By Don Taylor
After completing looking at the census records in a Surname Study, I like to look at Death records, particularly death certificates. They are usually accurate about the death date for an individual. Often, they contain accurate information on the current spouse. Occasionally, they include the names of parents, and least reliable the birthdate of the individual. On birthdates, I think the month and day are usually accurate but the year can be way off.
North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1976
To continue working on my Vinson Study, I decided to search Ancestry.Com’s search All Collections for people surnamed “Vinson” and any event in “Halifax County, North Carolina.” The results included 897 records. Then I selected Birth/Marriage/Death records (476 records), then Death, Burial, Cemetery & Obituaries which brought the number down to 171 records. Finally, I selected “North Carolina Death Certificates 1909-1976,” which yielded 36 records. For this study, I was only interested in white people born before 1880. Ancestry allows you to select for Race, so I decided to enter white. That query which yielded 23 records. Luckily, the results provide the birthdate so I can ignore individuals whose births were after 1880. The result was only 7 Records.
Record = Theodora Garret Vinson – 14 Feb 1859–28 Dec 1918.
I do not have Theodora in my tree or research yet. She was widowed and there is nothing on the record indicating who she was married to. I decided to add her to my tree as an unrelated individual. I’m sure that Theodora will show up elsewhere.
Record = Mortha A Vinson – 25 Mar 1829–10 Nov 1913.
This record is for Martha A. Vinson, (nee Smith). My files had her birth, death, and burial information previously.
Record = Thomas L Vinson – 1854-18 Feb 1923
My records had Thomas L. Vinson’s birth, death, and burial information previously.
Record = William Jaseon Vinson – 1860-1 Apr 1937
My looking at the name suggests to me his name was William Gastin Vinson. I will definately need to find his middle name written elsewhere to feel confident regarding his middle name.
Record = Mrs. Susie Vinson – 18 Aug 1862-23 Oct 1939
The Widow Susie Vinson’s spouse was John Vinson. I have several other John Vinson’s in my records. However, I can’t associate Susie to any of them. As such, I’ve created a new unrelated tree for Susie and John in my database.
Record = Benjamin Hunter Vinson – 20 Feb 1875 – 21 Jul 1966
This record was a treasure trove of information. I learned B. H. Vinson’s name is Benjamin Hunter Vinson. I also learned that his father first name was John; I’ve long had it as J. Robert Vinson. I also learned his mother was Leah Hunter. I also learned the day and month of his birth. For the year, previously, I had his birth year as being between 1873 and 1874. Considering his birthday was in February, that would indicate that earlier census records suggest he was born in 1874, however his death certificate states the birth year of 1875. I’ve decided to split his birth into two separate facts, one in 1874 (based upon census records) and one in 1875 based on his death certificate.
Record = Emmitt Vinson – 19 Feb 1877- 20 May 1972
This record provided more previously unknown information. I learned Emmitt’s birth, death, and burial dates and locations. I also learned his mother’s maiden name, Leah Nicholson Hunter.
Although several of the records I found regarding the Vinson’s in the Death Certificate records didn’t shine any new information onto my tree, however, several other documents helped greatly. Ancestry has many more death records that can be searched; however, they appear to be indexes and not actual documents, so I’ll continue on with my study. Next time, I will look at the marriage records for the Vinson family of Halifax County, North Carolina.