Sharon R. Korn <s.r.korn@...>
In early July, I posted a query to this forum because I had been
unsuccessful in finding a death certificate for Wilhelmina KORN, a
21-year-old aunt who lived in Manhattan and was believed to have died
somewhere in NYC in 1922. Her death was a mystery in the family, because
different causes had been stated to different relatives. The progress of my
search may offer some useful suggestions for others.
Wilhelmina was not listed in the online NYC death index under her actual
name or any possible misspelling I could think of, and the archives
personnel could not find her death in any borough. The cemetery did not
have the place of death, only her residence address, but claimed its records
would show if the body had come >from somewhere other than NYC. However, I
had also sent for a death certificate >from New York State (just in case)
without success. I received many suggestions, including several which said
I should go to an LDS Family History Center. I finally did that yesterday
and found, much to my surprise and contrary to what I was told by someone
answering the phone there, that my local center had the microfiche on hand,
rather than having to send for it.
One of the people who wrote thought the microfiche would list the deaths
chronologically. For 1922, they were alphabetical, with separate listings
by borough (county). Another person thought the burial date (which I had
from the cemetery) would be no more than two days after the date of death,for a Jew. I have learned there are exceptions to that rule, even with
Jewish burials, and one should not limit a search for a death to just two
days before a burial That person and another also said to ask the archives
if there is a coroner's report. The person I spoke to at the archives said
they didn't keep such reports, but I am not convinced those reports may not
exist in a different department.
Another person suggested I try to get a burial certificate. The cemetery
said they didn't keep those for more than 4 years, and the archives claimed
not to have any. I tried contacting the Temple which owns the section of
Mt. Zion Cemetery where this aunt was buried. They had records of other
burials in the family plot but not this one. The rabbi suggested that
Riverside Funeral Home was a likely one that Jews in the area used at that
time, but it did not have any record of the burial.
Other suggestions had to do with the correct spelling of the aunt's name or
whether she could have been incorrectly listed under a middle or married
name. Neither of these was the case in the cemetery records, as she was
listed by the exact name as we knew her and we do not believe she was ever
married. In fact, I had found a document with her correct birth name dating
to just 3 months before her death.
What I found that seems most promising could have turned up only by looking
at the microfiche. There is a whole category listed alphabetically for each
borough under "unknown." Even now that I know about it, "unknown" does not
turn up by searching either www.stevemorse.org or www.italiangen.org. I
have sent for a death certificate for "Unknown, white woman," age 25 (an
obvious estimate, since her identity was unknown), who died in Manhattan on
July 20, 1922, 10 days before the burial. I have requested any police or
coroner's report available, or the information as to where I can find one.
Because of the apparent lies told about the death, the finding of an
unidentified body seems to be a possibility in this case. Obviously, until
the certificate arrives, I am still guessing.
San Diego, CA