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Fisher-Pou Funeral Home Records and Index


Background

In June, 2000, the West Florida Regional Library (WFRL) “Reference-Genealogy” Department received a **gold mine** of genealogical data from the Fisher-Pou Funeral Home, 27 East Wright Street, Pensacola, Florida -- 36 Volumes of original Account Records that span the period between December 1926 and August 1979.

Preliminary review of the volumes showed that during that period, Fisher-Pou performed approximately 19,600 individual funeral services. Besides local Escambia County, Florida residents, the records reflect those services provided to transport individual remains to distant locales throughout the United States. They also reflect the receipt of (out-of-state death) remains for burial in local cemeteries.

To preserve these records for future generations, Ms. Dolly Pollard, WFRL Reference Librarian for Genealogy, gave the original records to the University of West Florida’s (UWF) “Special Collections” Department for preservation and retention. WFRL Volunteers are in the process of generating a Surname Index of all individuals identified within each record. The Index and working copies (of the original sheets) will remain in the WFRL’s “Reference-Genealogy” Department for use by the public. As with all WFRL “Reference” material, the Library will not make these working copies available through the interlibrary loan system.


Microfilm Project

UWF’s “Special Collections” Department received funding and microfilmed all 36 Volumes, plus the 3 Write-Off Account Volumes -- there are 17 reels of Microfilm [16mm]. As of October 4, 2001, both UWF’s “Special Collections” Department and WFRL’s “Reference-Genealogy” Department have film available for on-site research. UWF’s “Special Collections” Department will maintain the original Volumes in its climate-controlled storeroom.


Surname Index Project

The Surname Index includes not only the deceased, but also all other identified individuals noted, along with those reflected in any attached obituary or other correspondence. All names in the Surname Index reflect their identifiable relationship to the deceased or their function as it relates to the funeral service (examples: clergyman, physician, pallbearer, service ordered by, service charged to, etc.). The Surname Index also reflects the listed date and place of death, and date and place of interment.

Volunteers are currently compiling the surname indices for Volumes One through Twelve. Compiling consists of copying the original sheets, separating the copies by year, transcribing the information, proofreading the data, making corrections, and generating a final Surname Index.

Because we are in the early stages of generating the Surname Index, the structure and format of the final published Index is still under development; however given the genealogical value of our work, we will provide the genealogy community some fruits of our labor by using this Web Site to display the “Deceased” portion of the Surname Index.


Funeral Record Description

Fisher-Pou used the original sheets as itemized bills of service:

  • They reflect all of the cost for preparing the remains for burial:
    • embalming, casket purchase, burial garment, personal attendance and assistants, etc.
  • They reflect all of the cost expenditures made by the funeral home on behalf of the client:
    • delivering casket to [xx], opening the grave, vault charges, hearse and funeral cars usage, transportation expenses, etc.
  • They reflect who ordered the service, who was to be charged, and who paid the bill.
  • The sheets also reflect additional information on the particulars of the Deceased:
    • birth date/place, age, marriage status, last place of residence;
    • death date/place, interment date/place, clergyman and physician, cause of death; and
    • spouse and parent names, and parent country of birth.
  • Sometimes, the funeral home attached the obituary and/or a newspaper article to the sheet.

The following is an example of what an original sheet may contain:

Page One of Two
Funeral of :    Infant John Doe Account No. 310
Date of Funeral:     10/21/1901 Hour 3:00 p.m.
Casket No.     450 Size 1/9 Cost $15.00 Auto Hearse: Cost $15.00
Outside Case:     Pine, Chestnut, Oak, Mahogany, Cypress Cost $3.50 Funeral Cars:     Ford & Buick Cost $10.00
   
  Total Amount of Invoice: Cost $43.50
Page Two of Two
Date of Death:     10/20/1901 Ordered by:     Dr. Jones
Place of Death:     123 N. Last St., Millview To Total Funeral Charges $43.50
Place of Funeral:     Millview 10/21 Cash $18.50
Clergyman:     Dr. Lovoy 11/31 Cash $10.00
Date of Burial:     10/21/1901 01/05/1902 Cash $15.00
Where Interred:    County Poor Farm  
Date of Birth:     10/01/1901  
Age       Years       Months  20   Days  
Occupation:  
Single, Married, Widow, Widower  
Birthplace:     Millview, FL  
Last place of residence:  
How Long resident of this Country       State       City        
Husband’s Name:  
Father’s Name:     J. H. Doe  
Country of Birth:     Elberta, Alabama  
Mother’s Name:     Marianne Sheppard  
Country of Birth:     Florida  
Physician:     Dr. Jones  
Cause of Death:  

NOTE: This is only an example! Any resemblance to an actual individual is purely coincidental.


Primary vs. Secondary Resource

Although these Fisher-Pou Funeral Home Records are considered a “Primary” Resource, they are only as good as the person who interviewed the bereaved family [or friend] and how well the respondent knew the answers to the questions. Some of the sheets are complete in their detail information; however, others may only reflect the identity of the Deceased and the associated burial date.

Our Surname Index must be considered as a “Secondary” Resource, especially since the volunteers had to decipher the handwriting of more than one Fisher-Pou employee in their attempt to compile these indices.


Available On-line

In recognition of the privacy of living individuals, we are only making available on-line the Surname Index of the Deceased. Also in support of these same privacy guidelines, we have removed the exact street address and only provide the name of the city or town where an individual’s death took place.

The following is an example of what our on-line Surname Index contains:

Doe, John (Infant Son of J. H. Doe) Deceased Vol-Sht: 01-012345.5
D-Date: 10/20/1901 D-Place:   Millview, Florida
I-Date: 10/21/1901 I-Place:   County Poor Farm, Escambia County, Florida

NOTE: This is only an example! Any resemblance to an actual individual is purely coincidental.


LookUp Facilities

Currently, given that this project is in its infancy, there are NO LookUp capabilities set in place. Most of the volunteers are still involved with the compiling of the original data, which is done away from the Library property. However, work is underway with the Library Staff/Management in drafting procedures and obtaining possible volunteers.

Once the Library Management sanctions the LookUp procedures and we identify volunteers, this page will provide the necessary steps required to request LookUps. Therefore at this time, PLEASE do not communicate your LookUp request to the Library Staff.


Volumes Completed

Currently there are 4,623 records available.

  • Volume One
-- December 1926 -thru- December 1929
14 additional Sheets included by Funeral Home:
November 1930 -thru- October 1934
  03/10/2002    
  • Volume Two
-- January 1930 -thru- December 1932   06/24/2001  
  • Volume Three
-- January 1933 -thru- December 1936   01/28/2001  
  • Volume Four
-- January 1937 -thru- December 1940   01/28/2001  
  • Volume Six
-- January 1944 -thru- June 1945   06/24/2001  
  • Volume Seven
-- July 1945 -thru- December 1946   09/01/2001  
  • Volume Eight
-- January 1946 -thru- August 1949   09/24/2001  
  • Volume Thirty-five
-- September 1977 -thru- August 1978   06/24/2001  

I would like to note that we are aware that the original records were handwritten and while we did our best to transcribe the records carefully, you may find errors and omissions. We will be glad to make any changes, yet we must have a source for the changes. Please send Harold Wilkinson your request for identifiable corrections.

 

Each letter of the alphabet will take you to a list of Surnames beginning with that letter.

A    Ba    Bh    Bn    Bt    Ca    Ch    Cn    Ct    D    E    F    G    Ha    Hh    Hn    Ht    I    J    K    L    Ma    Mc    Mh    Mn    Mt    N    O    P    Q    R    Sa    Sh    Sn    St    T    U    V    Wa    Wh    Wn    Wt    Y    Z   




Volunteers

Frances Bower Doris Buffum Patricia Gilstrap
Judy Jolly Patricia Kerr Richard Lewis, Jr.
Frieda Markert Hellen Mieras Janet Myers
Clifton Payne Martha Pfeiffer Philip Pfeiffer
Dolly Pollard Diane Ritchie-Adams John Rodgers
Liz Smith Gayle Sweet Robert Waldrop
Daniel Ward Patricia Wariner Harold Wilkinson

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Original submitted by Harold Wilkinson -- 11/11/2000

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