Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hattie Bryant's Death Certificate from Texas Vital Records

Hattie Bryant (1888-1944) was the daughter of Guy Bryant (1860-1910?) and Amanda Mariah Martin (1863-1920?). She was my father's grandmother. Although she was married briefly to a man named Christy Morales, she apparently went by the name Bryant throughout all of her life.

I recently obtained Hattie Bryant's death certificate from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The cost was $20, and it arrived in about 10 days time. Most importantly, it was a certified copy. A certificate of a death more than 50 years ago is a public record in the state of Texas and certified copies may be obtained by anyone.

Texas allows death certificates to be ordered and paid for online. However, the individual's date of birth and date of death as well as parents' names must be provided. I have about four other requests from the state of Texas pending. I was impressed that an analyst from the vital records office called me concerning one of the request to clarify some information. I've been very satisfied with the service that Texas provides concerning vital records.

I knew that Hattie Bryant had died on June 1, 1944, because I had seen online a document from the Cage Funeral Home in Aransas Pass, Texas. According to that document, the funeral arrangements were made by Hattie's daughter Jessie, my grandmother. [At the time, my grandmother Jessie had been married to a man named Exa Givan. The funeral home document misspells her last name.] So I was a bit surprised that the death certificate gave the name of the informant as "Georgia Bryant." I had never heard the name Georgia Bryant at all. A quick search of census records reveals several people with the surname Bryant, including Georgia, in the area around Corpus Christi, Texas. None of the names are familiar to me. Furthermore, these Bryant's appeared to have come to Texas from the state of Maine.

I had previously understood that our Bryant branch came to Texas from Tennessee and North Carolina. Alfred Bryant, born in about 1825, was the eldest of three brothers who somehow ended up on the Texas Gulf Coast. Alfred's son, Guy, was Hattie's father. Now this mention of "Georgia Bryant," who may have been from Maine, opens up an entirely new line of inquiry about the Bryant family history.

The other bit of information on the death certificate that I had not known was that Hattie Bryant died of diabetes. Fortunately, as far as I know, she's the only person in my paternal line to have had that disease.

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