James McMillan was chief engineer for the Straits Steamship Company on the Perak in 1908, working between Singapore, Port Swettenham and Penang. This information is contained in a letter written to the family by James.

James' youngest daughter was Shigeko Mabel McMillan, who married Robert Walker jr. in 1937.

What was the cause of death of James McMillan who died at his wife's home in Nagasaki on 13 Sept. 1909, aged 49?

Memorial found at Find A Grave, which notes:

James McMillan was born in Adrossan, Scotland. He served as a chief engineer in Penang before coming to Nagasaki.

He died at the home (No. 81 Uma-machi) of his Japanese wife on September 13, 1909 at the age of forty-seven and was buried at Sakamoto International Cemetery.

McMillan was survived by his wife and four children. His youngest daughter, Shigeko Mabel McMillan, married Robert Walker, Jr. in 1937.

Burial: Sakamoto International Cemetery, Nagasaki, Nagasaki, Japan

James' DOB: 23 May 1862 at Ardrossan, Ayr, Scotland, as recorded in a Family document.

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    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 8:05
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1 Answer 1


My first port of call to find a cause of death would be a death certificate. As this person was a Scot and he died abroad this may not be as straightforward as it seems.

Fortunately McMillan appears in the GRO Consular Death Index:

Consular Deaths 1906-1910
MCMILLAN, James, 47, Nagasaki, p 1599

The British Consular BMD indexes can be viewed for free on FamilyRelatives.com (free registration required) or with a FindMyPast subscription.

A death certificate for James McMillan can be ordered online from the General Register Office for the price of £9.25, the same as any other England and Wales BMD certificate. The format may differ slightly from England and Wales death certificates, but it likely includes a column for cause of death.

The situation is somewhat complex from a jurisdictional point of view since there is no such thing as "British" civil registration – Scotland civil registration is completely independent from that in England and Wales. However, deaths abroad for all British nationals (English, Welsh, Scottish, or Irish) may be found in the British Overseas indexes deposited at the GRO. The overseas indexes are far from complete; many births, marriages, and deaths of British people that occurred abroad do not appear in these indexes.

In addition to a British death certificate it is possible McMillan also has a local Japanese death record. Having no experience with Japanese genealogy I will leave it to someone else to describe what may be available on that front.

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