Declarant/witness on death records

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Declarant/witness on death records

Postby jkingb » 24 Mar 2014, 20:18

I am curious whether (on death records circa 1800s) there were any restrictions as to the relationship of the declarant (or witness) to the deceased. I have several death records that I am trying to connect (same surname, unknown relationship), and in some cases the declarant is the same individual, but I am not sure if this is significant in any way. Did one of the two declarants generally have to be a family member -or could it have been just anybody? Interestingly, I recall having seen a particular name on multiple 1880-90 death records as the declarant, followed by "messe/o communal", which I am guessing is someone who officially worked for the commune, and therefore probably unrelated to the deceased. Is this correct? It seems that in some cases, the declarant information does not provide much useful information, and in other cases it does..
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Re: Declarant/witness on death records

Postby erudita74 » 24 Mar 2014, 21:27

The declarants or informants on a death record may or may not be related to the deceased-normally these individuals were relatives, neighbors, or acquaintances of the deceased, but the relationship of these individuals to the deceased is often not specified in a death record. Sometimes records will indicate that they lived on the same street as the deceased. Witnesses, on the other hand, were normally individuals who just hung out at the town halls and served as witnesses as needed, receiving financial compensation for doing so.

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Re: Declarant/witness on death records

Postby jkingb » 24 Mar 2014, 21:59

Thank you again, Erudita. You have been wonderful!

I am attaching a record of interest, which I should have attached originally. I am curious about Carlo Mondo. He appears on another death record I found, that I am trying to connect to the deceased in the attached record, Tommaso Dassetto. Following Carlo's age are the words "messo (or messe) communale" - not sure what that means. But I am curious about the refinance to him later in the record -in the section describing the time and place of Tommaso's death. I would be grateful for any help with this - just the few words that refer to Carlo in that section. I have some thoughts, but not sure I'm correct..

Thanks!
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Re: Declarant/witness on death records

Postby erudita74 » 25 Mar 2014, 01:41

"messo communale" translates to "town messenger."

I see that there isn't an occupation given for the other declarant/informant in the record. Personally I don't think that Carlo's occupation as "messo communale" plays any role in him being a declarant in the record, or in any way indicates a relationship between him and the deceased. He was a town employee, an elected one, I believe, but references I see on the internet in relation to "messo communale" indicate to me that he was a messenger for the notification of acts of the current administration. His position had nothing to do with him declaring deaths of town residents at the town hall, as far as I know.

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Re: Declarant/witness on death records

Postby jkingb » 25 Mar 2014, 02:11

Thank you so much for the input! So he may be connected to this family? In other words, his occupation likely did not involve the general reporting of town deaths, correct? As I mentioned, he appears on another record I have (same surname) and I was hoping that fact might establish a connection between the two decedents (i.e., a closer connection than the shared surname alone).

I also see that I misread part of the record- I previously mistook one of the words "meddio, or moddio" or similar for Mondo.. It looked like Carlo was written afterward.. I wasn't looking very carefully. But that is why I mentioned a reference in the death time/place section. I attached an image of the few lines. Not sure what they mean, if anything.
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Re: Declarant/witness on death records

Postby erudita74 » 25 Mar 2014, 05:11

To clarify-there are two different men with the first name Carlo mentioned in this record. The first is the one with the last name Mondo, who was the declarant and the town messenger. The second was Signor Carlo Maddio in whose house the death took place.

I can't say whether the declarant, Carlo Mondo,was a family member or not.

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Re: Declarant/witness on death records

Postby jkingb » 25 Mar 2014, 05:42

Understood. Thank you. At first I only paid attention to "Carlo", and I gathered that the death took place in his house. I was thinking it was the house of Carlo Modno, which of course is not the case.. And although the exact relationship of Carlo Mondo'to the decedent isn't clear from this record, it sounds like his profession, "messo comunale" (versus bricklayer, for example,) at least doesn't lessen the likelihood that he was a relative..
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Re: Declarant/witness on death records

Postby erudita74 » 25 Mar 2014, 14:33

Hopefully you will find some other record which will determine that the declarant is related. As always, happy to help you.
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