Sunday, August 27, 2017

Charles Brumfield's Obituary, Is it Accurate?

Recently I found this obituary for Charles Brumfield. 
Does it give the correct date of death?

Charles Brumfield
Born 1 Jan 1796, York, SC
Son of John B. Brumfield & Margaret Kelly
My 3rd great granduncle

Died at his residence in Yazoo county, on 29th July 1870 Charles Brumfield, a native of York District, South Carolina, for the last 60 years a resident of this state and for the last 40 years of Yazoo county, where he has reared a large and respectable family – a man of the strictest integrity – just and true in all the relations of life.

Source: Obituary. (Jackson, MS: The Semi-Weekly Clarion, 19 Aug 1870) 3; digital image, accessed July 2017.

I do not have a death certificate for Charles but I believe this obituary is accurate. It was created at the place and time of his death & not many years later. However, there are many people who use another date for his death.

Printed Genealogies.  Before discovering this obituary I had read about Charles Brumfield in printed genealogies. Those books agree on his death date as 7 August 1870. However, and this is important, those books had no sources. If those books had sources for this date I would go to those sources to try and discover why the 7 August date was used. Perhaps his will was probated on that date.

Find A Grave has two dates for Charles Broomfield, Memorial# 68935036. It uses the 7 August 1870 date in the description but the photo of the tombstone shows 7 September 1870. I believe the tombstone was placed at a later date. It does not look like an old stone. Again, I wonder at the source of this information.

Online Trees also use the 7 August 1870 date for the death of Charles Brumfield. Their only source is other online trees. No primary sources.

Opinion please. 
I’d like to hear what you think about the death date of Charles.


  1. I would most definitely believe a published obituary in the right time frame over many unsourced sites sharing a different date or a modern gravestone. I agree, it might be that probate began on 7 August. It's also possible that perhaps due to heavy rains or other weather conditions, he wasn't buried until 7 August.

  2. I'd say you can probably be sure he died before 19th August, Colleen, given they published his obituary. ;-) Are daily newspapers available, where you might find the funeral announcement?

  3. A week is a big discrepancy, so you end up wondering whether the first date was when he became ill or when he actually died, and whether the second date was when he died or when he was buried.

    1. Wendy, you're right. I just wish I knew where that 7 August date originated. If people cited sources I could follow it up.

  4. I would lean towards the obituary and follow the suggestions above and also find out if there are any cemetery records.

    1. Thanks, Anna. I am using Chronicling America to look for other newspapers reports of the death. Glad you stopped by & commented.


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