What would you do?

+7 votes
203 views
We have both the death record and the headstone for this person.....and they are off by exactly one month.

Perfect example of the issue we talk about...what is the REAL record?
WikiTree profile: Pallie Bush
in Genealogy Help by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (707k points)

2 Answers

+10 votes
The death certificate not only says she died in July, but it was also signed and [later] filed in July.

The headstone is wrong.
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (537k points)
And they often are wrong! A family member of mine had the name misspelled but the monument co. offered to take $$ off the price of the stone instead of fixing it, and the name remains. I asked the FAG memorial creator to change the name, but was refused, even though I have docs to back up the correct name. Frustration!

yep, very, very common... I've starting collecting a list of incorrect headstones for my relatives. I have dozens of documented cases. And more I've yet to document. (just in my own family tree alone)

Was fortunate to get the funeral home to correct my father-in-law's headstone at no charge.

Even when carved in stone, it does not mean its correct.

Very punny Dennis.  My great-grandmother's headstone has one year, her death certificate another, and forget about the census.
I agree. The headstone is wrong, for the reasons listed already. I just noted a headstone with the last name spelled wrong even though the grave is right beside her husband with the name spelled correctly. They added an ā€œsā€ at the end of it.
+4 votes
Death certificates can be incorrect as well, though as Dennis points out, it would seem unlikely that both the date on the certificate and the date it was filed would both be incorrect.

One way to get some more information to confirm which date is more likely to be correct, might be to see if you can find which newspaper the cutting is from and on which date it was published?
by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (479k points)
very true... often some of the information on the death certificate is provided by in-laws or close friends who do not know all the facts.

I have a great grandfather whose headstone says 1925, but the newspaper story about his accident ran in 1922.
I wouldn't be surprised if birth info on a death cert was wrong, but do you mean we cannot even trust the death date?

The old Swedish church records that are my main sources contain quite a lot of inexactitudes and outright errors - it usually helps to get to know the parish, or at least the whole family, rather than just dive in for the data of a single person. Since deaths were usually recorded by the same person who performed the burial, date errors are rare - but name errors are quite common with the more absentminded vicars. It is not just the descendants of emigrants who get confused by the patronymic system - there are vicars who mix up Anders Eriksson and Erik Andersson as well.
Sad to say, but I did come across a death certificate from Michigan in the 1930s that had an incorrect death date.  It's pretty rare though.

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