1887: The Death Of Gertrude Wrann


My initial excitement at discovering a previously unknown sister of my Great Grandfather Gustav Wrann was dampened when I discovered her name in the NYC Death Index for the year after she was born. The index indicated her Death Certificate # was 599964 and that she had died just 6 months after her birth.

While at the Municipal Archives in NYC I looked up her certificate on microfilm and purchased a certified copy of it.

Following is Gertrude’s Death Certificate. Click on it to view an enlargement.

1. Full Name Of Deceased: Gertrude Wrann

2. Age years, 6 months, 12 days.

5. Birthplace: NY

7. Father’s Birthplace: Germany Father’s Name: Gustave Wrann

8. Mother’s Birthplace: “ “ Mother’s Name: Mary

9. Place Of Death: 441 E 81

10. If a Dwelling, by how many families, living separately, occupied, 4 Floor 1

11. I hereby certify that I attended deceased from: March 12, 1887 to April 28, 1887 and that I last saw her alive on the 26 day of “ “ 1887, that she died on the 28 day of March 1887, about 12 o’clock, A.M., and that to my best knowledge and belief the cause of her death was as here under written:

Chief and Determining: Enteritis (Diarrheal) Asthenia

Witness my hand this 28th day of April 1887.

Signature: Frank B. C… M.D.

Residence: 136 E. 18th

Place of Burial: Lutheran

Date of Burial: April 29, 1887

Name of Undertaker: Herman Lange 433 E 81st Street

A few notes/observations regarding this death certificate:

Gertrude was born at 435 E 81st St. Her death occurred at 441 E. 81st St. I’ve checked old maps and both places appear to be apartment buildings and not hospitals. Not sure if the Wrann’s lived at both places. The undertaker lived a few doors down as well. I’ve also noticed that St. Monica’s Roman Catholic Church is around the corner so I may contact them to see if they have baptismal records for Gertrude.

There is no new information on Gustave or Mary.

Her cause of death was Diarrheal Enteritis (inflammation of the gastrointestinal system) – my Aunt Pat helped me decipher Enteritis when I saw her in VT last year. I had originally thought the second cause of death listed was “Asthma” but it didn’t make sense to me…didn’t seem to fit in with Enteritis. I did some research into archaic medical terms and found the likely translation: Asthenia. Asthenia means weakness or lack of energy and strength and makes more sense than Asthma when associated with Enteritis. Click HERE for the full definition.

There are some inconsistencies in the dates the physician saw her. Looks like he wrote March once when he should have written April as it’s fairly clear she died on April 28 and not March 28. I believe he actually first saw her on March 12 and she was ill for six weeks before dieing on April 28.

The birth certificate indicated she was buried at the Lutheran Cemetery which would be the Lutheran All-Faiths Cemetery in Astoria, Queens. I contacted the cemetery and unfortunately they were not able to find a record of her burial or plot. I plan on inquiring again in the future – maybe I’ll get someone who has better luck searching.


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