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I am doing research into the Bullock family. A question about recording place of death. In a number of cases, an individual has lived a long time in a town. At the time of death, the person is in a hospital or home in another place. Should the place of death be recorded as the person's normal residence or the town in which he/she died? What is the convention for this?

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    Hi, welcome to G&FH.SE! Are you asking about what should be recorded on a death certificate, or what you yourself record in your genealogy software?
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 31, 2015 at 16:16
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    I am asking about how I would go about recording the information to include the fact that the place of death and the residence are not the same. Thanks. Feb 4, 2015 at 17:29

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I have several instances of this in my tree. In each case I record both.

The place of death being the hospital, or other location, where the death occurred.
Also record the last place where the person lived as part of their residence history.

I have a couple of cases where someone lived in a care home for some years, then I record that as their last residence.

I would say that there is a convention as such. I would recommend that you record all the information that you have.

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This is not a matter of convention, but a matter of fact. The place of death is the place the person died, not where they lived at some point before death. The only time it would be accurate to say that the place of death was their normal residence was if they died at their normal residence.

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When I encounter a death record like the one below (which has been partially redacted from one in Ancestry.com):

NAME:   
BIRTH YEAR: 
AGE:    
DEATH DATE: 16 Mar 1873
DEATH PLACE:    Moonta Mines
RESIDENCE PLACE:    Moonta Mines
FATHER'S NAME:  
REGISTRATION PLACE: 
PAGE NUMBER:    
VOLUME NUMBER:  

I record it in Ancestry.com as:

  1. Death event on 16 Mar 1873 at Moonta Mines, South Australia, Australia
  2. Residence event on 15 Mar 1873 at Moonta Mines, South Australia, Australia

If I only recorded the Death event then the only way to tell whether someone not only died there (and may have come from somewhere else; perhaps had been in hospital there for the last few weeks of his/her life) would be by reading the Description. I record the Residence event on the day before death to ensure that it gets sorted with the correct chronology.

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I think one of the more illustrative examples of why "place of death" is where the person died is Military.

If somebody died at Normandy, or Iwo Jima, or Da Nang, or Bastone ... you certainly wouldn't say they died in Smallville, Kentucky!

If you won't do that for a soldier, why would you do it for anybody else?

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The place of death should normally be the location reported in the Obituary. This is the place the family, the funeral director, and the newspaper thought to be most helpful.

HAMLIN - Jean... of Hamlin, NY was hit by a train in Brockport, NY. She was pronounced dead at the hospital in Greece, NY. (choose; Hamlin)

exceptions that prove the rule: Lt... of York, Canada son of... was killed in The Battle Broodseinde on 4 Oct 1917 (choose; Broodseinde Ridge, West Flanders, Belgium)

Jean... a long-time resident of Hamlin, NY died at St. Ann's Home in Rochester, NY. She thanks the staff for years of care (choose; Rochester)

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  • In the first example, if the person did not die in Hamlin then why would one record the place of death as Hamlin? Say that two people from London were married in New York, you wouldn’t say the place of marriage was London even though that’s where the newspaper said they were from.
    – Harry V.
    Jul 8, 2022 at 14:54
  • In the first example, the incident happens in Brockport and the person is pronounced dead in Greece. Neither of these is Hamlin, her residence. Why would you not choose Greece, where she was pronounced dead, and record in your research notes that she died as a result of an accident in Brockport?
    – Jan Murphy
    Jul 8, 2022 at 20:22

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