Correcting a Date of Death with Virginia Vital Records

One of the first lines I worked on when I began researching on the internet was my grandmother Myrtle Hazel ROOP‘s line. Over the years I learned there were several researchers who worked on the ROOP and collateral lines. I am so grateful to them for sharing their work.

Before I go on with the actual reason for this post I’d like to mention three of these researchers.

Linda Pearl Dickey Roop (1943-1994) collaborated with Everette Llavon McGREW (1923-2008) on a book on the ROOP family. The summer of 1994 she was diagnosed with cancer and died a month later. Everette took over the task of finishing the book which he titled My Mother Was A Rupe. He gave me an updated copy in 2002.

During his research trips back to Virginia he met Louise Roop Anderson Akers  (1933-2015) and they shared information. Louise and Everette did all their research the old way. They visited court houses, cemeteries, families, etc. collecting information, photos, and documents. Louise also put together her information in a book, The Family Rub, Rup, Rupe, Roop, Roope. I bought a copy of the book and later she gifted me a hardcover copy for Christmas 2001.

I began entering information from both of the books into my database. Both are compilations of dates and places of birth, marriage, deaths, residences. Neither have source citations but the second part of Louise’s book includes many photocopies of records she found. Unfortunately they are not linked in any way to the family groups in the front of the book.

As I entered the information I was able to confirm family relationships with census records. However I found dates and places I questioned and have wanted to find the answer to these for a long time.

One of these was the date of death of Nora M. ROOP and her husband Sherman LUCAS. Louise had the same date, 27 May 1941, for both Nora and Sherman while Everette had 27 May 1941 for Sherman and no date for Nora.

Screenshot of my database on RootsWeb’s World Connect

In my notes for Nora, above, I questioned the date of death being the same day as that of her husband (below).

Screenshot of my database on RootsWeb’s World Connect

In my January 1st post, In 2016 I’m Going To…., I wrote about the four Virginia Vital Records databases at Ancestry I plan on working with since I signed up for my 6-month subscription during the holidays.

Nora’s certificate of death was one of the first I searched for in the Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014 database at Ancestry.

“Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014,” index and digital images,, citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia, State file no. 13052, Registration district no. 2600, Registered no. 37. Nora May Lucas, female, white, age 60, born 16 Oct 1880, died 27 May 1941 in Radford, Montgomery, Virginia, registration date 28 May 1941, father W C Roop, mother Hattie Simpkins, spouse S P Lucas. ( : accessed 30 December 2015).

The certificate of death for Nora May LUCAS confirms she died on 27 May 1941 as Louise wrote in her book. The next look up would be the certificate of death of her husband.

“Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014,” index and digital images,, citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia, Certificate of death no. 4113, Registration district no. 2600, Registered no. 11. Sherman Paris Lucas, male, white, age 70, born 25 Nov 1874, died 20 Feb 1945 in Radford, Montgomery, Virginia, registration date 5 Mar 1945, father Jacob Lucas, mother Celia Akers, spouse Nora Lucus. ( : accessed 31 December 2015).

Sherman Paris LUCAS died on 20 February 1945, not the same day as his wife.

I was right to question the dates of death. It doesn’t matter how the error was made or who made it. This isn’t about pointing fingers. The important thing is I searched and found the records to correct the error.

As I  work through the ROOP descendants I’ll be attaching the records and citing the sources to prove the dates found by earlier researchers. More importantly, if errors were made I’ll correct them and plan to write short posts about the corrections.

I have no plans of contacting owners of Ancestry Member Trees about corrections as this would be too time consuming.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

16 thoughts on “Correcting a Date of Death with Virginia Vital Records”

  1. Thank you for this look into our family! My mother (Peggy Clonch Bragg) has often talked about Aunt Becky Roop, but not her husband. I’ll have to ask her about him. So interesting……a photographer and a very loving person.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent sleuthing! It is always best to check the actual documents. I’ve found issues myself between data presented in an index versus data on the certificate itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are absolutely right to verify information, even when there is no obvious red flag like identical death dates. I have a family in which 3 people have the same death date, but in this case, the date is right as they died in a car wreck. I would not have known about that had I not questioned the identical dates.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My first assumption when I saw the dates was they died in an accident as I also have people in my family tree who died in house fires, drowning, railroad and road accidents. Thank you for commenting Wendy.


      1. I was shocked when I first started doing research to learn how unreliable death certificates, census records, etc., could be. Now I know to raise an eyebrow when something seems not quite right—like a husband and wife dying on the same day (unless it was a car acccident or plane crash).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Good Morning! My maternal grandmother’s mother was Nancy Elizabeth Roop, daughter of Joseph Melvin Roop and 3rd wife of George R. Adkins. Nancy or “Nannie” was born in either Virginia or Kentucky about 1874 and died in Livingston, Park County,Montana on April 11, 1964, two days before my 1st birthday. I am really looking forward to reading your posts about the Roop family!

    Liked by 1 person

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