June 22, 2013

Death record for Jessie May (BAKER) SIMMONDS

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I had requested the death record for my 2nd great-grandmother Jessie May BAKER (1873-1927), who was married to Thomas Parker SIMMONDS. She died in Maine, unfortunately... I say "unfortunately" because Maine is unreasonably strict when it comes to releasing vital records. I mentioned in this post that I had gotten a call from the Maine vital records office requesting proof of lineage from Jessie in order to process my request.

Yes... to get a Maine death record from the 1920's, you have to actually submit vital records proving that you are related to the deceased. However, last time I googled my name, there was my [old] address and phone number listed-- right there in the search results, didn't even have to go to the website.

Howe jacked up is our society when people who have been dead since the Coolidge administration have more privacy than the living?


The woman who called me to let me know that proof of lineage was required was very sweet when I called her back to ask her if the records I sent had to be official birth or marriage records. She said that any documents that showed the relationship were sufficient.

Long story short, I sent the documents proving lineage, and received Jessie's death record yesterday.

It was very interesting that, although her marital status is given as married, her husband's name (Thomas Parker SIMMONDS) is not listed. Neither is the name of the informant-- that is, the person who furnished the information on the record.

I was curious as to the identity of the informant because Jessie's mother's maiden name on the record is wrong. Her mother was Hannah Melissa SPECHT (and I have the records to prove it), but on Jessie's death record, Hannah's maiden name is given as "SLATER." I had seen a couple of personal family trees on that listed Hannah with that last name, so this is evidently where that error came from.

It's always good to be reminded that even official vital records can contain incorrect information. Not long ago, I had been practically tearing my hair out looking for Jessie's grandparents John BAKER and Mehitable LEWIS-- the names listed on Jessie's father's death record-- only to discover that Mehitable's maiden name was actually HILTON.

I appreciate the ladies at the Maine Vital Records office taking the time to contact me and process my request... but I have to admit that I'm glad that this is the only ancestor I have who was born/married/deceased in that state.

Ancestral chain:

Jessie May BAKER (1873-1927) m. Thomas Parker SIMMONDS
Estelle May SIMMONDS (1893-1930) m. Horace William HOWES 
Henry Richard HOWES (1913-1987) m. Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father

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