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This is the death certificate of my x2 great-grandmother. The informant is her eldest son.

What does 'in attendance' mean on a death certificate? Does it mean that the person was with her when she died?

Also, was she living with her son and then died in another house?

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'In attendance' means someone who was tending to the deceased during their final illness, but was not present when they died (hat tip to Harry Vervet at https://genealogy.stackexchange.com/a/15587/6485).

She died (recorded) at 14 Heavitree Road -- you can't infer anything from this single piece of data, other than where she died.

Her usual address (based on Rank or Professions) was 13a Trinity Street where she (probably) lived with her husband Edward Goode. And, given the address of her son (the informant), her son lived with her and her husband as well.

But she died at another address.

Very often, death certificates in this period gave a seemingly ordinary address for a hospital or workhouse. Given that she died of something that sounds like it might have been cancer, I would investigate this possibility.

According to The Workhouse the Exeter Workhouse was at 14 Heavitree Road.

So, she died in the Workhouse Infirmary -- not unusual in this period when it was the only place many people could access medical care.

The whole certificate reads:

Registration district Exeter

1923 deaths in the Sub-District of EXETER WEST in the County of EXETER (C.B.) [County Borough]

No.: 283

When and where died: Sixteenth January 1923 14 Heavitree Road U.D [Urban District]

Name and surname: Norah Goode

Sex: Female

Age: 62 years

Rank or Profession: of 13A Trinity Street Exeter U.D. [Urban District] Wife of Edward Goode a Fish Salesman

Cause of Death: (1) Epithelioma Palate (11) Ashthenia Certified by J Pereira Gray M.D

Signature Description and Residence of Informant: Frank H. O'Brien Son in attendance 13A Trinity Street Exeter

When registered: Seventeenth January 1923

Signature of Registrar: A. R. Foote

  • Are you able to read columns 5 and 6? – user1261710 Jun 28 at 14:07
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    Epithelioma Palate is cancer of the soft palate (upper mouth). Asthenia is a nonspecific weakness and lack of energy. (In this case probably from not being able to eat due to the mouth cancer.) – RonJohn Jun 28 at 22:38
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    That last name is AR Foote. You can see the same F on the name Frank.The other letter is probably "Perelia", a "J Perelia Gray M.D." with the L accidentally overlapping the f from above. – CR Drost Jun 30 at 0:14
  • I believe "(C.B.)" means County Borough -- would it be worth putting that in square brackets as well? – Andrew Leach Jun 30 at 8:41
  • @AndrewLeach Done -- thanks for the prompt -- I tend to forget that not everybody is familiar with arcane jargon for English administrative geography. – ColeValleyGirl Jun 30 at 8:56
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"In attendance" does not necessarily mean that they witnessed the death.

For deaths that occurred at home, the informant was usually either by someone "present at the death" or someone "in attendance". The latter means someone who was tending to the deceased during their final illness, but was not present when they died.

The relevant legislation (Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1874, c.88) states:

When a person dies in a house after the commencement of this Act, it shall be the duty of the nearest relatives of the deceased present at the death, or in attendance during the last illness of the deceased, and in default of such relatives, of every other relative of the deceased dwelling or being in the same sub-district as the deceased, and in default of such relatives, of each person present at the death, and of the occupier of the house in which, to his knowledge, the death took place, and in default of the persons herein-before in this section mentioned, of each inmate of such house, and of the person causing the body of the deceased person to be buried, to give, to the best of his knowledge and belief, to the registrar, within the five days next following the day of such death, information of the particulars required to be registered concerning such death, and in the presence of the registrar to sign the register.

In this particular case, as this appears to be a death in a workhouse infirmary (as per ColeValleyGirl's answer), the next paragraph in the 1874 Act is also relevant:

Where a person dies in a place which is not a house, or a dead body is found elsewhere than in a house, it shall be the duty of every relative of such deceased person having knowledge of any of the particulars required to be registered concerning the death, and in default of such relative, of every person present at the death, and of any person finding, and of any person taking charge of the body, and of the person causing the body to be buried, to give to the registrar, within the five days next after the death or the finding, such information of the particulars required to be registered concerning the death as the informant possesses, and in the presence of the registrar to sign the register.

  • How does this work if somebody died in the Workhouse? Genuinely looking to learn. – ColeValleyGirl Jun 28 at 14:38
  • The next part of the legislation makes some further provisions if not in a house, but a relative present or in attendance can still register the death. It seems it was often the workhouse staff to register these deaths, if there were no relatives – Harry Vervet Jun 28 at 14:46
  • Thanks -- have updated my answer. – ColeValleyGirl Jun 28 at 14:50

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