Monday, March 20, 2023

ROOTSTECH/FHL FINDS ~ The death certificate for James F. Forsyth (1864-1951)


Now...where is that film?

It wouldn’t be a trip to the FHL if I wasn’t looking for records from my birth state, Michigan.  So many ancestors were born, married & died there.  It seems I never run out of records to look for.  As we know, not all are available online.

As always, I prepared ahead for my trip.  Finding which microfilms I needed to look at.  I had located the index for James’ death online.  However, you never get all the details in an index.  And, you run the risk of a mis transcription. 

Here is the index record.

Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952

Name: James Ferris Forsyth
Event Type: Death
Event Date: 01 Feb 1951
Event Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 86
Marital Status: Widowed
Birth Date: 01 Mar 1864
Birthplace: Michigan
Birth Year (Estimated): 1865
Father's Name: John Forsyth
Mother's Name: Catherine Ferris
GS Film number: 001973236
Digital Folder Number:005363696
Image Number: 01330

You can see the film number listed with other details, like the digital folder number and image number. #1,973,244 (Michigan, death certificates, 1912-1952).  Easily located and placed onto the microfilm reader.  The additional details of the digital folder number and image number help us find records on a microfilm. 

These records were arranged by date, so all I had to do was scroll through the film and find the year or years I was looking for.

I soon located February 1951 and found the certificate for James Ferris Forsyth who died on 1 Feb 1951 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.  James is the husband of my maternal great grandaunt, Louise Gillespie.  They were married for about 63 years. 

NOTE:  In writing this post I realize that I don’t have their exact marriage date, nor have I looked for any newspaper articles that would have announced their 50th or 60th anniversary.  Writing blog posts invariably leads me to look for more information on my ancestors. I will have a look for these items later.

Here is James’ death certificate.  You can enlarge it or zoom in to see details more clearly.

I now have further details, which confirm that I have the correct certificate (occupation, marital status, names of parents).  I can now record these details in my Legacy program and site this certificate as my source.

Another successful day at the Family History Library.  Yes, I found other records that day, but I’ll save those for another post.

If you are related to or connected to anyone in this blog post, please get in touch.  Let’s exchange information.


FRIDAY FINDS ~ Newspaper article for death/possible suicide of Ralph Gillespie Forsyth ~ 1952 (this was James & Louise’s son)

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

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2022   Diane Gould Hall



  1. Ahh, Elmwood Cemetery. I have ancestors there as well including my great-grandfather. He had been married 3 times; was he buried with his 1st wife (my great-grandmother) - NO. Not with his second wife, either. Finally I found him at Elmwood with his last wife to whom he had only been married 2 years. It is a huge cemetery which I am sure you know and I was pleased that the office staff was most helpful when I went in and asked if, by chance, they knew where a particular grave might be. They did and I quickly located my great-grandfather's grave.

    1. Ahhh, indeed. I love Elmwood Cemetery. It's beautiful and the staff is very helpful. I have visited twice during my genealogy trips back to Michigan. And, LOL, you wouldn't expect your great grandfather to be buried with the last wife, but they do surprise us. Thanks for stopping by.


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.