If you have ever tried to research death records in New York State, you know it was a big pain. The state death index existed only on microfilm and was accessible only in a half dozen libraries across the state. You had to know the year of death to be able to browse these records effectively.
As soon as I learned that Ancestry.com had added the death record index, I checked for three members of the Nikkari family for which I didn’t reliable death dates and death places. Frank Nikkari married my Aunt Edith Huskonen. Frank and his family immigrated from Pori, Finland. Edith also immigrated from Finland, coming from Vesanto. I was able to chart their lives pretty completely partly because they ended up living in Ashtabula, only a few miles from where I grew up in Andover, Ohio. With many records for them available on Ancestry.com and obituaries from the Ashtabula Star Beacon, finding their records was like picking “low hanging fruit.”
Not so with Frank’s brother John, and their parents Juho Victor and Josefina Brander Nikkari. I was pretty sure that John died in the New York area but I had not been able to find a death record online. The same was true for Juho and Josefina. I believed that they were living in Spencer, Tioga, New York, when they passed away, but I didn’t know for sure and I had no death dates.
It was a simple matter to enter John in the Ancestry search window at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=61535. He popped up as the very first result. It turns out that he died in Port Chester, Westchester, New York, on 18 Nov 1947.
I next entered Jose* Nikkari, using a wildcard in case her name was Americanized. Sure enough, it was and she was the first result. She passed away on 18 Oct 1924 in Danby, Tioga, New York, probably at a hospital there.
Juho has a little more of a challenge. I tried entering John Nikkari because I knew he went by that first name later in life. I had to browse through many names before I found him as John Nikkaria. That’s the way the entry is spelled on the digital image of the microfilm. I know that this is the correct individual because he died in Spencer, Tioga, New York, and the year was about what I expected.
So, finally, thanks to Ancestry.com, I was able to identify the death dates and death places of Juho and Josefina Nikkari, and son John. I was earlier able to find that information for their other children: Hilda, Aina Amanda, Otto, Frank, Lampi, Yrjo, and Kalle, using Ancestry and other sources.