When did Great Grandpa die?
- between the 1860 and 1870 census?
- during the Civil War?
- or afterwards?
Finding a female headed household in the census in 1870 leads to a presumed name of a deceased husband in the 1860 census. Depending on the ages, Civil War records are a good place to begin. After the pertinent Adjustant General Casualty and Death Reports, Newspaper casualty reports, Civil War records and local cemeteries, that leaves indexed books or web sites of local newspapers.
Hypotheses can be made from the birth year of the last child for young and middle aged men. For older men inferences can be made “alive in the 1860 census, gone before the 1870 census, presumed dead or divorced.” Luckily the 1870 census is searchable not only by head of the household but by every name, so you can search the entire country for a man with a particular name, birth date and birth place to see if in fact he did run off and keep his name.
Available issues of historical newspapers can help tremendously, if you broaden your scope. In 1868, in one day, there were twenty mentions of deceased local citizens in a Reading, Berks Co., Pennsylvania newspaper in the news articles, Sales of Real Estate articles, Notice of Auditor advertisements, Court Proceedings articles and Sales of Personal Property listings. However, it took a week’s issues of the same Pennsylvania newspaper to find a combined list of five death notices for Harrison Renninger, Daniel Hagenbuch, Willoughby Geise, Peter Kershner and Rebecca Shearer.
Sales of Real Estate
Notice of Auditor’s Report
Sales of Personal Property
Example of news article:
Example of Sales of Real Estate.
Example of Auditor’s Notice:
Example of Court Proceedings:
Example of Sales of Personal Property:
In addition to the paid Death Notice, the day of or the day after a death, there may be an obituary written one or two days after a death, a set of funeral notices in the days prior to and including the day of the funeral, and possibly a funeral article written the day of or the day after the funeral in any local newspaper.