52 Weeks of Genealogical Records - Week 15 - Civil Registration and Certificates

This is week 15 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

The challenge for this week is civil registration and certificates.

My post is going to be a repeat of an earlier post as it's easily the best story I have about certificates.

My great, great grandmother Jane Smith McColm has 2 death certificates. When she died on 22nd January 1888 just 3 weeks after giving birth to her 7th child, Ethel Peel McColm, her husband Malcolm obviously didn't know where to register her death.

Sound strange to you? Jane died at the Railway Yard at Wallangarra on the Queensland-N.S.W. border. (I've just realised that the postcard I purchased a couple of weeks ago, has further meaning.) What did her husband do? He registered her death in both Stanthorpe (Qld) and Tenterfield (N.S.W.)

It is very interesting to compare the two death certificates.

The first one I discovered was the N.S.W. one. This stated that she was 40 years old and came from Wigtownshire in Scotland. Her father, James Fleming, was a druggist and her mother was Jane Milroy. Jane was married to Malcolm McColm and had no children. She died of puerperal fever. I wasn't happy with this certificate. I knew she had children - my great grandmother was one of them. Wigtownshire in Scotland also didn't give me the information I required.

A couple of years later I was browsing the Queensland indexes when I found her death registered again. I ordered the certificate and was delighted. The registrar in Stanthorpe was much more thorough than the one in Tenterfield.

Jane, 33, was born in Stranraer, Wigtownshire, Scotland and she had 7 children, Elizabeth 9, Samuel 8, James 6, Jane 4, Mary 3, and Ethel Peel 5 weeks and 2 days. Ethel's age doesn't tally with the duration of Jane's illness, but the certificate is typed and not a copy.

I am so pleased that Malcolm registered Jane's death twice. The experience left me wondering about the quality of information registered in Tenterfield at that time. A less than diligent Clerk of the Court!