I've heard of people coming back to life, but that was more than 2,000 years ago. Yet according to Adelaide Brown's death certificate, her husband, who had been deceased for more than two years, was listed as the informant.
In two places it clearly states that Adelaide was a widow at the time of her death:
Yet field 14 clearly shows the name of the informant AND has the informant's relationship to the decedent:
How could Adelaide's deceased husband be the informant on her death certificate? Below are a few ideas I had, but if you have any other ideas, please let me know in the comments.
Could her husband, Charles Frederick Brown, have been alive at the time of her death? Yes, and I should follow up on this to have more convincing evidence of it. He was last known to be alive in 1910 as he was living in Philadelphia in this census. He was a lodger, working as an operator for the telegraph company, and although he was not living with his wife, he was listed as having been married for 33 years (Adelaide was living in the State Hospital for the Insane in the next county). I've also narrowed down Charles' death year to sometime before 1915 because in 1914, the book Armstrong County Pennsylvania: Her People, Past and Present, was published wherein it states that Charles was deceased. So Charles' death year was sometime between 1910-1914. I am pretty sure I have found his death certificate where he died January 2, 1911, but I'm still working on confirming I have the right one.
Could the informant and husband, C. F. Brown, Sr., be a different Charles F. Brown, Sr.? Not likely. First, her surname at the time of death was still Brown. Secondly, her death certificate shows that she died in the State Hospital in Norristown, the same place where she was enumerated in the 1910 census. My guess is they did not see too many weddings in this hospital and that she did not remarry to another C. F. Brown, Sr.
What is most likely is that when Adelaide was admitted to the hospital, Charles filled out some paperwork which provided her age, birth place, and names of her parents. Not being able to get in touch with Charles when Adelaide died in 1916 (remember, Charles died before 1915), the hospital personnel probably just filled out her death certificate from the information he previously gave them, and listed him as the informant.
Before today, I used to think the informant on a death certificate was always alive at the time the certificate was filled out. Now I have one more thing to be cautious about when analyzing vital records. And if I were to continue the research to conduct a reasonably exhaustive search, I would next try to locate hospital records, pursue Charles' death certificate, and even look for their obituaries.