Tuesday, June 12, 2012

* Rocky Road *

     My Austrian ancestor was never born but he was 58 years old when he died.

     I wrote about my 2nd great-grandfather, Stephen Duper in a post entitled 'Austrian Ancestor' dated 2/10/2012.  I didn't have too much information about this particular grandfather.  All I knew was that he was from Austria, arrived in the United States in 1888 and died in 1931.
     I received Stephen Duper's death certificate excited that I would find out his birth date and cause of death.  I know that the information found on a death certificate is only as accurate as the person supplying the information.  I wasn't sure if I'd see his parents names because I didn't know who the informant would be.  I hoped their names would be there so I could try to continue my research in Austria.
     Stephen Duper died at Roosevelt Hospital om Manhattan, NY o July 16, 1931.  So, when was he born?  I still don't know.  The informant for this death certificate was my 2nd great-grandmother, Teresa.  You would think that she would know and supply such a vital piece of information as her husband's date of birth unless whoever was filling it out didn't think it was important.  He was 58 years old at the time of death so the year of birth would have been 1873.  I don't know if or how I'll find the actual date.  His parents were Stephen Duper and Mary Zaytes.  I'm guessing they arrived in the United States with their son if my math is correct.  The death certificate states that he was living in this country for 44 years which would make his arrival year 1887 minus his year of birth, makes him 14 years old when he arrived.  I still need to check the passenger lists.
     My grandmother's cousin had written in a letter that her grandfather was a dynamite foreman and helped build Storm King Highway in Orange County, NY.  She told me that he died from the rock dust in his lungs.  Well, now that I have a copy of the death certificate I can see the cause of death.  According to the certificate, Stephen Duper was admitted to Roosevelt Hospital on June 20, 1931.  Dr Tilley diagnosed my 2nd great-grandfather with 'pleurisey-suppurative' and it also stated "(aspiration June 16?)".  I am not familiar with these medical terms that I'm finding on death certificates.

  Pleurisy - inflammation of the lining of lungs and chest which causes chest pain when  breathing in or coughing
  Suppurative - the formation or discharge of pus
  Aspiration - to draw in or out using a sucking motion
    This medical term has two meanings, depending on how it is used.
   ~Aspiration can mean breathing in a foreign object (such as sucking food into airway)
   ~the term can also refer to a medical procedure that removes harmful or misplaced substances from an area of the body. These substances can be air, body fluids, or bone fragments.

     Stephen Duper's death certificate has his occupation listed as 'Rock Driller' in the industry of 'Construction' lasting 37 years.  The man was only 58 when he died so he's been in this line of work since the age of 21.  I guess MaMas cousin was correct.

   The rock dust in his lungs led to the rocky road to death.

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