George Washington Cole is my 2g-grandfather. I have had a digital image of his death certificate for the past 14 months. It only last week that I noticed quite an anomaly. Take a look at the certificate.
G. W. Cole died of heart failure on November 3rd, 1922, in Beaver Township, Mahoning County, Ohio. He was buried two days later at the North Lima Cemetery, North Lima, Mahoning County, Ohio. (This image was found on FamilySearch.)
Now… my glaring oversight! I had not looked at the upper right hand corner of the certificate. Although he is reported to have died (and be buried) in Ohio, the information was put on a Pennsylvania death certificate form. “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” was crossed out and “Ohio” was handwritten above.
To confirm the location of his death, I searched the Ohio Death Index (on Ancestry.com) and found this image:
G W Cole is listed as dying on 3 November 1922, in Mahoning County, Ohio. The death certificate number is 59963. As I go back to the death certificate, I can read the last digit of the certificate number (a “3″); the penultimate number could be a “6;” the rest of the certificate number cannot be read. (The State of Ohio stamps death certificates with a certificate number.)
I conclude that G(eorge) W(ashington) Cole did die and was buried in Ohio. Furthermore, it is clear that the death certificate was erroneously written on a Pennsylvania death certificate form and later corrected to indicate “Ohio.” There is nothing to indicate why or how that happened. So, now I begin to guess.
Mahoning County is in the Northeastern part of Ohio. Immediately east of Mahoning County is Pennsylvania. North Lima, Ohio, is just 11 driving miles from Bessemer, Pennsylvania.
Dr. A. H. Alden of North Lima, Ohio, signed the death certificate. My best guess would be that Dr. Alden was licensed to practice medicine in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. When he reached into his medical bag (or his desk drawer) he pulled out the wrong pad of forms; hence, entering the information for G W Cole’s death on a Pennsylvania death certificate form. The handwriting of “Ohio” in the upper right hand corner of the certificate is clearly not that of Dr. Alden. Dr. Alden’s notations are with a much bolder pen. It is more likely that W. O. Troyer, the local registrar, saw Dr. Alden’s mistake and corrected it.
Has anyone else seen an official record for an event in one state entered on the form of a neighboring state (and then later corrected)?