My father’s uncle was supposedly murdered in New York City in a turkish bath before my father was born. I can locate him on the Census living with the family in 1910. I contacted the New York City records folks but they can’t come up with a death certificate. Ideas?

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44 Answers

  1. jwagn wrote on :

    Some one suggested the 1905 census. I would like to put in the 1915 State Census as well. If you kown where the family if living, you can see if he is on there.

  2. clcrss wrote on :

    When did he die? Was it before the 1920 census?
    Check http://www.deathindexes.com as well as http://www.familysearch.org

    One of the those websites may have more info about a death certificate. Also, if you know the approximate date of death … within several weeks or months – you may be able to search newspapers in the area where he lived for articles about accidents or crimes. What is the last address he lived at? Check with the research librarian at that area’s local library for more possible leads. I’ll check also but will need his name and where he was living in the 1910 census. I hope this helps. clcs

  3. Ultimate-Genealogy wrote on :

    NY Genealogical and Biographical Society would be one of my first stops. http://www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org then the NY Archives http://www.archives.nysed.gov/a/research/res_topics_genealogy.shtml For death from 1891-1948 search http://www.italiangen.org/NYCDeathSearch.asp and then the NY State Department of Health http://www.health.state.ny.us/vital_records/genealogy.htm and of course I would search https://www.familysearch.org/

    Also look into inquest records. Also look in the libraries near where you think he was murdered (so libraries can search for you for a fee) for any stories about the murder ESPECIALLY if you locate a death date.

    I find a Samuel Conner born Nov 29, 1896- New York City Births, 1891-1902, Births Reported in December, 1896.; Certificate #: 51808
    I find a Samuel Ira Conner born Dec 8, 1872 living in NY in 1918
    I find a Samuel Franklin Conner born June 3, 1891 living in NY in 1917
    I find a Samuel Conner son of Herman and Anna Conner born about 1892
    I find a Lily Conner born Sept 6, 1893 in Manhattan< NY showing parents Yohn Conner and Emilie Steinmetz Conner as the parents Ultimate Genealogy http://www.ultimate-genealogy.com/

  4. shjackman wrote on :

    Unless you had the Municipal Archives do a search in multiple boroughs you may have missed him since the death may not have occurred in the borough where he lived! And don’t forget, some NYC deaths were indexed separately. If you need help with your search, contact me at susanjackman.com and I would be happy to help.

  5. SylviaT wrote on :

    Have you checked the newspaper archives? Many major newspapers have been indexed so you can quickly search by name. You should search for his name first and then family members names. You could also check New Jersey records because the state line is so close. Hope this helps.

  6. MaryLGray wrote on :

    Check out http://www.news.google.com for their archives. Something like this would certainly hit the paper. For example:http://news.google.com/archivesearch?q=murdered in New York City in a turkish bath&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&btnG=Search Archives

  7. coll7777 wrote on :

    Sorry, I am brand-new at this (FOF) and did not realize there was a long string of answers to your original question.

  8. coll7777 wrote on :

    Do a google search for New York City deaths. Online New York Death Records, Indexes & Obituaries is quite useful, and from its listing DO try Italian Genealogical Group as they have sooo much more than the name implies. Also, do a google search for your uncle’s name. Many people have created webpages for their ancestry — there are distant cousins out there who could have done so. And, search for county records by searching something like “nassau county new york genealogy.” Try Find a Grave, because people often add bios and/or other info when they add a headstone.
    Hope this helps,

  9. sshayward wrote on :

    Perhaps you could research what Turkish Baths existed during 1917 by using and old phone directory. See where they were located and see if there is any history or newspaper articles.

  10. dpeytent wrote on :

    If you know the approximate date of the death, search the local newspapers for that time period. Since it was an alleged murder, perhaps the newspapers carried an article.

  11. wrote on :

    Always with a family story I try and prove it wrong and I expand from there. I am guessing that you have already tried the year in which your father died but you may have to extend it further both in years and area. Try newspapers and police reports. If someone was murdered there would generally be a coroners report. Try for burials in the area. Also try local churches where a burial service may have taken place.

    Remember to try the 1920 census just in case he did not die but moved elsewhere!

  12. Melin_Swango711 wrote on :

    There are numerous avenues for you to pursue. The newspapers would have noted such a crime, perhaps. The New York Times or other papers existing at the time of the murder would be a start. Surely the man had an estate even if he died intestate. He also might have had a will. These are substitutes for the missing death certificate. Also, the police files would have a report on the crime.

  13. Heritage Detectives wrote on :

    When doing research for my clients I have found footnote.com and genealogybank.com to be helpful in researching newspapers articles.

  14. trishc wrote on :

    As a professional genealogist, I have often used the Italilan Genealogical Group’s site for searching deaths in NYC. Their web address is: http://www.italiangen.org/NYCDEATH.STM
    Look for variants of first and last name if it doesn’t pop up right away. Then you can follow up with a request for the death record and search for the newspaper article.

  15. aaevansdc wrote on :

    You will have a better chance of getting a death certificate with the correct date of death. The New York Times, 1851-2007 is available through ProQuest Historical Papers. Some libraries and archive centers provide online access to ProQuest Historical Newspapers. If you find an item mentioning the murder, this will give you the date of death.

  16. Carol Robertson wrote on :

    As others have suggested, I would start with historical newspapers. Don’t limit your search to New York City. That might not be where he was killed. Stories change as generations pass.

  17. MaryDouglass wrote on :

    Have you considered searching the newspapers for more information? Not knowing what information you have on your uncle, it’s hard to make recommendations. Vital records were kept by both the state and city. You will probably need an exact death date for the state to search.

  18. nanjones wrote on :

    Try local cemeteries, findagrave.com, or internment.net. Deaht certificates are available through the state’s vital records division. A multiyear search costs more. Try the local obits in the papers around that time period and the city directories.

  19. nanjones wrote on :

    Death certificates are available through the vital records of the state. Go on line to see how you obtain that. If you know the year it helps. Doing a multi year search costs more. How aboout cemeteries? Try findagrave.com or interment.net, try the obituaries, or deathindexes.com. Or try the cemeteries that are online for that area. Newspapers and citiy directories help, too.

  20. adnil1962 wrote on :

    PS – someone had suggested checking the SSDI on Ancestry.com – please note that the Social Security Act was not signed until August 1935. The information in the Death Index for people who died between 1935 and 1962 is sketchy since SSA’s death information was not automated before that date. Death information for persons who died before 1962 is generally only in the Death Index if the death was actually reported to SSA after 1962, even though the death occurred prior to that year.

  21. adnil1962 wrote on :

    Try http://www.fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html, it’s a free newspaper site with over 15 million New York papers. Read up on searching using the OCR technology and be creative with your searches! Also try this site: http://www.italiangen.org/NYCDeath.stm – it is an Italian Genealogy site but includes an index of many New York City deaths of all nationalities. It would be helpful if you posted his name here with any other information that you know (like birth date, citation information for the 1910 census, etc.) – Maybe someone could help you find the record!!

  22. BranchingOutGenealogy wrote on :

    Is your ultimate goal a copy of his death certificate? If not, what is your goal? Maybe we could start on a smaller task that would perhaps lead, ultimately, to the certificate.

    • Helene Wollin wrote on :

      The goal is to try to find out exactly what happened. In the family, the story is that he was murdered for his watch, which is a little weird, since I HAVE the watch in my possession. Considering that the story from another branch of the family was that he was a minor thug with a gang (he even had his own ‘thug’ name, which was “Spunky Conner”), I actually believe that he just got into trouble with someone and that person came after him in the Turkish bath (the habit of young men ‘out on the town’ at that time, apparently was to not go home drunk, but to go sleep it off in the Turkish bath). So if there is a newspaper story about it and I have that, then that’s the goal here.

    • Galapoochi wrote on :

      I would certainly suggest you send for a copy of the death certificate since you have a date of death and certificate number – if you have not already done so, I will be happy to check it out for you the next time I am at the NYC Municipal Archives – should be sometime during the next two weeks. Can’t remember exactly how much they charge for a photocopy but probably about $6.00 or so. Info on the death certificate will include names of his spouse and parents, as well as the address where he was residing and his place of birth. This should help you to decide whether or not Alexander Conner was your Samuel Conner. Names are always problematical – I searched for a Richard Pierrepont for months – kept coming across a Warren Pierrepont with the same date of birth except that it was off by one year. Finally found out through census and military records that it was indeed the same person – named Warren at birth, recorded as Richard at death – remember that the informant who provides the information for a death certificate may not always know the true story.
      If he died in Richmond, it may be that he also lived there. You may want to get in touch with the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences (SILAS) – they maintain a database of Staten Island (Richmond County) records and newspapers, including the Staten Island World from 1902-1915 and the Staten Island Advance (not sure what dates are covered). I don’t think they have a website – you can contact them by mail or phone –
      Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences
      75 Stuyvesant Place
      Staten Island, NY 10301
      Telephone 718/727-1135
      They charge $20 per hour, so you may want to speak to someone first before authorizing a search – in-person searches are $5.00 per day, plus the cost of photocopying.

  23. diamond1868 wrote on :

    Have you tried the site http://www.italiangen.org? There is an index for NYC records with the death records going to 1948. This will tell you which borough and a certificate number as well as the date. You can search by different ways with the name such as only first name, sounds like or with wild cards.
    Hope this helps. I know NYC can be frustrating as I work with those records on a regular basis.

    • Helene Wollin wrote on :

      Well, this certainly gets curious. If you look at the 1910 Census, my great uncle is listed as Samuel Conner (along with his twin, my great aunt Lilly), and with the ages, it looks like they were born in 1892. At Italiangen.org, there is no Samuel Conner in the death index. BUT my uncle, inside the family was referred to as “Zender”, which is the Yiddish form of Alexander, and there IS an Alexander Conner on the death index with a date of death of Feb. 21, 1912, and an age that pretty much follows along with the date of birth. The county is Richmond and the Certificate number is 234. But I’m wondering why he’s listed on the Census as Samuel?

    • diamond1868 wrote on :

      If the person giving the information to the census taker had a heavy accent, “Zender” could have sounded like “Samuel” and so was written as such.

    • diamond1868 wrote on :

      If you are near a Family History Lib. you can order the film with this record and check the info. There is also a 1905 NY census that you may want to check how the name is spelled.

    • susaneking wrote on :

      Can certainly have the death record pulled in a few days. Sometimes we have to use a process of elimination. It is also possible he was Samuel Alexander or Alexander Samuel and used the names interchangeable. Happened a lot. As diamond1868 mentions, it could be the enumerator. Make sure you look at the actual census document. It could also be those tasked with indexing the census records. We correct these all the time.


  24. amiddleman wrote on :

    Try archives.com. They have newpaper articles going back a long way.

  25. sshayward wrote on :

    Did you check with the New York City Department of Health? Also, New York State offers death certificates on-line at a cost but sometimes it can be lengthy. Do you know what county he died in?
    There are five counties or boroughs in New York City: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan), Queens, and Richmond (Staten). Check with the town clerk or the county clerk and recorder.
    Also, you may wish to check with the local library in the county where he died.
    Check the NYGENWEB (free), and select the right county which may give you some more info on where records are kept. Not every state of county handles their records the same way so it is best to check with each entitiy. Sometimes you can place a query on a county website – I personally have been helped tremendously by the volunteers.
    Once you determine the county, you should also be able to know what newspaper – and then check to see if the newspaper is on-line at the library. Our local library houses a genealogy department and they do some searches locally and they house digital copies of the local newspapers. This should keep you busy for awhile.

  26. relativelycurious wrote on :

    There are several excellent websites with digitized newspapers. The New York Times archive from 1853-1922 is available online at http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?srchst=p
    GenealogyBank.com is a subscription site, but an excellent one. Good luck.

  27. EJPells wrote on :

    Was the response that certificate was not found because you didn’t have the exact date, or was a search conducted for the entire decade? The other option is if you know where he may have been buried, perhaps a headstone might help with an exact date. News papers are a great source as well, as stated before. Some newspapers are available online at genealogybank.com, also some bigger libraries may have some NYC issues on microfilm.

  28. dhooper wrote on :

    Records clerks aren’t always the most helpful people. If you do not live near New York to search the indexes yourself, I would suggest hiring a genealogist to search them for you. Genealogists often know more about the records than the records clerks. You can find someone specializing in the New York City area by searching by location on the Association of Professional Genealogists website at http://www.apgen.org. Another way, which will be inexpensive but slower, is to try to request someone to look for the death certificate through the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness website at http://www.raogk.org. Volunteers offer their services through this website. My other thought is that family lore is often that–“lore.” Have you tried looking for him in the 1920 census? Also, have you tried finding his gravesite? That could give you a date of death. Findagrave.com is a good site for searching for cemetery information. Keep me posted–this sounds interesting!

    • Helene Wollin wrote on :

      Yes, I have searched for him in the 1920 census – not there. And my dad was born in 1917, so we have a window of 1910 through 1917 to work with. The only thing I know I picked up from another branch of the family – the guy was considered a punk – was obviously part of the underworld at the time.

  29. fmulherin wrote on :

    Historical newspapers would be a great place to start.

  30. JaniceMSJ wrote on :

    You might want to try looking for him in city directories starting with 1909 or 1910 and see when he is no longer listed to try to narrow down the likely year of death. You didn’t say what your great-uncle’s name was, but it is possible it isn’t spelled the same way on the death certificate as what you are accustomed to.

  31. tinarozelle wrote on :

    I would contact the newspaper or criminal records. Surely there is a record of it since it was a homicide. If I can b of any other service, contact me at info@southernfamilyhistory.net

  32. mmulvihill1958 wrote on :

    Try the Social Security Death Index, available on Ancestry.com, and ask the family if they recall where he was buried. Also look at alternate name spellings.

  33. scottishgenealogist wrote on :

    I only have access to Scottish records here in Edinburgh but I’m sure another FOF in the US will be able to help you – maybe try newspaper archives to see if the story was reported or look for an obituary? Sorry not to be of more help 🙂

  34. rrjwj wrote on :

    You may find him in police records for victims of crimes. If you do you may be able to get a lot of information about him, including date of birth and death. Or you could look in newspaper archives for about the time and place of death. Ancestry.com has both databases. Familysearch.org is a free site and may have more information. And perhaps a check of the NARA website. If nothing else works-just try googling his name and the place and date of murder. It is amazing what you can bring up on google. If none of those ideas work, just email me again through FOF. I will look up other sites. Thank you. Rachel Johnson

  35. photodetective wrote on :

    Have you tried searching newspapers? The New York Public Library’s Milstein Division is a good place to start. http://legacy.www.nypl.org/research/chss/lhg/research.html

    • Helene Wollin wrote on :

      No – because the NYPL does not have these available online – I’d have to go to New York City and spend time to do that.

    • photodetective wrote on :

      The New York Times archive is online usually through larger libraries, or individuals can purchase specific articles they find through online searches. The other option is to hire a professional genealogist familiar with NYC records. A list is available through the Association of Professional Genealogists http://www.apgen.org

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