Blue Monday: A Devastating Loss for Lewis and Carrie Chappel in 1910

I now know that my great-grandmother, Carrie, was 3 months pregnant when her family was counted on April 18th for the 1910 census. How I know this? According to the 1903-1997 Texas Birth Index, on 19 October 1910, my great uncle, Lewis Blanton Chappel, was born! [1]




Certificate of Birth
City – Houston
County –  Harris
Certificate No. 36495

Date of Birth – Oct. 19th 1910
Name of Child – Lewis Blanton Chappel
Sex – Male
Race or Color – Colored
Legitimate or Otherwise – Legitimate
Alive or Stillborn – Alive
Name of Father – Lewis Chappel
Nationality – American
Maiden Name of Mother – Carrie Blanton
Nationality – American
Residence of Parents
Town – Houston
Street No. – 815 Swartz(?) Street
Occupation of Father – Gass Plummer
Name and Residence of Person Reporting – I. P. Lamb MD, 2009 Calhoun Ave.  Houston, Texas
Permanent Record. Write plainly with unfading ink. Place 1-cent stamp on reverse side and mail within 5 days to City Registrar if birth occurs in incorporated town; otherwise to County Clerk.

But not long after his arrival into this world, tragedy struck, and his death became a devastating loss for my great-grandparents, 9 December 1910! [2]

Lewis Blanton Chappel Death Certificate


Texas State Board of Health
Registered No. 1640


County – Harris
City – Houston
No. 815 Schwartz St., 5 Ward

Full Name – Lewis Blanton Chappel


Sex – Male
Color or Race – Colored
Single, Married, Widowed or Divorced – Single Colored
Date of Birth – Oct 19, 1910
Age – 1 mo. 19 ds
Birthplace – Harris, Tex

Name of Father – Lewis Chappel
Birthplace of Father – Texas
Maiden Name of Mother – Carrie Blanton
Birthplace of Mother – Texas

Informant – C Chappel
Address – 815 Schwartz


Date of Death – Dec 9 1910
I HEREBY CERTIFY, that I attended deceased from Dec 8 1910 to Dec 9 1910 that I saw him alive on Dec 8 1910 and that death occurred on the date named above  at 7 a.m.
The CAUSE OF DEATH was as follows: Congestion of Lungs
CONTRIBUTORY – Indigestion
I. P. Lamb, MD
Dec 9 1910
Address – 2009 Calhoun Ave.  Houston

DATE OF BURIAL – 12-10-1910
ADDRESS – 2615 1/2 Odin Ave

In addition to using for locating historical documents about my ancestors, I also use where I’ve been fortunate enough to access and download for free birth and death records online for many of my ancestors. You’re probably wondering how in the world have I been able to access these documents online for free since state privacy laws prohibit access to vital records like these. Well being aware of what is considered public information and not public information in Texas helps a lot! According to Section 552.115: Confidentiality of Birth and Death Records from the 2012 Public Information Handbook,  [3]

“(a) A birth or death record maintained by the bureau of vital statistics of the Texas Department of Health or a local registration official is excepted from [required public disclosure], except that:

(1) a birth record is public information and available to the public on and after the 75th anniversary of the date of birth as shown on the record filed with the bureau of vital statistics or local registration official;

(2) a death record is public information and available to the public on and after the 25th anniversary of the date of death as shown on the record filed with the bureau of vital statistics or local registration official;

(3) a general birth index or a general death index established or maintained by the bureau of vital statistics or a local registration official is public information and available to the public to the extent the index relates to a birth record or death record that is public information and available to the public under Subdivision (1) or (2);

Reviewing Vital Records

More Clues and Information

The best way to show a valid connection for every ancestor you’ve added to your family tree is with BMDs —  birth, marriage, and death records! For the most part, birth certificates connect children and their parents. Marriage certificates connect husbands and wives. Death certificates can connect both –parents and spouses — provided the Informant giving the information at the time of death knows the decedent’s family history well enough to give accurate information.

I don’t have to tell you how SURPRISED I was to locate this birth and death record! I actually found baby Lewis’ death certificate when I wasn’t even looking for it. Once I had a birth date, his birth certificate came to light quickly.

According to the FamilySearch wiki — Introduction to Birth Records [4]

 . . . experts recommend looking into death records first and marriage records second. Followed by Birth records, because they are usually the most difficult to find. It is very common to find birth information in other soucres.”

My mom, who is my oldest living Chapple family member that I interview and discuss my findings with regularly, was just as surprised — shocked in fact — to learn that her father, who was raised as an only child, wasn’t the only child her grandmother had given birth to. Grandfather Joseph, would have been about 7 years old when his baby brother died. So I wonder why he never mentioned to mom (or any of his children) he had a baby brother who died as an infant? Or was this loss simply too difficult to “ever” talk about with others?

Baby Lewis’ birth and death records provide a few more interesting facts about the lives of my great-grandparents in 1910! When I first started tracking them in the 1910 Census:
1) Lewis, Carrie, and their son, Joseph were living in Houston’s Historic Freedmen’s Town at 1609 Saulnier Street, Houston, Texas in mid April.
2) Carrie, for whatever reason, is reported living in the home of her younger sister in Houston’s Historic Freedmen’s Town at 1604 Cleveland Street, Houston, Texas without her husband and son by late April.

Now by 9 December 1910:
3) Carrie, who is the informant on her son’s death certificate, reports they’re living in Houston’s Greater Fifth Ward Community at 815 Schwartz Street, Houston, Texas.
Like Freedmen’s Town, Fifth Ward was settled by freedmen too in 1866 and became known as a musically rich neighborhood just east of downtown Houston.

So based on information from these vital records, what new information have I added to my Great-Grandfather Lewis’ profile as I continue my search for him?

o Names (given, middle, and nicknames) – Lewis Chappel, or possibly Louis Chappel (1910 Census)
o Occupations – Pipefitter for a Gas Company (1910 Census); Gass Plummer (son’s birth certificate)
o Birth date and place – abt 1883, Texas, USA (1910 Census)
o Age – 27 yrs old (1910 Census)
o Residence – 1607 Saulnier Streeet, Houston, Texas 77019 (1910 Census); 815 Schwartz Street, Houston, TX (son’s birth & death certificate)
o Family structure – married to Carrie Blanton and has 2 sons, Joseph Chappel (1910 Census); Lewis Blanton Chappel (1910-1910)
o Marriage – Married Carrie Blanton abt 1903 (1910 Census)

Think we have a family connection?
Let me hear from you because  . . . I’m Claiming Kin!

Related Posts:
Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 1)
Mystery Monday: Enumerated Twice in the 1910 Census?


Source Citation:

1.  “Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1935,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 09 Apr 2013), Lewis Blanton Chappel, 1910.

2. “Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 09 Apr 2013), Lewis Blanton Chappel, 1910.

3. United States, Attorney General of Texas, Greg Abbott. (2011, November). 2012 Public Information Handbook. Retrieved April 09, 2013, from

4. FamilySearch. (2012, November 27). United States Birth Records. FamilySearch. Retrieved April 21, 2013, from



5 thoughts on “Blue Monday: A Devastating Loss for Lewis and Carrie Chappel in 1910

  1. Pingback: Charles Lewis Chappel

  2. This is why I consider our ancestors such strong people. It was so common to lose young children! My grandmother remembered 2 siblings her mom had that died as little babies and I found both their death certificates. My grandmother even remembered one baby’s name. Her mom had 7 children that lived to adulthood. I think now with me having a toddler I can’t imagine that pain, and then to lose more than one–my goodness. I really don’t know how they made it sometimes, with all the obstacles.


    • You are so right Robyn, our ancestors were some strong people to withstand the emotional, physical, and mental abuse and treatment they endured. I consider myself a very strong person, but when I look at the life I’ve lived . . . I just wonder could I have made it? Would I have made it under the same conditions and circumstances? Some say I would have because I would not have had a choice . . . but, I just don’t know.


  3. This is finely detailed research, and you present all the legal restrictions very clearly. So there is a 75-year waiting period for birth records, and a 25-year waiting period for death records. And then the public can access them. I never knew that. So many children of my ancestors (I’m working in the 1800s these days, counting down from the 1600s) died within the first year of life. I have never seen a cause mentioned, but then I have not gone through FamilySearch, and I don’t know SC privacy laws. Maybe I will have time to use your method for two infants who were born right before my mother, the 7th living child. I have their name on only one genealogy–my mother said they were “miscarriages.” But then, she didn’t say much.

    Thank you for all these explanations, and the adventure of finding out more about Carrie and Lewis.


    • Mariann, I do believe you will find to be an excellent resource for your research too. I truly believe knowing what you have access to, or not, is critical to your research process.

      My hope is that genealogy newbies will learn from my trials and errors — LOL! Thank you for joining me on this journey!


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