Reminder to myself: Follow up!

geowadamssoldiershomecroppedOn January 3, I wrote to the Vermilion, Illinois, County Clerk’s office, requesting a death certificate for George Washington Adams (my paternal grandfather’s grandfather), who I believe died at the National Home for Disabled Volunteers Soldier in Danville, Illinois. I had located a George Washington Adams of the right age at the home on the 1930 census and found a listing for a George Washington Adams in the Illinois Death Certificates Database . (“George Washington Adams” is an amazingly common name, by the way.)

Anyway, I wrote away for the death certificate, noted that the $12 check had been cashed, and never received acknowledgment. I figured it meant that no death certificate was available. Today,  four months later, I finally got around to calling the County Clerk’s office and inquiring. It turns out those efficient people had mailed the death certificate to me on January 8. I just never received it.

So I’m sending another check and they’re sending me another death certificate. I’m considerably cheered by the prospect that I’ll be able (I hope) to verify that this is indeed my George Washington Adams and that I’ll be able to glean some more information about him from it. Then I can go to Fold3 and start gathering information on his Civil War service.

The moral of the story: Next time I write for some information that I don’t receive, I’ll pick up the phone and inquire, rather than assuming the information wasn’t available!


  1. Adrian Wright says:

    I’m curious if you had to establish a familial relationship with George Adams to be able to get a copy of the death certificate. Oklahoma now seem to be now enforcing a requirement to prove a familial relationship ( paper trail etc) from the Applicant to the subject of the death certificate.
    Adrian Wright

    • Adrian, so I haven’t been asked to prove any familial relationship. I think it varies by state. If I recall correctly, when I was looking into getting some information from Oregon they had much stricter requirements. So far, I’ve written away for three documents from counties in two states (Illinois and California) and haven’t had to prove anything. Of course, some states, like Missouri, offer these up as a free download (pdf) to anybody. I feel so grateful to have been able to download a half dozen or more death certificates from Missouri virtually effortlessly!

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