There is just no substitute for paper in the hand.

As I have blogged before, I now have the death certificates of my GGGG grandparents.  I always print these types of documents out, for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I do like to look at them from time to time, must be the nostalga in me.  Secondly, there are things I just seem to miss when I look at them digitally.

By printing them out, I can use a highlighter and go through each and every piece of information, record it and follow it up.  Lets look at my GGGG grandmothers death certificate as an example:
  • The registration district is Isle of Thanet.  This intrigued me, and I looked up what it meant, as they lived in Ramsgate, not on a seperate island.  Wikipedia told me it was once an island, seperated by a river, but has not since the 1400's.
  • 1849 was confirmed as the year of her death, so that changed in my information as I had it wrong.
  • I found her address as Wellington Row.   This led me to look for a map of Kent in the 1800's.  A google search sent me to a free maps site    Here I found a map of the Isle of Thanet in the 1800's. II  could not find the street or 'row' I was after, but it was very interesting information anyway.
  • Her age at death confirmed the birth date I had, so that was great information.
  • Occupation was most interesting - wife of John Clark builder .  So I had confirmation of my GGGG grandfathers occupation.  This lead me to RootsWeb to post a question about how to find information about the builders of that time.  I have already had a question in reply, and will let you know how I go!
  • She died of Rheumatic Fever, which she had for 10 weeks. A little research led me to the fact that in the early 1800's there was an outbreak and epidemic of Scarlet Fever, which let to Rheumatic fever as a complication.  This is likely what happened, as she had if for some time, and it was highly contagious.
A little help from a magnifying glass was needed, as some of the writing is a little difficult to read, but now I feel I know a little more about Mrs Clark, and by highlighting the bits I have researched, I wont go over them again at a later date.  The digital copies are saved in my legacy program, so it wont be lost.

I do think its worth printing this type of document, and going through this process, you never know what you may learn.

So here is a task for you.
  • Go through your saved documents that you have not printed - print them all off and put into plastic sleeves in a folder - in order so you know who they are referring to.
  • Take each one and highlight the inforamtion on it, check you have it recorded correctly.
  • Do a bit of research on the interesting bits.
  • Hope you enjoy it - and good luck

Here is the historical map of Kent.


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