One day of our trip involved arguing with the Oklahoma State Department of Health for access to family death certificates and a much more exciting stop at the Oklahoma Historical Society’s Research Center. Looking for obituaries seems a little morbid, but it’s actually kind of fun to read the old newspapers while you’re searching.
This is one headline from the 18 Jan 1912 edition of The Leedey Times of Dewey County, Oklahoma that you’d never see today.
Before anyone jumps on the editor for using shotgun and rifle like they are the exact same thing, I suspect that was more for the visual space in the headline. I think rifle would have been too short and left too much whitespace. I find it hard to believe that a newspaper editor in rural Dewey County wouldn’t know the difference.
3 thoughts on “Headlines You Don’t See Anymore”
Tell us more about the State of Oklahoma not wanting to give over the death certificates. What was their reason?
There’s a big movement in government to shut down access to vital records for dead people out of fear of identity theft, even though giving people the ability to see that a person is dead makes it harder to steal their identity.
In most states, you just have to make a reasonable specific request to get a death certificate. For example, in Pennsylvania, you just give the name and any details you know, but you can ask them search a range of up to 10 years for a slightly higher fee.
In Oklahoma, you must fully document with government-issued documents, you exact relationship to the deceased and provide reasonably detailed information about them. Technically, the law says that only a dead person can order a death certificate (way to go bad lawmaker who screwed up), but the interpretation is that a direct descendant can also get it. The new law that goes into effect tomorrow is supposed to open up the really, really old records (75+ years for deaths, 100+ years for marriage/divorce), but it still maintains that only a dead person can order a death certificate.
I had issues because they raised concerns about my request for my 2x great mother’s death certificate. I provided my birth certificate that named my father issued by the State of Oklahoma, my father’s birth certificate that named his father issued by the State of Oklahoma, my grandfather’s birth certificate that named his mother by her first, middle, and maiden name issued by the State of Oklahoma, and his mother’s reference in a federal census as a child as the daughter of my 2x great grandmother. However, the daughter was going by her middle name at that point. The worker questioned if it was really the same person.
What pissed me off about this is that my mother had submitted a similar request for my great grandfather’s death certificate with the same type of evidence – the final link was documented by a census record that named my grandfather by his middle name since that’s what he went by until he ran for public office. In my batch of requests, they also accepted that type of connection for another death certificate of a different line’s 3x great grandmother. Yet, suddenly, it wasn’t good enough.
This office doesn’t have the brightest bulbs on staff. When I called to clarify what types of documents could be used to show relationships, one of the workers told me all about the illegal federal census they don’t accept, but that they do accept the legal federal census.
FWIW, the woman who I had the most trouble getting a death certificate for was born in 1873. I would like to believe that the private sector has a system in place to prevent identity theft for anyone who tries to apply for credit with her name and birthdate. Perhaps the fact that she would show up as being 141 years old might set off some kind of red flag?
Actually the position that it is just fine for every boy (and today, girl) to be trained in the use of weapons in service to The State remains about as strong as it ever was. It is only when it is in service to oneself that it becomes abhorrent.
My father always maintained that a valid position for conscientious objector status should be, that you wouldn’t carry any weapon for The State that it wasn’t considered moral (thus legal) to carry for yourself. But that of course was wishful thinking.
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