Friday, November 1, 2013

A death chart

Nathan Murphy from FamilySearch has started something.  He posted his Death Chart and other genealogists picked up on it and have started posting their own death charts including Randy Seaver, Judy Russell, and Megan Smolenyak.  I just had to do it too so here is mine (click to enlarge).

CODPedigree chart created using Legacy 7.5

This was a great exercise and I discovered that I didn’t have my great-grandmother’s death certificate.  How on earth did that happen?  Technically I can’t get it until she has been dead for 50 years but grandchildren with proof can so I am hoping they will extend it to a great-grandchild with proof. If not, I will sweet talk one of my uncles into requesting it for me.

Did you notice that my father, his father, and his father all died at age 67?  CREEPY!  I know that my dad had no idea that his father and his grandfather died at age 67.  I wonder if he had known would he have dreaded that 67th birthday?  All of my dad’s brothers are already past age 67 so I guess they are all safe.

I don’t have any death certificates on my mother’s side prior to my grandparents.  These are all in Germany.  I can get them but it will take a little effort on my part. 

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Michele,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Interesting. I of course had to do mine too:

    1., 2., 3., 4. Living
    5. rheumatoid arthritis (72)
    6. don't have his death certificate, he died only a couple years ago but grandpa choked & quit breathing (87)
    7. again, died only 3 years ago, grandma had Parkinsons & general decline in old age (91)
    8. heart attack (61)
    9. colon cancer (76)
    10. bowel obstruction (37)
    11. pelvis abscesses (29)
    12. heart attack (80)
    13. ?, (91)
    14. influenza (67)
    15. pneumonia, heart disease (74)

    The scary one is the bowel obstruction. That seems to run in my family for some reason. That was my dad's grandpa who died of one. That's also what the great-grandpa's sister died of, one of her son's almost died of one also. My dad was hospitalized with one several years ago & a brother of my dad's got really sick & was in the hospital with one for a long time.

  3. Sometimes I wonder, is it better to know or not know...

  4. I don't want to know and that's why I did not do the causes of death chart yet !

  5. As we're a cancer ridden family (maternal side), and having fought it myself, I think this information is invaluable. I've been thinking of doing something like this (documenting the kinds of cancer) so it can be handed down through the generations. Now I'm thinking I should include everything. My oncologist was on me for not having this info. :) Thank you for sharing

  6. One thing that that chart taught me is that I need to pay more attention to the causes of death. It would also be a good idea to track known ailments that aren't necessarily their cause of death. For example, I have an electrical conduction defect in my heart. My paternal grandmother had it as well as two of her sisters and their mother. Two of my daughters have it. This is obviously something that runs in the females in the the family.

  7. This was a great idea! LOVE IT! Thank you!

  8. This is such a useful idea and would be so handy to get an overview. Could you tell me how it's done, when I go to the Pedigree Chart options (Legacy 7.5.Deluxe edition) all the options are greyed. I'm sure I'm missing something really simple.

  9. I started a new Family File and inputted causes of death instead of names. I didn't use my working database file. Once I had all of the "names" entered, I could do a pedigree chart with me as the anchor (I am still alive so I put Living in the name field)

  10. Thanks for the prompt response and the information. Simple when you know how! :-)

  11. Thanks for this! I'm jumping back into genealogy and I know I don't have all the death certificates for my family. I may have to create a death chart and truly see what's missing and what patterns are out there.