Once the NY State death index came available online one of the people that I looked for was a missing son of my great grandfather, Melvin D. Halsey. His son, John D. Halsey, was living with Melvin in the 1900 census and then is not to be found after that. During my search on the NY death index I found a John D. Halsey that died in 1909 in Corning, NY (see picture).
I ordered the death certificate from the NY State Department of Health in Albany. I waited 10 months for them to fulfill my request.
To the right is part of the death certificate that I received. It had the same certificate number and death date that was listed in the index. But that sure doesn’t look like his name was Halsey. Both his surname and his father’s looks more like Haley. So I searched for this John D. on FamilySearch. I found him in census records for Corning from 1875 to 1905. In the census records his name is spelled Healy, Healey and once Haley. I also found his parents in the FamilySearch Family Tree and the father’s surname is usually spelled Healy.
This mistake started out by someone at the Department of Health misinterpreting the surname on the death certificate when they created the index.
Then I went back and searched the death index again. There was also an index record for John D. Haley and it has the same certificate number and death date. So the same certificate number is recorded in the index as both John D. Haley and John D. Halsey. It makes me wonder how many other records are wrong in the death index.