Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tabitha Watson Death Certificate and Headstone - The Trouble With Dates

Missouri State Board of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Certificate of death, No. 13796
Tobetha Ann WATSON
Died 9 Feb 1937 in Birch Tree, Bartlett Township, Shannon County, Missouri 
[where she also resided]
Born 4 Mar 1846 in Missouri, aged 90 yrs, 11 mo, 5 days at time of death
She was widowed, but her husband's name was Samuel H Watson
Her Father's name was Hull House, and he was born in Missouri
Her Mother's name was Millie Thompson and her date and place of birth were unknown to the informant
The informant was Malinda Moore of Thomasville, MO
She was buried in Union Hill Cemetery on 10 Feb 1937 by John Duncan of Mt View, MO
Cause of death was "Senile Gangrene"
Death certificate was filed 10 Feb 1937 by R. J. Davis, M. D. of Birch Tree, MO 
(his name was also in the field of Registrar). 

I downloaded this death certificate from the Missouri Digital Heritage Site, online database of death certificates from 1910-1960 in March, 2012. It downloaded as a PDF and since I cannot import a PDF into a blog post, I took a screen shot and saved it as a JPG and uploaded the JPG to this blog post. It might be grainy or difficult to read. I have provided the transcript above. 

Tabitha/Tobetha (House) Watson was my 3rd great-grandmother. She was the daughter of Hollingsworth HOUSE and Millie THOMAS. The name on her death certificate for her mother Millie was incorrect as it should be THOMAS and not Thompson. 

There is some discrepancy about the spelling of Tabitha's name. Tabitha's headstone, obituary, and death certificate, all presumably created about the same time, each have a different spelling of her name and different birth and death dates as well! Malinda Moore was the informant on her death certificate. She was a daughter of Tabitha and Samuel Watson. 

Samuel Watson was Tabitha's 2nd husband. She was married 1st to Robert King, July 28, 1870 in Howell County, Missouri. I found their marriage record in the Howell County, MO marriage book. Robert King died in 1876 and Tabitha "King" remarried to Samuel Watson in 1879. I also found their marriage record as well. Samuel Watson preceded Tabitha in death as well in 1925. They were both buried side by side in Union Hill Cemetery in Oregon County, Missouri. Here is a photo of their headstone: 

I can't remember who sent me a copy of this headstone, and as you can see, it's not a very good quality scan and cannot be blown up. The photo on Tabitha's FindAGrave memorial page is a little bit better. According to the headstone, Tabitha died January 9th, 1938. This date is off quite a bit from her obituary and death certificate which both say she died February 9th, 1937! I wonder why there is such a discrepancy? 

If you would like to cite this article, please include the following: Ginger R Smith, "Tabitha Watson Death Certificate and Headstone - The Trouble With Dates," Genealogy by Ginger, posted 24 May 2012 (http:// : accessed [access date]). 


  1. Hi Ginger,

    Watson could they have come from Massachusetts. There are lots of Watson descendants North of Boston. Maybe some of your sictant cousins. I do not know how common the Watson name is though.

    I have come to understand some names could be so many different families. Such as Townsend the name was given to the family that lived at the end of the town. So how many towns can have the name Townsend for a family. So did this mean there could be 2 families names Townsend for each town??? Is't Genealogy so much fun.

    Thank you for your comment & kindness.

    1. Yes, I think the Watsons are from New England somewhere, either MA or PA. They were a huge bunch in MO, so I'm sure they started off as a huge bunch up there as well! They were also a rowdy bunch out there in the Midwest. Makes me wonder what they were like up North?

      That is interesting about the name Townsend. Who would have thought?

      Thanks for stopping by here as well. Love your blog posts. Keep them coming!