Wednesday, November 25, 2015

FOLLOW UP ~ Why did Ralph Forsyth jump from a 9th story hotel window to his death?


Copy of FORSYTH_Ralph_plunges_to_death_DFP_8_Mar_1952_pg_3_cropped

I wrote a post last week about a newspaper article I had located in the Detroit Free Press, about Ralph G. Forsyth.  You can read that post here.

The article did not answer the question as to whether Ralph fell, was pushed or jumped to his death.  I wanted to find out so I ordered his death certificate.  Rather than order from the State of Michigan directly, which costs $34, I chose to use a service I am aware of called Genealogists.com.  You can see their list of services and request a quote for the service you want.  All I wanted was a death certificate and I already had all the information as to which film it could be found on etc.  I located this information on seekingmichigan.org.  The images of the certificates on that site are only available through 1939, at this time.

Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952Name: Ralph G Forsyth
Event Type: Death
Event Date: 07 Mar 1952
Event Place:Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 55
Marital Status: Widowed
Birth Date: 10 Aug 1896
Birthplace: Michigan
Birth Year (Estimated): 1897
Father's Name: James Ferris Forsyth
Mother's Name: Louise Gillespie
GS Film number: 001973241
Digital Folder Number: 005363701
Image Number: 03254


I received a quote back from genealogists.com within 24 hours.  The quote was considerably less than $34.  I paid via PayPal and received the certificate by email the following day.

Here is the death certificate.  Everything on this certificate matches the information I already have for Ralph, including his date of birth, place of birth, parent’s names, where he worked and that he was a widower.  I have no doubt that this is the correct death certificate.

                    (CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT)

FORSYTH_Ralph G_death cert_1952_DetroitWayneMichigan_annotated
DEATH CERTIFICATE FOR RALPH G. FORSYTH - 1952

You can see from the items I have pointed out on the certificate, that Ralph’s death was ruled a suicide.  There was an autopsy and the death certificate is signed by the coroner.  I can also see that he was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.
 
Ralph left behind a daughter, Anne and a sister, Catherine.  I’m sure this must have been a very difficult time for the family.  Ralph’s wife had died at a young age, back in 1940.  Then in 1950 his mother died and in 1951 his father died.  Did these deaths lead to Ralph’s decision?  Was he “despondent” as stated in the news article, because of these deaths?

I called Woodlawn Cemetery and spoke to a staff member there.  She was extremely helpful and confirmed that Ralph is buried there and what part of the cemetery he is located in.  I have now created a memorial for him on findagrave.com.  You can visit his memorial here #155345077.


I only have one photo of Ralph.  Here he is shown with his sister, Catherine and his cousin, Irene Milne.  I’m glad to have at least this photo.

FORSYTH_Catherine & Ralph & Irene MILNE_enh
LEFT TO RIGHT - CATHERINE FORSYTH, RALPH FORSYTH AND IRENE MILNE

I have been to the cemetery and visited the graves of his parents at Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan.
FORSYTHE_James&Louise_headstone_Elmwood Cemetery_DetroitWayneMichigan
HEADSTONE FOR LOUISE G. AND JAMES F. FORSYTH, Parents of Ralph G. Forsyth














I located numerous articles about Ralph Forsyth and his wife Katherine in the Detroit Free Press.  From the articles I learned that they traveled and visited out of town relatives, and he attended various racing events.  I do hope they were happy.

FORSYTH_Ralph_off_to_attend_boat_race_DFP_28_May_1916_pg_60 FORSYTH_Mr__amp__Mrs_Ralph_return_from_trip_to_her_mother_DFP_28_Aug_1917_pg_7 FORSYTH_Ralph_attends_Indianapolis_race_DFP_28_May_1916_pg_14
OTHER POSTS THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST

AMANUENSIS MONDAY - My Grandmother's Journal records the birth of Anne Forsyth, daughter of Ralph & Katherine

MICHIGAN DEATH CERTIFICATE IMAGES RELEASED - 1921-1939

PLEASE contact me if you think you might be related, even remotely, to anyone mentioned in this blog.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2015   Diane Gould Hall
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  NO USE WITHOUT PERMISSION

2 comments:

  1. Ooh, $34, that's a lot. After ordering PA certs for $3, before they were on Ancestry, it was quite a shock to find they are $20 in my grandmother's home town in Ct. Have to settle for seeing the index for a lot of the ones I wanted. Good that you could find a way around it. Sad that he felt so alone.

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    Replies
    1. Anna,
      Yes, agreed, $34 is a lot for sure. I generally won't send for a death certificate for a 1st cousin twice removed. However, in this case, I did want to see whether the death was determined to be a suicide or not. I have a law enforcement background and sometimes I just "have to know." I was able to get that certificate for $20, which was reasonable enough for me to go ahead with it. I too have gotten certs for as little as $5. The free online images are even better. Yes, always a sad thing when someone takes their own life.
      Thanks for stopping by.

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I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.