Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Records and Research: Edith Elizabeth Eckard (No. 3-4)

This series began with a randomly selected document that contains genealogical information. I will then take that information and outline what we can learn from the document and what I would do next to find more information on the person involved.

Document No. 3: Edith Elizabeth Brookfield's Birth Entry in the BMD Index
Link: Link (

Since we now know Edith Eckard's middle name and we have a birth date and location, we can search for her birth record in the Birth, Marriage, and Death index. Since civil registration of vital records began in the UK in 1837, we should be able to find the record easily. Searching for Edith Brookfield, born in Shropshire, one result popped up:

Edith Elizabeth Brookfield's birth is recorded in the September quarter (births that occurred in July, August, and September) of 1885. This is a good example of why I did not enter in a year in my initial search since it appears the 1888 birth year listed on her passport application is not correct. Also, though she may have lived in Shrewsbury at some point in her life, she was actually born in Ellesmere, which is near Shrewsbury but is its own registration district.

Now, if we wanted to actually order her birth certificate we'd do the following:

  1. Take note of the district, volume, and page number for the person you're looking for. In this case, Edith Elizabeth Brookfield, Ellesmere Shropshire, Vol 6a Page 719.
  2. Go here to begin the process of ordering the certificate:
Ordering a certificate will cost 9.25 GBP ($15.46 as of 3/23/11). 

What This Record Would Tell Us: 

  • Date of Birth
  • Location of Birth
  • Name
  • Sex
  • Father's Name
  • Mother's Name, including Maiden Name
  • Father's Occupation
  • Date of Registration
  • Any other names given to the child for 12 months after the child's birth. (i.e. during Baptism)

Document No. 4: Edith Elizabeth Eckard's death certificate.
Link: Missouri Death Certificates, 1910-1960 (via Missouri Secretary of State's Digital Heritage Website)

Note: It is important to keep in mind that besides the person's name, gender, and death date, a death certificate is generally only as good as its informant. It is recommended that you try to confirm the information in the certificate with other records. 
  • Name: Edith Elizabeth Eckard
  • Birth Date: 10 Aug 1888
    • Note: This agrees with the information in her passport application but is not a match with her birth certificate. In this case, it is obvious that the 1885 birth certificate reflects her true birthdate.
  • Birthplace: England
  • Death Date: 29 Aug 1956
    • Note: Now that we have the death date, I could go to the St. Louis County Public Library and begin with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of 29 Aug 1956 and go forward to search for her obituary.
  • Location: Firmin Desloge, St. Louis County, Missouri
  • Residence: 5129 S. Compton
  • Marital Status: Widowed
    • Note: Now we know Christian Eckhard died before 29 Aug 1956 and likely has a death certificate online as well.
  • Father's Name: John Brookfield
  • Mother's Name: Mary Ann Birch
  • Cause of Death: Myocardial Infarction
    • Death certificates can give us a family medical history going back at least a generation or two.
  • Funeral Director: Wm. Schumacher, 3013 Meramec Street
    • Note: The local library may have some of the records of the funeral home in book or microfilm and is another source of information.
  • Burial: 1 Sep 1956, Mt. Hope Cemetery
    • Note: Findagrave lists Mt. Hope as being a non-sectarian (not one specific relgion) cemetery on Lemay Ferry Road. 
  • Informant: Eleanor Walker, 5129 S. Compton
    • Note: She lived with Edith Eckard at 5129 S. Compton. I'm inclined to say that she is likely a relative, either a sister or daughter.

Next Steps: Once we had her parent's names, her exact birth date, and her death date, we can begin filling in the details of her life. We'll start with the census records in the US and go backwards to census records in the UK. 

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