Six Word Saturday – Looking at Pennsylvania Death Certificates today!

Looking at Pennsylvania Death Certificates today!

Jan "John" Wasik on left (1887-1934)

Jan “John” Wasik on left (1887-1934)

John Wasik Death Certificate from 1934.  Source: Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

John Wasik Death Certificate from 1934.   Source: Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Today I’m having lots of luck searching through old death certificates online. Years ago when my sister and I started doing genealogy, we had to send away for records like this, or spend time looking through microfilm at state archives. Ancestry.com has added a huge database with death certificates that the Pennsylvania Department of Health started  keeping from 1 January 1906 through 1963.

John Wasik is the man with the x inked in over his head in the photo, and he was my great-uncle. Most of this information on the death record my family had, except for the exact date of death. I’m not sure if we knew he died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis.  In older death records TB was often called consumption. The secondary cause is also very sad. We did know that his wife’s name was Katie, and that at his death he left twelve children for her to raise, with only the oldest married or working on their own. Their last child had been born a month before he died. He had been a coal miner, and I’m sure money was very tight for the family. This was during the Great Depression when at least one in four people were out of work in the United States, and jobs were hard to come by.

Our family had a letter dated April 23, 1934 from his daughter Sophie’s husband Adolf, to Gen Mirota Lubas, that said that Jan Wasik was buried the Saturday before the letter was written. We thought that would have made his burial on April 21, 1934. Sophie was in the hospital for a month and came home the day before her father’s burial. The estimate was that Jan Wasik probably died on or about April 19th in Cherry Valley. Now we know he died the previous month.

Recently one of our blog readers from Poland contacted me about a book that he wanted to return to the John A. Wasik family. It turned out the inscription was from 1942, and most likely the book belonged to another John Wasik, who had died in West Rutland, Vermont, at the age of 97, in 2013. I’ve added a link to his obituary. I don’t think he was related to our family, but you never know!  Hopefully the book will come full circle to his children, or grandchildren. http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20130624/OBITUARIES/706249940/1018

Take a look at Cate’s blog at Show My Face when you have some time, for some other Six Word Saturday blog postings. Good luck searching for your family records! Happy Saturday!

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About Maryann Barnes

I live in Virginia and enjoy meandering walks back into the past. I also enjoy old photographs and sharing family research.
This entry was posted in Blog Prompt Series, Blogger, Death, Family Names, Maryann, Pennsylvania, Research, Six Word Saturday, Washington County, Wasik and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Six Word Saturday – Looking at Pennsylvania Death Certificates today!

  1. Amy says:

    I am so grateful to Pennsylvania for releasing the death records. My father’s family has deep roots in the state, and I am slowly working through the database to see what I can find.

    Your great-uncle’s life sounds so terribly sad. I hope those twelve children all thrived despite the hardships they must have faced.

  2. Thanks, Amy! The Wasik children did thrive, and most had very sunny dispositions!
    I’m so grateful to the state of Pennsylvania for releasing the records, too. My husband and I both have PA roots. I found the maiden name of one of his g-g-g-grandmothers – a name that had eluded family researchers. Good luck searching your PA roots!

  3. chmjr2 says:

    I am also looking through the Pennsylvania death records. Since a large part of my family is from and or lived in that state it has been a gold mine. I wonder if they are going to go past 1963? I hope so.

  4. crazy8 says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I did not realize that ancestry.com had those records. Very excited about starting searching again. It has been a while. I love it so much but get kind of addicted 🙂 so had you take a break. Thanks though this sounds fun and exciting to search.

    • Hi Crazy8, I know what you mean about the addiction factor of genealogy! It helps to have a goal, and mine has been to find out about the folks in the photographs my family had collected. Good luck searching for your records. I enjoyed looking at your blogs!

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