Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Death of Elizabeth Duryea, 1901

After discovering that Elizabeth Duryea, widow of Joseph Henley (born Jones?), remarried to Augustus B Palmer in 1885, locating her death certificate was the next step.

According to her obituary in the Jersey Journal, Elizabeth died on March 4, 1901 in Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey.

Note: is not a free site.

New Jersey death certificates are not online. Death certificates are available on microfilm at the New Jersey State Archives, but are only filed alphabetically from 1904 through 1948. For a death in 1901, there is fortunately an index and it is online.

Using's index of the New Jersey death index, two people named Elizabeth Palmer died in 1901. The image icon next to the entries links to the index, not the certificates.

Below are some of the microfilm rolls at the Archives for New Jersey deaths for the years 1901, 1902, and 1903.

The correct Elizabeth Palmer was death certificate number 3469.

According to her death certificate, Elizabeth was buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Queens, New York. The gravestone does not bear her name. She died of cancer of the breast.

Her parents are listed as Joseph L Scott and Sarah M.

Death certificates are great for finding out the prior generation- except when they aren't.

Elizabeth Duryea was the daughter of Sarah Moffitt (1815-1896) and John H[orton] Duryea. Elizabeth was born in 1836, a year likely accurate because Elizabeth was born after her father died in New York City in April of 1836.

Elizabeth lived her childhood in New York City with her mother's sister, Elizabeth Moffitt (1804-1886), wife of VanRensselaer Terry (1801-1857).

Elizabeth's mother, Sarah Moffitt, remarried to Joseph Scott. Elizabeth never knew her biological father and may have regarded Joseph Scott as her father. Or maybe the person providing the information for the death certificate thought that Joseph Scott was Elizabeth's father.

Elizabeth knew that her biological father was John H Duryea. She provided his name, not the name of Joseph L Scott, when she married Augustus B Palmer in 1885 in Jersey City.

Birth records are best for determining names of parents. Marriage records are good because the two people whose record it is- the marrying couple- provided the information themselves. Death records contain information provided by someone who may not have known the parents of the deceased, making them unreliable without supporting records.

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