Death Date found in a City Directory

Blanchard Project

Sometimes the information you are looking for just doesn’t exist. I had been looking for a death record for Oscar William Utterström and had looked everywhere. Pretty much every death record source and death index source I know about.  No success.  I knew he had died before 1973 as his brother’s obituary said that Oscar had preceded him in death. I also knew he was living during the 1940 Census in Portland, Maine. But, I just don’t feel right about entering a person’s death as “between 1940 and 1973.”  I just had to do better than a 33-year span.

Then I thought I might be able to narrow his death to a year or two by reviewing the City Directories. I used Ancestry, as they seemed to be the most complete, and searched for Oscar Utterstrom. I quickly saw that Oscar was in many of the directories. The most recent one was in 1960. I looked at the directory and found that he owed/paid taxes, but he wasn’t listed in the people part of the directory.  So, I went back to the 1959 directory. He was listed there and the entry had his death date – Dec 2, 1958.  Wow—Question answered by an unlikely source.  I still don’t have a clue why he doesn’t appear in any of my death record sources, but I now have a date for his passing.  With that date, I may be able to find information about his death in the newspapers near his death date the next time I visit the Maine State Library.

Utterstrom entries in the 1959 Portland (Maine)  Directory

During my searching for Oscar’s death, I also found that his sister, Dorothea Christine (Utterstrom) Cassidy passed on 18 Feb 1933. Those two findings filled gaps in my research in the Olaf Utterstrom family of Portland, Maine.





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