm that my relatives were actually there.

        The first person I talked to confirmed that I had the correct information and she passed me along to another staff member who agreed to check and see whether the niche could accommodate an additional urn thinking that I might want my ashes to be interred alongside theirs.

        Well, she got back to me and said that all the space was taken by the two urns and there was no more space in the original Columbarium. I asked if there was an plate on the niche that she could photograph and she didn't know, but agreed to get back to me.

        As things stand, I don't know the date/place of death and I'm hoping that something on the niche might give the date of death and her name at the time of death. That would be very helpful, but I'm still waiting to hear back from her.

        I spoke briefly with a professional genealogist about this matter and she told me that my best bet was to contact the cemetery. She insisted that they had to have the records and I suppose she's probably right about that so I have another call into the cemetery and I'm waiting to hear back from them.

        But, can anybody tell me what the laws are concerning this kind of information in the state of California? What, if any, rights do I have to obtain this information? Does HIPPA prevent them from disclosing the information they have?

        Should I expect the cemetery to provide me with the information from their files? How should I go about asking for it? All I really need to know is a date and place of death really.

        Father would have been Katherine's next of kin, but he's dead and my sister is dead, so that leaves me. I'm the last family member who can possibly answer these questions about my Aunt Katherine.

        Any ideas?

        Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

        by Mr Robert on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 01:17:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, I'm no expert but HIPPA is really only (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mr Robert, Jim H

          "supposed" to cover info in medical records/health insurance, etc., but anecdotaly I know there have been problems in getting other sorts of records. In terms of vital records, it affects whether you can get certified copies ... but usually I just check the "uncertified, for genealogy purposes box" on the request forms and have not had problems.

          As far as cemetery records, I've not run into any issues with HIPPA ... usually, I work with the local historical/genealogical societies to see what they have. In the 1930s, one of the WPA projects was to go around and record the info on tombstones, etc., and that became the basis for a lot of the "cemetery" books people talk about. Sometimes, when there are no stones, the historical societies supplement the tombstone info with stuff on lot purchases at the register of deeds offices and with church records ... I don't know columbarium space works, but there must be some sort of equivalent sort of record. Katherine could very possibly be shown in one of those old WPA books.

          While each state is different, I would think that the current owners/keepers of the cemetery would be able and willing to help out, if not the SDGS! There are some counties that even have this info online for free, or at least tell you that they have the books available. The LDS would have copies of a lot of the records ... you could check familysearch.org to see if that cemetery is listed, and you could order the film to look at locally. edwardssl and slksfca are probably the gurus of that process in our group.

          Also, if you get on the message boards for Ancestry/Rootsweb ... going to San Diego Co., you could ask if someone would do a lookup for you at the courthouse. (I've had a fair amount of luck with that.)

          "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

          by klompendanser on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 02:14:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the suggestions (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            klompendanser, Jim H

            I posted a query to the Ancestry forums under San Diego and got a couple of responses from people one who checked the CA-death-index for me on Vital records.

            I also mailed a query and check to SDGS yesterday in hopes that they might turn something up. I should also give them a call and let them know that I have a possible date of death.

            I just left another message for Greenwood Cemetery and I hope that someone calls me back. I know they have some records because when I called a few weeks back they were able to confirm that my aunt Katherine and her mother were interred there.

            The Library of Congress has all the WPA stuff and a lot of it has been scanned--I know the interviews of former slaves is online--so I'll check their web site.

            Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

            by Mr Robert on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 03:00:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Cemetery Records (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            klompendanser, Jim H

            I just got off the phone with the owner of the funeral home who handled my mother's cremation last spring and he says that here in California this kind of thing is pretty loose and the policies vary from cemetery to cemetery.

            He says that since I have the original deed to the niche and can prove that I'm an immediate descendent he doesn't think there should be any problem.

            So we'll see what happens when they call me back.

            Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

            by Mr Robert on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 03:43:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  glad to hear of progress on all fronts :) (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mr Robert, Jim H

              Keep us posted ... this is a group that loves to hear about breaking down the brick walls as well as the process details!

              "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

              by klompendanser on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 05:54:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Just got a date of death from (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        klompendanser, Jim H

        the Stanford Alumni Association!!

        According to their records, Katherine died on May 29, 1925. Unfortunately, they don't have a place of death.

        Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

        by Mr Robert on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 01:54:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  One more thing... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          klompendanser, Jim H

          I just contacted the Stanford University registrar and posted a query on their help system asking if they have a mailing address for Katherine Montgomery. I figure that plus the date of death should lead me to a death certificate.

          Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

          by Mr Robert on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 02:12:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  that is a huge help ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mr Robert, Jim H

          I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!

          "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

          by klompendanser on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 02:25:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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