I went to my local Family History Center today to see if film #1013654 contained the death record for my great-great grandfather Harry Baerecke. I am glad to say that it did! There were no surprises, as someone had already told me he had died of tuberculosis at his family's home in Milwaukee. He left a wife and 4 year-old daughter behind.
Since I was at the FHC anyway, I decided to look at the whole reel and see if there were any Baerecke, Schmidt or other names that may be of interest to me. And thus began the slow roll of the hand-cranked microfilm machine.
Milwaukee death records are fantastic. Depending on the person who died and others' knowledge, they might contain any or all of the following: name, parents' names, birthplace, birth date, death date, occupation, address of death, mortuary and cemetery.
As I was browsing the records, I started looking at the cause of death for everyone on the reel. I'm just morbidly curious that way. There were many stillborn/premature babies, young children falling ill, suicides and what not. There were way too many people getting hit by street cars, in my opinion. I did find one cause of death that's worth its own mention.
One poor man's death was "accidental by outhouse falling on him."
Man, what a way to die.