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I'm hoping to view an October 1918 death record from Bourbon County, KS to see if the decedent's birthplace/parents' names might help confirm/refute he was my great-grandfather, who disappeared from southern Illinois in May 1916. Kansas law (see link below) limits access to such records to immediate family members (defined as parents, spouses, siblings, children, grandchildren, or first cousins). As a [possible] great-grandchild, it was the interpretation of the representatives I have spoken to at KDHE and their 3rd party records fulfillment company that I am ineligible to view the death certificate in question. Does anyone have experience navigating other possible legal avenues to obtain such a record?
My great-grandfather's parents, siblings, wife, and children never knew what happened to him after his disappearance in May 1916. Last summer, I identified a WW I draft registration card from Bourbon County, Kansas for a person with the same birthdate and essentially the same name; the birthplace was only listed with the specificity of "United States". Further searching revealed a September 1916 marriage announcement with that name in the Fort Scott Tribune (Bourbon County, Kansas). The announcement went into some detail about the bride, her family, and their connections in the community, but only mentioned that the groom was a brakeman for the railroad, which also happens to be the same occupation my great-grandfather held in southern Illinois. An October 1918 death notice in the Tribune indicates the man died of influenza. Here, too, no information was provided about any parents/siblings or place of origin.
The Kansas couple had not yet had children, so there are no descendants to compare for genetic similarity. I have looked extensively for any records pertaining to the man but have been unable to find anything prior to September 1916. Assuming he was my great-grandfather and that he had told his second wife the truth about his birthplace and/or what his parents' names were (even if he likely left out the details about his first marriage and children), I feel like the information contained on the death certificate might be my only hope of resolving our 105 year old family mystery.