Monday, July 29, 2013

Madness Monday ~ That's Not A Real Death Certificate!

I recently ordered the death certificate of Samuel Pig[g]ot from St. Clair County, Michigan; or, what I thought was going to be the death certificate of Samuel Piggot, silversmith. I am trying to get all my ducks in a row and make sure my Piggot family is documentally sound.

I learned absolutely nothing from this certificate other than he died of old age. The genealogist in me went "grrr!" There are no parents names, or burial information. The probable third great niece in me was very saddened to think that Samuel died alone with no family around him. The certificate says there was no informant, no one to fill in the blanks.

I couldn't understand why his death wasn't recorded until June 2, 1886, when he died October 31, 1885. All kinds of things went through my mind. Were they waiting for someone to claim the body? I was Googling like crazy trying to find an answer. Then I stumbled on to the FamilySearch Wiki about the Michigan Death Records.

It seems that from 1867 to 1897,  Michigan counties were only canvased annually and recorded the deaths that took place the year preceding the first Monday in April. Death certificates weren't required until 1897. 

I sure wish I would have checked out FamilySearch before I ordered it. I could have saved myself $10! They have the actual images of the Return of Deaths in the county of St. Clair.

I can't find any death records for Samuel's wife Euphemia. I'm afraid she fell between the cracks and is among the deaths that didn't get reported.  I'm sure she died before he did. I can't imagine that he moved to Michigan from New York without her. He was last recorded in New York in the directory in 1892.

So basically all I got was a piece of paper that the current county clerk, transcribed from the record book.

Lesson learned: Google, google, and google some more before reaching into the pocket book!

Leslie Ann

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sarah Ann Handley, The Key to Piggott Doors

A couple of days ago I received the death certificate of Sarah Ann Handley. From census information I figured that she was the aunt of George W. Piggott, artist and I just had a gut feeling that she was connected to my 3rd great-grandfather George Washington Piggott, but I wasn't sure how.

After I gave her death certificate the once over and compared it to all my notes, I was flabbergasted at what I discovered. She was my third great aunt!

Sarah died June 3, 1884 of exhaustion due to probable cancer of omentum. Her age at death was seventy four years, three months, and 16 days. After calculating I came up with a birthdate of September 19, 1809. Wait a minute, that's the same exact birth date I have for Sarah Ann Piggott. Then I noticed that their death dates are the same! I have had the info on Sarah Piggott since 1994. Her birth and death information came from LDS Temple records of proxy baptisms and listed Abbie Ann Piggott as the relative. She was George Washington Piggott's daughter.

Oddly, this death certificate doesn't ask for parent's names, but where they were born. Sarah Handley's father was born in London, England. Guess what? So was Sarah Piggott's. Their mother's were both born in New York. Hmm.

Now the Sarah Ann Handley,  mother of Theodore Wallace Handley, I have been chasing around in the census records showed birth dates of about 1820, not 1809. There's one more thing I needed to check before I was certain this was the same Sarah Handley from the census records.

According to the death certificate Sarah died at her home, 336 East 17th street, New York. A look at the New York City 1884 directory reveals that Theodore W. Handley, Lawyer is indeed living at that same address. And, guess who else was living there? You guessed it, George W Piggott.

Another clue is that Sarah Piggott's sister Phoebe who was married to Jacob Handley, lost a five year old child named Theodore Wallace Handley on June of 1838. Sarah Ann Handley's son Theodore Wallace Handley was born about 1838.

So I think that this is enough evidence to say that Sarah Ann Handley and Sarah Ann Piggott are one and the same. Now I see that her sister Augusta also shaved about ten years off of her age. Those tricksy Piggott girls!

So where does George W. Piggott the artist fit into all of this? His death certificate states his father's name was William. I did find this passenger information:

Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945
Wm  Piggott - merchant
Arrival Date:
1 Sep 1840
31 Years
Estimated Birth Year:
abt 1809
Port of Departure:
La Guaira and Puerto Cabello, Venezuela
Ship Name:
Port of Arrival:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Microfilm Roll Number:

Source Citation:  Roll:  M425_57;  Line:  3

The birth date matches with Sarah and Augusta's brother William, who was born in 1809.  He was actually Sarah's twin. Which makes perfect sense why little 7 year old George W. would be sent to live with his aunt Sarah in February of 1860 after his father died in December of 1859.

So this means that George W. Piggott, artist is my first cousin 4 times removed.

I have been trying to put this Piggott family together for years! This death certificate really made me do the happy dance!

Leslie Ann

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday's Obituary ~ George Piggott

New York Herald November 26, 1896, pg 14

I happened upon another obituary for George W. Piggott, artist. It's as short as the other one, but it reveals some other clues and answers the question I had about why he was sent to America alone when he was a child.

George Piggott, a portrait artist and a native of South America, died last Sunday after an illness resulting from blood poisoning. His father, an American citizen, was killed during an uprising of slaves in the tropics, and the child was sent to the United States by the American Consul. He studied art in Rome, and was recently associated with the art department of a large New York firm.

 Now if I can only find information on his father William Piggott, who was killed in a slave uprising.

Leslie Ann

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

George W. Piggot Death Certificate

I have finally received the death certificate of George W. Piggott, the artist, from The City of New York Municipal Archives. I did learn a few things, but not enough to pinpoint his parents. Plus, there are more contradictions -- Grr!

George died of Typhoid Fever and contributing cause was Acute Myocarditis. He was buried at Cypress Hills on Nov 24, 1896. I have set up a Find A Grave memorial in the hopes that someone can find his headstone and take a photo.

For some reason his occupation is listed as watchmaker. His birthplace is listed as Venezuela, like his obit and a passenger list that I mentioned in the earlier post, but his passport application states that he was born in the U.S. Now why would you apply for a U.S. passport if you were not already a citizen?

His father is listed as William and I am assuming his last name is also Piggott. His mother is listed as Mary and no maiden name (grr!). So there's really not much to go on.

According to George's obituary his mother was from Venezuela, but here it states she was born in the United States.

So now I am on the search for William and Mary Piggott.

Wish me luck!

Leslie Ann


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