[Madness Monday] Time Warp for Death Certificates?

From the Geneabloggers site:

Madness Monday is a daily blogging theme used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Madness Monday simply create a post with the main focus being an ancestor who may have suffered from some form of mental illness or an ancestor who drives you “mad” because you have trouble locating them or locating more information about them.

I am not normally inclined to post Madness Monday posts, however, this week I’ve just had it with all my dead relatives!  OK, not all of them… just the ones who died in the 1930s and 1940s.

At the moment, I’m doing a little “speed genealogy” to try to research a line for my mother to get into our Colonial Dames of the Seventeenth Century chapter. Time is of the essence because we will be officially chartering in June and any new members accepted before that time will have the honor of being Charter Members. We’re trying to connect her to Joseph COPELAND of Jamestown fame. I think it might be possible, but as always you must begin at the beginning. I’m currently working on the generations of my 2nd and 3rd great-grandparents.

Here’s my dilemma: for some reason there is a whole pocket of people on my maternal grandfather’s side of the family who lived in Arkansas, died in the 1930s and 1940s, who don’t seem to have any death certificates! According to the Arkansas State Health Department, Vital Records the state has been requiring official state death certificates since February 1, 1914. And all these older records should be kept at Arkansas Vital Records. Apparently, the Arkansas History Commission also keeps an alphabetical list (not the actual records) of all deaths in Arkansas between 1914 and 1949. Yet why are my ancestors missing?? Why wouldn’t someone file a death certificate? And furthermore, where am I supposed to find the best record of their death when the state doesn’t even recognize that they’re deceased?!

Let’s face it here, I’d probably be one of the most famous women alive if I had relatives who were more than 150 years old!

If anyone has any insight into Arkansas death records, I am so open to suggestions… please post in the comments section!

My Maddening Relatives

In case someone happens to have any information, here are a few of the people I’m searching for. Two were deceased prior to the State of Arkansas beginning official death certificates. The other two I see no reason why they shouldn’t have death certificates… they just cannot be located.


  • born: 10 July 1853, Howard County, AR
  • died: 1946/67, Midway Community, Howard County, AR
  • buried at Antioch Cemetery

William Green TOMMEY

  • born: February 1848, Georgia
  • died: 22 July 1905, Hempstead or Howard County, AR
  • buried at Antioch Cemetery

John Bunyon COPELAND

  • born: 1 February 1826
  • died: 13 December 1903, Hempstead or Howard County, AR
  • buried at Antioch Cemetery

Lawrence Young COMPTON

  • born: 5 February 1858, Arkansas
  • died: 26 November 1934, Hempstead or Howard County, AR
  • buried at Antioch Cemetery


  1. Is there any possiblity the later folks had a SSN? If so, check the SSDI.
    .-= Mavis´s last blog ..Day 6 of the Winter 2010 Geneablogger Games =-.

  2. I’ve got a few Ar relatives without death certs too. Maddening is a good word for it. If you need any help with the local courthouse or newspaper for obits, I research my ancestors in this county all the time. I live in the area.

    • Thanks so much!! I might take you up on that. I’m hoping that I’ll be down that way at Christmas since we still have a lot of family down there, but you never know what’s going to happen these days.

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