Monday, October 27, 2008

October 10, 1938

So, I had these great, organized, well-planned out ideas to post things in reverse chronological order, from most recent to most ancient, so that things would eventually be laid out in an order that makes perfect chronological sense when viewed from the most recent to the oldest post.

Nevermind all that.

A few weeks ago, I sent away to the NY Municipal Archives for the death certificates of Julia and Patrick Mulvaney, Nana's parents. Julia's arrived this afternoon. I don't have a scanner, but I'm transcribing it for my own records, so I'll post it here, as well. It contains lots of information I didn't know, though it may not be new to all of you.

[Bureau of Records - Department of Health - Borough of Brooklyn]

Certificate of Death
[1938 October 12 PM 12:27]
Certificate No. 19700
1. Place of Death: Borough of Brooklyn 324 82 St., Private residence
2. Full name: Julia Mulvaney
3. Residence (usual place of abode): 324 82 St., Brooklyn

Personal and Statistical Particulars

4. Sex: Female
5. Color or Race: White
6. (Marital Status): Widowed
7. Date of birth: [blank]
8. Age of decedent: 68 yrs.
9. Occupation
a. trade: Housewife
b. industry: Own home
c. date decedent last worked at this occupation: June, 1936
d. total time spent in occupation: 45 years
10. Birthplace: USA
11. How long in US (if of foreign birth): [blank]
12. How long resident in City of New York: [blank]
Parents of Deceased
13. Name of father of decedent: Richard Toner
14. Birthplace of father: Ireland
15. Maiden name of mother of decedent: Mary Cullen
16. Birthplace of mother: Ireland

17. Informant: Thos. Mulvaney, son

Medical Certificate of Death
18. Date of death: October 10, 1938
19. I hereby certify that I attended the deceased from Aug. 1936 to October 10, 1938. I last saw her alive on Oct. 10, 1938: death is stated to have occurred on the date stated above, at 3:45 PM.
The principal cause of death and related causes of importance were as follows:
chronic hypertensive cardio-vascular disease (duration 2 1/2 years)
chronic thyrotoxicosis (duration 2 1/2 years)

Other contributory causes of importance:
cerebral embolism (duration 10 days)

Name of operation: [blank]
Date: [blank]
What test confirmed diagnosis? [blank]
Was there an autopsy? No

Signature: Charles Stern, MD
Address: 454 43 St., Bklyn

21. Place of Burial: Holy Cross Cemetary
Date of Burial: October 13th, 1938
22. Undertaker: Joseph Redmond, John Redmond
Address: 476 73 St.

Funeral Director's Certificate
I hereby certify that I have been employed, without any solicitation on my part or that of any other person, as undertaker to dispose of the remains of Julia Mulvaney by Thomas Mulvaney of 324 82 St., Bklyn, who is the son and the nearest surviving relative or next of kin of the deceased. This statement is made to obtain a permit for the burial or cremation of the remains of the deceased.
Signature: Joseph Redmond
Business address: 476 73rd St.
Permit No.: 219
If another undertaker in your employ is to take personal charge of the work in the care, preparation, or other disposal of such dead human body, give his name: John J. Redmond
State License No.: 192

Physician's Supplementary Certification
(Required in Connection with Telephone Application for Removal Permit)
If death has not been contributed to or caused by homicide, suicide, accident, acute or chronic poisoning, abortion, puerperal sepsis, or any suspicion of of those conditions, and the funeral director desires to obtain removal permission by telephone, the physician will execute the following certification:--
I hereby certify that the death of Julia Mulvaney who died on Oct. 10, 1938, at 324 82 St., Bklyn has not been contributed to or caused by any of the conditions mentioned in the above list.
Personal signature of physician: Charles Stern
Address: 454 43 St., Bklyn

I didn't try to use block quotes again, as last time I did that was the formatting nightmare two posts below, but hopefully it's easy enough to tell where the certificate begins and ends. It gets awfully clinical and distasteful towards the end, doesn't it?

Keeping in mind that death certificates tend to be the least reliable of vital records, because they are filled out by someone other than the person they are about (in other words, it's much less likely than a child or grandchild will accurately name the parents of the deceased on a death certificate, than, say, that the parents of a newborn will accurately name themselves on a birth certificate), what I learned from this (I'm deciding to trust Thomas Mulvaney) were most specifically Julia's parents' names, Richard Toner and Mary Cullen.

If Julia was 68 when she died in 1938, her birth was around 1870, which is in keeping with the age she gives on all the census records I've found her on (I never have come across the 1930 census for the family). However, when I search census records for Richard Toner in NY, with wife Mary and daughter Julia, the only records I come up with that seem even possible are these, from 1860 and 1870:

These two families are clearly the same, but their Julia is a full 19 years older than ours should be. She may even have already left home by the 1870 census, right around when our Julia should be just being born. I've heard a story or two about a Mulvaney woman lying about her age, but I would think that 19 years would be stretching it.

First, I want to ask whether anyone already knows the names of Julia's parents and siblings, and can let me know whether all this conjecture is misplaced.

Second, I'm going to let my imagination run wild for a minute. There's an older woman living in the home during both census years (she ages more than 10 years in the interim, though, so there's no guarantee that she's the same person). Her name is listed as Julia Toner in 1860, and I would assume that she's Richard Toner's mother. In this census, young Julia is listed, 9 years old. The older woman is listed as Judith Toner in 1870, and a toddler is listed, baby Judith. Assuming for a moment that she is the same woman, it seems possible that her name IS Julia, and that the census taker misheard Julia for Judith that day - in which case it's possible, I suppose, that little 2-year-old Judith could actually be Julia, too - and she'd be about the right age to be our Julia.

That of course, leaves the problem of having 2 daughters named Julia in the same family (and we'd have to hope that Occam's Razor doesn't apply to genealogy) - it could be explained any number of ways (Julia 1 died and they named the baby after her; Julia 1 got into some trouble, named the baby after herself, and left it with her parents; etc.) all of which are possible, and none of which are particularly likely.

It could also be, of course, that there were multiple Richard and Mary Toners in NY at the time, and that more than one of them had a daughter named Julia, and that our Toner family was skipped by the census that year. Or that I just haven't found them. Or that one of you will post a comment to the effect of "Thomas Mulvaney must have been mistaken. Julia's parents were named Bob and Sue," and I'll feel a little silly. Does anyone have any facts, documents, stories, opinions, or wild conjecture similar to mine to add to the story?

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