Death record leads to more questions than answers

+3 votes
I'm near the end of a tedious task of adding 13 children in a family.  Almost all had oodles of records easily available, but the last one is turning out to be a difficult research job, with very few records to be found.

Two census records and a marriage record show her name as Inez, but her death record shows her as Myrtice Inez and only gives the year of her death date - 1949, when she was about 26 years old.  Her husband's death record also shows only the year - also 1949 - and the certificates are numbered sequentially, which suggests that they died together.

I'm wondering what happened - were they victims of a disaster or maybe a car accident or ???  Also, did their infant child (name, gender, and birth/death dates unknown) die with them?
WikiTree profile: Inez Ogburn
in Genealogy Help by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (978k points)

1 Answer

+10 votes
Best answer

The above clipped article has details of their death.

One thing I noticed in your profile was that you wrote that they were married in Alabama City, Etowah County, Alabama. I know that is what's index says, but they have the same city/county for EVERY marriage record in that collection. I think that location is an indexing error, but I can't prove it unless/until I look at the actual images. What I'm doing for marriage records in my own part of the tree which are indexed "Alabama City, Etowah County, Alabama" is just recording that they were married in Alabama until I can view the images or find another source.

by Nelda Spires G2G6 Pilot (458k points)
selected by Linda Peterson
Gaile, I looked on to see if I could find any newspaper stories about their marriage but didn't have any success. I didn't notice before that you actually have a copy of the marriage license. Was that there before and I just overlooked it? Anyway, it was obviously issued in Geneva County. It would be nice, now, to find out who certified the marriage.

I don't know, truly. It just seems so strange to me that so many people were going to Alabama City to get married. I still have about nine couples in my personal database for whom I didn't shorten the location from Alabama City, Etowah County to just the state of Alabama. I think I'll go back through those to see if I can find out anything else about those marriages. If I find out anything which could be relevant to this discussion, I'll let you know.

Oh, goodness, this just gets worse...

My great-aunt was Lessie Ree (Raynor) Bodden Morgan. Her record is the first one I've looked at to compare what FamilySearch had in its index, with what Ancestry has in its index, with what is on the image of the index at Ancestry...

Nothing matches!

FamilySearch index says that her marriage to Clyde Morgan took place on 13 July 1957 in Alabama City, Etowah County, Alabama.

Ancestry index says that her marriage to Clyde Morgan took place on July 1957 (no day given) in Mobile County, Alabama.

The actual image of the index has 22 July 1957 in Marion County, Alabama. (the county code is 49.) (His entry on another page in the index corresponds information-wise to hers, so I have the correct couple.

I looked in the Mobile County Marriage Records database online. It complicates the matter even more. Their database has that the marriage license was issued in that county on 5 Jul 1957.

Four different sources--Three different dates (four if you include the one which didn't give a day)--three different places....

Nelda, the FS index location is one of those "where the heck did they get that??" ones. The license actually says Mobile. (I've attached the image to your great-aunt's profile.)

J, thank you so much for finding and posting this to her profile! How are you able to access these images?

I see a 49 written in next to the word Mobile. I wonder what that 49 signified?

Okay, this is going to sound far-out...I wonder if the county codes used for records such as this one is different than the county codes used for license plates? Maybe we've been assuming they were the same when they were not. That would explain the why the indexer at Ancestry knew 49 was for Mobile County (Mobile's license plate number is 2.)

There's still no explanation as to why FamilySearch connected anything about this record to Etowah County, but it does confirm that I was right to be suspicious of the entries there which say "Alabama City, Etowah County, Alabama" as the event place.

Again, thank you so very much!
Nelda, the image of the marriage license wasn't there when I asked the question.  J added it very shortly after your first answer.

My solution - for now at least - is when I find marriage records at family search that show Etowah when I know the family lived in Geneva for several generations, is the following statement:

Victor married  Edna Warr February 14, 1942, possibly in Alabama City, Etowah, Alabama, United States,<ref name="marriage" />
but more likely in Geneva County, Alabama, United States.

Gaile, that "disclaimer" is a good idea. I think Geneva County is the most likely place for your couple's marriage to have taken place. I'm just sorry we don't know for sure, yet. But, I know between all of us involved in this conversation, we've done our very best to find out.

I figured out the numbering system in that index of marriage records at It's alphabetical. In the index, Mobile County is county code 49 because when you list the counties alphabetically, Mobile is in the 49th position. Geneva County is in the 31st position alphabetically so its county code in that index is 31. So, the numbers on the images in the Alabama, Marriage Index, 1800-1969 do NOT correspond to the license plate numbers. I think it would have been helpful for to have had this little tidbit of information available in the first place.

Nelda, everywhere I looked for information on county codes says that the code system started in 1941 for license plates.  The first 3 were based on population and the rest followed alphabetically.  Even though populations changed, the code system did not.  You made an interesting discovery and it makes sense, so perhaps the code system for marriages was strictly alphabetical all along.  The Ancestry index for Inez Wilson stated Geneva and the county code on the image sheet was 31 which fits your alphabetical discovery.  I'm sorry I confused things with the license plate information, but there is literally nothing on the internet about county codes specifically for marriages in Alabama and I assumed that the code system was for all records in the state.
Nelda (and Gaile): for the images, I use Windows freeware written by a Hungarian genealogist in Germany. Message me if you want to try it and I'll find the download link. (The interface is all in Hungarian, but I can help you with that.) It doesn't work for everything, but anything's better than the nothing we'd otherwise currently have.
Lauren, I assumed exactly the same thing--that the "county codes" in that index were the same as the license plate codes. I was going to post what you did only you did it first. It was only yesterday when I realized the county code for my great-aunt was way off and began to check some of the other names on that same index page that the alphabetical=numerical pattern emerged. Not only was the code for the marriage not on the internet--it wasn't on Ancestry's description of the index and it hasn't been anywhere in the index itself that I've looked. When the description said "county codes" my mind went automatically to the license plate numbering system, just as yours had.
Nelda - well, as they say, great minds think alike and then the record makers/keepers throw a monkey wrench into an already hair-pulling hobby!  Best wishes to you on your bumpy journey of discovery.  ;-)

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