Follow-up to: Help locating DC for highway fatality in central US in 1956 #general
Hi, fellow genners,
I wanted to summarize all the good advise that was given to me over the last
five days since I posted a request for help regarding the unfortunate highway
death of my mother’s cousin. I want to thank everyone who responded. I hope
that I thanked you all individually but please accept this public thanks, just
in case I let an e-mail slip by.
My cousins lived in the Bronx - at least up until the time of Madelyn’s death.
They moved to New Jersey after her death, possibly to get away >from things that
reminded them of her.
The odds are against Madelyn having a Social Security number as it was the
mid-1950s, she was female, still a student and had never worked.
There was a local Bronx newspaper, the Bronx Home News. Although not applicable
to my research, I thought that others might want to contact the Bronx Historical
Society, which has a full set of The Bronx Home News newspaper on microfilm
[>from 1907 through 1948] by mail, including a SASE in case they do turn up an
article for you.
If I can figure out the NYC high school that Madelyn attended, I can try to get
a hold of her school records or a school yearbook or something with a
notation about her death.
Interstate 80 was not fully completed until the early 1970s. I could have
googled for information about the interstate as well as state roads and
turnpikes with sites such as:
After reviewing maps >from the 1950’s –1960’s, I can make a best guess as to the
probable route the couple would have taken and write to local newspapers or
research archives or libraries to see if I can get someone to check for a
write-up in the local papers about the accident. >from the New York area that
would possibly start with Route 22 through New Jersey to Harrisburg, then the
Pennsylvania Turnpike to the Ohio Turnpike to Indiana. However, I probably will
work >from the middle [Ohio] out toward the ends.
If a death was, in fact, a highway fatality, one can call/write to the Highway
Patrol [in Ohio] at www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/ or 1-877-7-PATROL. I emailed
them. The response: The Highway Patrol retains Crash Reports for only 5 years.
I checked many of the databases linked by that *Connecticut-based* genealogy
library, but didn’t find anything regarding this particular search.
Both Connecticut and Maryland are closer to New York [than Nevada] and both
may have offered quick marriages. Perhaps the accident didn’t occur ‘on the
way to Reno.’ In fact, I will try to find out the marriage requirements of
about 8-10 states near New York or on the way to Ohio that were applicable at
I can check in the County Surrogate’s Court to see if there was a negligence
proceeding or a wrongful death action. If there was an insurance settlement,
there may have been paperwork >from an administrator or executor for the estate.
I can check the NYPL for the death indices to see if there’s one of those dummy
death certificates with a code for the state in which the death occurred,
instead of a death certificate number used for purposes of a burial transit
document, for a NYC funeral. However, if due to the shame of the situation,
her mother or boyfriend reported the death using *his* surname as Madelyn's
‘legal’ surname –implying that they were already married – I’ve no idea what to
do. Without the accident report or the death certificate, I can’t see how I
could learn his name.
Lastly, it was suggested that I just pay the Ohio Department of Health $16.50
and let them search their database since I know the name of the decedent, the
parent’s names and the date of death [and I am a 2nd cousin, once removed]. If
the record’s not in Ohio, I can just move the methodology on to the next possible
state. Really, that would be a well spent $16.50.
FYI, in the metropolitan NYC/NJ area, I have checked with the following
cemeteries and have come up empty handed:
Cedar Park-Beth El [where mother & step-father are buried], Mt. Hebron
[where maternal grandparents are buried], and Beth David, Beth Israel – Cedar
Knolls, Beth Israel Memorial Park, Baron Hirsch, Maimonides-Elmont,
Maimonides-Jamaica, Mt. Carmel, Mt. Hope, Mt. Judah, Mt. Lebanon, Mt. Neboh,
Mt. Zion, Montefiore, New Montefiore, United Hebrew and Washington. We believe
that she was buried in New Jersey so I’m not bothering with Westchester
cemeteries at all.
Thanks again for all your support and suggestions,
San Francisco, CA