Find Your Dead in Texas!

Innis Family Tree

It’s time to take a short break from Ancestry and I have heard from friends that the Texas Death Certificates are online, so that’s where I’m going to start. If you are not checking out the new records being posted on FamilySearch – now is the time. Once on the site, mouse over Search Records and select Record Search Pilot from the drop down menu. Below the fill in blocks you will see a magnifying glass with Browse our record collection and select it. Click on Canada, USA and Mexico and all the available collections for North America come up. Texas Death Index 1964-1998 with no images or Texas Deaths, 1890-1976 are the two options – I headed for 1890–1976 because I want images.

I put in Thomas Innis and was rewarded with a couple entries. Thomas Ballard’s information is on the first screen when you select it – this includes his parents.1 Selecting the image in the upper right corner was even more rewarding. It is the full death certificate and I also notice that while the Record Details list his father as Thomas W., the actual image sure that looks like an H., and his mother is listed as L.W. Davis, it looks to me like E.N. Since I know from the census records that her name was Elizabeth it becomes pretty easy to see. You can save or print the image for your files.

I went to the second available record and it is for Tom Innis as the father of the deceased female Liva Caldonia Taylor.2 She is born in Kentucky in 1883 and her father is Tom Innis of Kentucky. My best guess based on age is that she is probably the daughter of Thomas H. Innis and is the seventh child that I had previously listed as unknown.

As we have just seen, FamilySearch has indexed the records based on the names of the deceased and on parent’s names. This opens up a lot of research possibilities, so I promptly changed my search to a last name of Innis with no other information and had 105 hits. This includes people with the name McInnis that were indexed with a space between the Mc and Innis. It also included the surname of Dennis. I backed up and added Thomas as a first name and had five. The Tom Innis father of Liva Caldonia Taylor, and also the Thomas W. listed as the father of Thomas B. that we discussed and a Mc Innis. But there is also the record for Thomas H. Innis who is the father of Thomas B.3

This is a report of death by a doctor so it’s not as helpful as a full death certificate, but I can’t complain. His date of death, 8 February 1908, and cause of death is clearly noted and we know where he died and his age in years and dates. Using my favorite Tombstone Birthday Calculator I now know his date of birth was 22 January 1843. Not a bad haul for less than five minutes of work.

1. Texas, death certificate no. 11162 (29 Jun 1910), Thomas Ballard Innis; digital image, FamilySearch, “Texas Deaths, 1890-1976,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 Jan 2010).
2. Texas, death certificate no. 58736 (22 Oct 1956), Liva Caldonia [Innis] Taylor; digital image, FamilySearch, “Texas Deaths, 1890-1976,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 Jan 2010).
3.Texas, Doctor’s Report of Death no. 28537 (8 Feb 1908), Thomas H. Innis; digital image, FamilySearch, “Texas Deaths, 1890-1976,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 Dec 2009).

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