|Death Certificate for Harriet L. F. Ballou. The red boxes highlight the two different death dates. Near the top it says, May 10, 1902. Further down the date of death is given as May 9, 1902.|
Harriet died from consumption in May of 1902. Her husband, being a physician, filled out the certificate of death as both the attending physician, providing information about Harriet's illness and death, and as the informant, providing personal information about Harriet and her family. The resulting death certificate lists two different dates for Harriet's death. At the top of the death certificate, it gives the date of death as May 10, 1902. Later, under "Cause of Death" Arthur Ballou states, "I hereby certify that I attended deceased from May 1900 to May 1902, that I last saw her alive on 5–9 1902, that she died on May 9, 1902 about 4 o'clock a.m."
Perhaps the fact that she passed in the wee hours of the morning confused her husband about the exact date of her death. Or perhaps he was too distraught and exhausted to think through the details. But whatever the reason, we are left with an ambiguous death certificate.
Fortunately, the discrepancy is only one day. Knowing exactly which date is correct doesn't really matter that much, except that it would satisfy my inner perfectionist.
|Harriet Ford was my second cousin, three times removed. The dark lines show the show the relationship between us.|
Notes on sources
I found Harriet L. F. Ballou's death certificate on the Seeking Michigan website, a free site with almost a million Michigan death records from the years 1897–1920.
Information about the marriage of Harriet Ford and Arthur Ballou is from the Register of Marriages in Great Barrington, takien from the Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620–1988 collection at Ancestry.com, image 856 of 1282 from Great Barrington : Births, Marriages and Death.
Arthur and Harriet Ballou were listed in the 1900 United States Federal Census in Richland, Montcalm County, Michigan. The census lists Cyrus M. Guild boarding with them. In 1904, he married Harriet's older sister, Mary Ford.