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Tracking Family Members with Lack of Records

Tracking Family Members with Lack of Records

Publicado: 1572121518000
Clasificación: Consulta
Hi!

I'm looking into some family roots and came across a great-grandmother whom we lose track of starting in 1947. She supposedly was institutionalized in a mental hospital in southeast Pennsylvania starting in the late 1940s or early 1950s, but we cannot find any information to confirm or deny this. We assume that any hospital she was in is closed.

Any ideas where I may be able to find some information?

Re: Tracking Family Members with Lack of Records

Publicado: 1572122721000
Clasificación: Consulta
Even if the institutiuon is closed, if it was a state-operated facility (likely the case), the records should exist somewhere or the facility itself may well still exist although under a different name. For instance, I am from California and know that some facilities that were in operation in the 1930s and 1940s still operate and are under the same names as then.

I would start with internet searches for likely facilities in the geographic area, and then try to determine what happened to them. For instance, newspaper articles in or near the location likely would note the closing of a facility. If state-operated, you may be able to contact the state's health agency (whatever it is called) and find out who has records and whether they can be accessed by family members - if not the full records, then confirmation of the patient's admission.

Keep in mind, also, that some facilities (especially if old enough) had cemeteries on the grounds - you could also explore whether she might have been buried there, or in a nearby cemetery in the same area. Have you checked to see whether there is a death certificate on file in Pennsylvania? I don't know that state's rules, but you might be able to get a copy and it should give the place of death (at least the town and county, if not the facility name).

Re: Tracking Family Members with Lack of Records

Publicado: 1572123601000
Clasificación: Consulta
Thank you, this is great insight! Unfortunately, this is an assumption that she was institutionalized, but if we had to guess, it would have been a state-operated facility in Philadelphia or the surrounding suburbs.

The only glimpse we have of her after 1947 is a possibility that she was living in Pottstown, PA in the mid- to late-1960s, but it is unknown why she would have been in that area (her 3 (?) daughters, one of which was my grandmother, were split up in the late 1940s...my grandmother was raised by an aunt and uncle and her two sisters (neither of whom we've been able to find information on) were adopted together by a family in the Norristown, PA area)

Re: Tracking Family Members with Lack of Records

Publicado: 1572124869000
Clasificación: Consulta
Pennsylvania death certificates through 1967 are available on Ancestry. You can search by names of parents which is useful if you have some doubt about what her name may have been at death.
https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/padeathcollectio...
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Re: Tracking Family Members with Lack of Records

Publicado: 1572125730000
Clasificación: Consulta
Editada: 1572125863000
You might also want to see if you can find her in the Social Security claims index (either from when she first enrolled, or when a claim was made by her or as her dependent). That often also has parents names so might be discoverable on a search of parents' names, and it should give you a progression of surnames if she married more than once and also changed her name with Social Security.

Also, the general Philadelphia area could be viewed as including nearby New Jersey locations so you might want to look there as well.

Re: Tracking Family Members with Lack of Records

Publicado: 1572128631000
Clasificación: Consulta
Have you looked for her in newspapers?

What was her name (maiden and married)?

Re: Tracking Family Members with Lack of Records

Publicado: 1572179339000
Clasificación: Consulta
Editada: 1572179400000
I think it would help you to have a little more background information on Mary so that you can trace her forward. I've taken a look at your tree and have a couple of suggestions.

For instance, the informant on this death certificate for Anna Kovatch (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/5164/42342_647680_0937-...) was Mary Brazel--the person I think was your great-grandmother and presumably the daughter of the deceased. Anna was the wife of Paul Kovatch, and the daughter of Michael Krause and Josephine Orose. (A death certificate for Mary Krause Dezura shows the same parents: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/5164/42342_2321306652_0.... Note her contributory cause of death.)

Anna Kovatch's obituary states that her husband and father survived her, as well as daughters Mary, "wife of Raymond Brazel" and Agnes Marie, at home. Agnes is found with Raymond and Mary in the 1940 census. Paul Kovatch and his new wife, Mary, and Agnes are found in the 1956 city directory of Pottstown (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2469/3008925?pid=192467...), so there's a Pottstown connection.

With the information about Mary Kovatch's parents, Anna and Paul, and her approximate date of birth, you might be able to obtain her birth certificate. Then, armed with her exact birth date, you might find her in the Social Security death index, whatever her name at death might have been.

Re: Tracking Family Members with Lack of Records

Publicado: 1572194993000
Clasificación: Consulta
Thank you so much! This is great information.

Looking through the links you provided, Anna Kovatch seems to line up as Mary's mother. Would you be able to provide a link for Anna's obituary?

I've also been trying to find more information about Agnes Marie, since she is listed on the 1940 census with Raymond, Mary, and their daughter (my grandmother, born in 1939). There is also a possibility that they had one or two other daughters (supposedly, one older and one younger than my grandmother). Since we know very little about them at all, we've always wondered if Agnes Marie was the "older sister". The only information we have is a possible family name after they were adopted, but those searches haven't turned up any results.

I have a decent amount of information on Raymond Brazel, but I still lose most of his story from 1947 thru his death in 1969.

Re: Tracking Family Members with Lack of Records

Publicado: 1572195514000
Clasificación: Consulta
Agnes' obituary is here:

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99N5-V9RY?i...

Also, one Brazel daughter was born 29 Aug 1947, according to newspaper articles. No first name was given.

Re: Tracking Family Members with Lack of Records

Publicado: 1572197272000
Clasificación: Consulta
Editada: 1572197381000
You won't be able to see Anna's obituary unless you have a subscription to Newspapers.com (although it might be available elsewhere--try Googling). I will quote it here. I've left the (mis)spellings the way they appear in the article.

Funeral services for MRS. ANNA KOVATCH, 41, Stowe native, will be held Monday morning at 8:30 o’clock in her home, 134 Third street, Bridgeport. Solemn requiem mass will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. in Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic church, Bridgeport. Interment will be made in St. Augustine’s cemetery, that borough.
Mrs. Kovatch, wife of Paul Kovatch, died Thursday afternoon of a complication of ailments, following a six months' illness.
She was born in Stowe, a daughter of Michael and the late Josephine (O'Rose) Krouse, and resided in Bridgeport 19 years.
Besides her husband and father, Michael Krouse, Pottstown; two daughters, Mary wife of Raymond Brazel, and Agnes Marie Kovatch, at home; two brothers, Martin Krouse, Pottstown, and John Krouse, Elmer, N.J., and a sister, Mrs. Rose M. Pacifico, Cleveland, Ohio, survive.
The Mercury (Pottstown, Pennsylvania), 5 Nov 1938 - Sat. - p.3
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