Legal History

Death Detective Extraordinaire Aids South Florida Researchers


Those who need details about a little-known death long ago in or around Miami, Florida, may be some of the luckiest information-seekers in the country.

A local volunteer has compiled an extraordinary 4,000-page record of virtually all deaths listed in the local newspapers for more than a century. And, as word of Ann McFadden’s achievement has spread, those in the know seek her help on tricky geneology research issues, reports the Miami Herald.

A fixture at the main Miami library downtown, McFadden “also has indexed local adoption, military and probate records and has compiled a short history of a handful of local cemeteries, including Palms Woodlawn in Naranja, Miami City Cemetery on Northeast Second Avenue, Pinewood in Coral Gables and Woodlawn North on Southwest Eighth Street,” the newspaper recounts.

Now 74, McFadden only became interested in such work by chance in 1980. ”My grandmother lived with us for 25 years, and I never asked her a single question about her family,” she says.

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