There’s A Mystery Afoot

magnifying glass     Had to break out the magnifying glass on this one, folks! I recently decided to revisit my relatives in my Jackson/Hamn tree on Ancestry, because you kow, that’s what I do. Plus, the dead really have been quite silent these last few weeks.

Anywho, there I was excited because there were a ton of NEW LEAVES!!! I love new leaves, they make it so easy for the dead to start coversations with me- or maybe, they make my ears more in tune to their chattering. Whatever the case may be, it is safe to say I was estatic and I happily began checking out the leaves, not even caring if anyone talked to me or not.

And wouldn’t you know it? Someone started talkig to me almost immediately! Roxanne Tyler flagged me down with her death cerificate. Roxy, as she was called while living, was born in 1859 to Gabriel and Martha Tyler and she is my third great aunt. The Tyler name may sound familiar to you because, they’ve been rather chatty this year ad her brother and nephew were featured earlier in He Was The Son of a Preacher Man…

This is all mundane information and I am sure you are wondering why I was calling the mystery squad, right? Well, here is the thing… She was 51 years old when she died in 1933.

Here’s a copy of her death certificate and a copy of the 1870 Census- I’ll wait while you do the math…


It didn’t add up for me either. At first, I was confused as how someone could just magically drop twenty-three years off with no one noticing- I mean if that’s the case, then I would like to be 25, please and thank you.

But that isn’t how life works, is it?

I started meticulously reviewing all of the information I had on Ms. Roxy, trying to identify the point in her life when she shaved all those years off. I figured this woud be done most easily in the census records, because they were notorious for errors or jotting down whatever they felt like… No such luck. Each subsequent census shows her age with only a slight variance in her age, ranging from a year to three year difference, but not the twenty plus, I was looking for. Not to mention that the final census she is found in, has her at seventy years old.

Her marriage record indicates she was twenty-three when she married Mr. James Morton on July 25, 1883. Here, her birth year is 1860. So, again, not enough of a difference to cause any alarm or concern.

This is about the time that Roxy stopped talking to me and I was really wishing the Mystery Squad would hurry up and answer the call I had put out.

While I was waiting, I began to ponder how a body would behave if it was twenty years older than what you were telling people it was… I mean mind over matter goes a long way, but is it really possible to convince a body to act and behave as a younger body- if you just convince your mind to believe it? Again, if that’s the case, then I believe with all my might that I am twenty-five… I wonder how long it will be before everything else falls into place? 😉

This was getting me absolutely no where and my brain was starting to hurt from all the work of thinking… I decided to take one more look at the death certificate. Naturally, Roxxy started whispering sweet nothings in my ear, again. I looked over and over the death certification looking for clues and I was continuously drawn to the informant; Ada Morton Mercer, aka, the daughter of Roxy Tyler Morton. How in he world does an adult child not know how old her parent is? This was difficult to fathom, because my own children, excepting the toddler, know how old I am and have known this information since they were in elementary school. Am I the lone parent that encourages her children to know things about her other than ‘I am called mom’? I hardly think I am.

Ada Mercer. Why did Roxy keep directing me to her? I could not figure it out. I guess Roxy was getting frustrated with me, because the next thing I know, she was seemingly screaming at me, “do the math dummy!” (Yeah, my dead people can be a bit harsh when you aren’t moving fast enough to their liking…)

I can imagine that Ada was very distraught over loosing her mother and may have even been a bit tired, exhausted or even depressed, which is why when the form asked for the age of the deceased, she listed her own age, 51, in response.

Yep. Roxy was getting me all worked up over her daughter. I haven’t had a chance to dig in and see what’s going on over there, but when I do, I will be sure to let you all know!

Have you come across a for or other document that contained wrong information? How did you go about finding the correct info? Once you found the right stuff, did you make any effort to get the wrong things changed? Why or why not? For me, I think I will just make a note on Roxanne in my tree and leave it at that. I don’t think it would be worth it to get the information changed anywhere else.

I can’t wait to hear about how the wrong info has affected you in your searching! And like always, please share, share, share! I’m not picky, so I won’t tur away your likes and comments, either!


  1. Amy · December 20, 2017

    I love how you present your stories—they make me chuckle! And yes, I have seen terrible mistakes on death certificates. On one, the informant put the spouse’s name where it asked for the mother’s name. That threw me off the trail for a while. I’ve been reminded by others many times that the informants are usually grief-stricken and not focused on a silly form and its questions. It’s too bad because those certificates can be so helpful, but I will always read them with a questioning eye.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dvn ms kmz time travel · December 20, 2017

      It actually wasn’t until I came across this that I correlated people being grief stricken and having to complete this form… What a time for a lack of empathy, huh? Thank you so much for reading and I am really glad you are enjoying my time travel adventures, because I am having a blast sharing them with you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda L Schreiber · December 20, 2017

    All true. Grieving, exhausted, shaken.
    And I suspect that the clerk asking the questions doesn’t help with this….
    I very much doubt that he said “And how old was your mother, my dear?” Instead, he probably just said “age?”
    My father’s death cert shows him with my brother’s middle name. Same reason! Clerk just said “Middle name?” He didn’t even realize what he had said. He was on auto-pilot 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • dvn ms kmz time travel · December 21, 2017

      I didn’t even realize that it wasn’t the people themselves completing these forms, but rather a clerk asking the questions and writing in the responses… It’s amazing the things you don’t think about, as a family historian/genealogist, until it is thrown, point blank into your face…


  3. Laurie Velett · December 21, 2017

    I have found this with maiden names and birthplace. Again, the info on the DC was correct for the informant, rather than for the deceased. Probably better than the ubiquitous “unknown”, which gets me absolutely nowhere!

    Liked by 1 person

    • dvn ms kmz time travel · December 21, 2017

      I never even thought of associating the unknown answer with this type of emotional response… Everyone’s responses are making want to take another lookie-loo at all the death certs in my tree…🤔 Thanks so much for reading!


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