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I'm looking at the following death certificate:

Which is transcribed in part to read:

Texas Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Certificate of Death
File No: 42650
Place of Death: Schlien Hotel, Comfort, Kendall County, Texas, USA
Usual Residence: Center Point, Kerr County, Texas, USA
Name: Maggie Davenport
Died: Aug 18, 1951
Female, White, Widow
Born: July 6, 1869
Age: 82 years, 1 month, 12 days
Occupation: Housewife
Business: Own home
Born: Converse, Texas
Father: N. A. Edens of Kentucky
Mother: Mary Grigsley of Kentucky
Informant: Jxxxx Davenport
Attended: Jun 29, 1951 to Aug 5, 1951
Died: Aug 5, 1951 at 12:45am (is time for date of death?)
Removal: Aug 18, 1951 to Mission Burial Park, San Antonio, Texas
Riebe Funeral Home, Ltd. Earl S. Crumbie

The certificate says date of death is August 18, 1951 but that is also the removal date. The attending physician says he last saw her on August 5 (or is it 15) and that she died at 12:45am.

I'm thinking the date of death is really August 5th at 12:45 in the morning and that the death certificate incorrectly put August 18, the removal date as the date of death, but that seems a long time from the 5th to the 18th before burial, so perhaps its really the 15th.

What is the best way to determine the actual date of death here? I couldn't find any obituaries.

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I read it that death occurred on 18th August ("the date stated above") at 12:45am, not that the informant is saying that death happened on 5th, just that that was the last time he saw the individual alive.

Removal to the funeral home happened the same day (which would be normal if the family did not want to prepare the deceased for burial/cremation themselves, especially I suspect in August in Texas) but there is no evidence for when burial or cremation took place.

However, as the certificate was only signed on 20th August, I'd assume burial or cremation took place after that.

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  • Good catch on the "burial/cremation/removal" choice -- I agree that the certificate gives us no direct evidence on the burial/cremation date. – Jan Murphy Dec 28 '14 at 23:25
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As this occurred fairly recently, genealogically speaking, you might also check to see if the funeral home still exists and if so, whether they have any records that might help to clarify the timeline.

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The certificate is not contradictory, just unusual. It says the physician last saw her alive on August 5th, then returned to confirm her death at 12:45 a.m. on August 18th (date stated above).

It is odd to have someone die and buried the same day, but not unheard of. I've seen some who died at 2 a.m. and buried by 10 a.m.

The physician probably told the family on August 5th that she would not recover, and they had the cemetery plot ready. If there was no funeral, there may not have been any obituary. Try contacting the cemetery for more info - http://www.missionparks.com/about/locations-mission-park-south.php

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