This week I sent off for five death certificates – my 2nd great-grandfathers, James Franklin Lasiter and William Edward Peters, my great-grandparents, Reba Fox Smith and Claude Rual Smith, Jr, and Melvina West Fox, my 2nd great-grandmother.
I was prompted to order the death certificate of William Peters because he was the connection I had to the first person I matched to and talked to via my ftDNA Family Finder DNA results!! I was somewhat embarrassed that I couldn’t provide more information on my Peters line to my match who believed we were close cousins through our Peters line. And even more embarrassed when I realized I had never ordered William’s death certificate which can oftentimes provide you with the names of your ancestor’s parents. There has been a lot of discrepancy about William Peter’s place of birth as well, so even if his death certificate does not provide me with his parents’ names, I am hoping to get a place of birth at least.
James Franklin Lasiter is one of those so-called “elusive” ancestors. You know, one of those that you know existed but you just can’t seem to find him on those certain records you expect to find him on. I have a photo of him and someone I believe to be his father, John Riley Lasiter, according to the information written on the photo, and I would like to see if the names of the parents are listed on his death certificate and if so, if they match up with what the photograph says.
Back in 2009 I wrote a post challenging myself to see if had copies of the obituaries and death certificates of all 8 of my great-grandparents. Since Claude and Reba Smith were the last of them to pass away, I just never thought to obtain them. And actually I figured my Grandfather had copies of their death certificates already. Since I’m already sending off requests for these other death certificates, I might as well toss two more into the mix…
I was prompted to order the death certificate of my 2nd great-grandmother Melvina Fox from my Family Finder test as well. I matched to a close cousin on my West and Criscillus lines. Melvina Fox was the daughter of Calvin West and Elizabeth Jane Roberts. My match is a descendant of Calvin’s sister, Serepta West. We compared family trees and they were identical. We compared brick walls and they were identical. I did learn that our West family descends from one Robert West b. 1612 in England thanks to her cousin who submitted to a Y-DNA test.
Richard Smith’s Confederate Service Records:
I finally located my ancestor, Richard Smith’s Confederate Service Records on Footnote.com. I have a copy of his pension records and notes from my Grandfather that mentioned Richard’s Confederate service prior to his service in the Union Army. I had trouble locating his records at first because all I knew was that it was Clarkson’s Battalion, Ark and Mo., however when I looked up the records in Footnote, the collection titles went by State first and then by Regiment number. Not having a regiment number threw me off. I finally found one collection title called “Confederate Soldiers – CSA” and that was the correct one. My persistence paid off.
Of course my grandfather’s notes also said that Richard Smith’s Confederate Enlistment papers listed his parents as David and Sarah Smith. I can’t find a copy of his enlistment papers in any of my files. Does anyone know how to order Civil War enlistment files? And is it common for them to list the soldiers’ parents’ names?