My Ancestral Town Disappeared From the Map!

Tracing Your Roots: Where to look when there’s no trace online of the town from where your family says it originated.

 
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In addition to searching through historic maps and atlases yourself, you may want to also considering contacting the Lowndes County Historical Society to see if any local historians have heard of a town or place called Hacot Eurville or a place with a similar sounding name. You might also search published and local histories about Lowndes County. A quick search of Google Books reveals that there are several books on the history and development of Lowndes County.

If you are unable to locate Hacot Eurville, there are several other possibilities that might explain this mystery. Perhaps the informant on the death record gave incorrect information for the death record, or maybe the record was transcribed incorrectly. The record you provided us is not an image of the original death record, but rather an online transcription. This sometimes leaves some room for error due to illegible writing. Given this, it is possible that there was a mistake when the record was transcribed and posted online. The best way to confirm that the place of birth listed is spelled correctly in the index entry is to look at a copy of the original record.

Finding Original Death Records

Obtaining vital records depends greatly on the time period and state that you are researching. Some images of original records are available online at genealogy sites, such as Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org, while others are only available through town and county clerk’s offices.

In addition to online records, the Family History Library also has death records that are available through a microfilm loan. You can search their catalog to find if they have records for the place and time you are researching and have the microfilm sent to a nearby affiliate library. As you search for death records, remember that some states restrict access to certain records, so you may not be able to see an image of the original record.

To learn more about how to obtain vital records for a specific state and time period, you can search for more information on the Family Search Research Wiki, which has more detailed information about obtaining vital records for each state.

Since your ancestor, Mose Whitfield, died in Hamilton County, Fla., in 1933, we looked for more information about obtaining vital records in the state of Florida. According to the Florida Department of Vital Statistics, anyone can order a death record for a fee of $5 as long as the cause of death is omitted from the record. You may want to order a copy of the death record to see how the place of birth is written on the record. Is it possible that it could be another town in Lowndes County?

In general, when researching using vital records, it is helpful to consider the source of information. Sometimes the informant was a distant relative who may be unsure of the details of the birthplaces of the deceased or information about their deceased’s parents. This could lead to incorrect information on vital records, which may be another reason why are unable to find Hacot Eurville.

Search for Records of Other Whitfield Relatives

Locating other members of the Whitfield family might also give you clues about Mose’s birthplace. As such, you will want to search for records of his children. Vital records occasionally list the place of birth of an individual’s parents, and this information could help shed light on Mose’s birthplace and confirm whether or not it was Hacot Eurville. Additionally, the index entry for Mose’s death record also lists his parents’ names. Using this information, you will want to find a record of the family in the 1870 U.S. Census, the first census year to fully enumerate African Americans by name, to see if you can find where Mose lived when he was young.

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