Using death certificate information provided by municipalities cities and counties , the Texas Department of State Health Services Bureau of Vital Statistics calculates and publishes yearly, age-adjusted death rates, as well as disease specific death rates, for all counties in Texas. As published by the Texas Department of Health now the Texas Department of State Health Services , the age-adjusted death rates for these two contiguous counties Potter and Randall were and per , The same rate in all of Texas for was These contiguous counties ranked one and 25 of 33 respectively for age-adjusted deaths among all Texas counties with estimated populations greater than , This marked disparity in age-adjusted deaths between the counties had been widening for several previous years Table 1.
Though there are demographic differences in poverty rates and ethnicity between the two counties Table 2 , the demographics had not changed significantly over the past decade. This disparity became the subject of much discussion at the local Health Department and in the community [ 23 , 24 ]. In , the City of Amarillo Department of Public Health designed and conducted a study to verify the accuracy of the county of residence as entered on death certificates for residents living within the Amarillo city limits.
The two major questions asked were a do errors on the death certificate have a significant effect on county mortality data, and b what is the most likely source of these errors. After signing notarized confidentiality statements, two Health Department nurses reviewed every seventh death certificate for deaths in Amarillo records were filed alphabetically. If the seventh death certificate was for a citizen who resided outside of Amarillo, the previous death certificate was reviewed. Street address, zip code, and county of residence at the time of death; and the agency that filed the death certificate was determined for each selected death certificate and entered into an ACCESS database.
Names were not recorded in order to protect confidentiality. For each selected death certificate, correct zip code and county of residence were determined using a large-scale map Revision date, January obtained from the City of Amarillo Planning Department. If the county of residence or zip code could not be accurately determined using the map, a query was made to the county Tax Assessors office or the information was obtained from the Potter-Randall Tax Appraisal District website [ 25 ].
Correct county and zip code of residence for all suspected errors were later confirmed using the Census Bureau website [ 26 ]. A "county error" was defined as a residence recorded as Potter County on the death certificate which was actually located in Randall County or a residence listed in Randall County, which was actually located in Potter County.
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Routine statistical tests were used to analyze error rates by correct county of residence, correct zip code of residence, and agency filing the death certificate. A total of death certificates were selected for review. Eight death certificates were discarded due to unverifiable addresses street did not exist in Amarillo or Post Office Box addresses , leaving a total of death certificates in the study.
Eighteen errors in assigning the proper county of residence "county errors" were detected. The overall error rate for county-of-residence data entered on the death certificates reviewed was 5. Twenty-one "zip code errors" were identified, for an error rate of 5. In general, errors in county and errors in zip code occurred independently of one another.
Two death certificates contained inaccuracies in both county and zip code. The percentage of error was markedly different for the two counties Table 3. This pattern of non-random error was not observed in the zip code data where the overall error rate was 5. Incorrect county errors were confined to addresses in only five of 13 zip codes Table 4.
Errors were analyzed by the funeral home that filed the death certificate. Outside funeral homes accounted for 7. Correcting the mortality figures for the error rate found in this study would result in approximately 65 fewer deaths assigned to Potter County in , would lower the age adjusted all-cause mortality rate for Potter county and raise the age adjusted all cause mortality rate for Randall county.
Using recalculated crude mortality rates, the rankings of these counties would change from first to third Potter and 25th to 20th Randall in the list of 33 counties with populations over , An error in recording the incorrect county was much more likely when persons lived in a zip code that straddled both counties, and when the death certificate was completed by an out-of-town funeral home compared to a local funeral home.
Deputy Sheriff Lee D. Burgess
We believe that this error rate may have arisen in part from use of internet programs by funeral homes to assign the county of residence. An informal survey of funeral homes conducted by the Department verified that funeral homes often used these types of internet programs when the family or funeral home was uncertain of the county of residence. This scenario would explain why county errors were more likely in zip codes areas that straddled two counties, and why the incorrect assignment was more likely to be to Potter than Randall County, as P precedes R in the alphabet.
Since more county-of-residence errors occurred in these shared zip codes, this offers another explanation why county-of-residence errors were higher in Potter County than in Randall County. Amarillo is an unusual Texas city that straddles two counties. Thus compared to citizens in other cities, Amarillo citizens may be less certain of their county of residence.
Therefore this observation may not be generalizable to all Texas cities. This type of error led to significant miscalculation of the age-adjusted all cause mortality for these two counties, as well as incorrect calculation of age-adjusted disease specific death rates for these counties. While previous reports have noted inaccuracies in disease specific mortality rates that are derived from death certificates, we believe that ours is the first report of inaccurate all-cause mortality rates for contiguous counties due to a nonrandom error in assigning the county of residence.
We believe that this type of error could be avoided by verification of the county of residence by using tax appraisal district records or census bureau records, both of which are available on the internet. This type of error could also be avoided if vital statistics offices verified the county and zip code of residence using official sources, or used geocoding programs such as TIGER. This program is used in some states to assign city, county, and zip code based on the street address reported on the death certificate.
We report this study to remind demographers of additional limitations of vital statistics derived from death certificate information as it is now collected. J Public Health , Feinstein AR: Clinical epidemiology. The identification of rates of disease.
Ann Intern Med , J Clin Pathol , Heasman MA: Accuracy of death certification. Proc R SocMed , A national study in Taiwan.
J Clin Epidemiol , Comparison with autopsy findings and a critical review. Med J Aust 12 Sington JD, Cottrell BJ: Analysis of the sensitivity of death certificates in hospital deaths: a comparison with necropsy findings. Lahti RA, Penttila A: Cause-of-death query in validation of death certification by expert panel; effects on mortality statistics in Finland, Forensic Sci Int , J Epidemiol Community Health , J Public Health Med , Bull World Health Organ , Mil Med , Int J Epidemiol , An invitation to obfuscation. Postgrad Med , 81 8 Kelson MC, Heller RF: The effect of death certification and coding practices on observed differences in respiratory disease mortality in 8 E.
Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique , CMAJ , Med J Aust 2 4 Ashworth TG: Inadequacy of death certification: proposal for change. What Grayson County, TX census records are available? There are many types of census records for Grayson County guide you in researching your family tree.
Federal Population Schedules are available for , , , free index , fragment , , , , , Grayson Co. Mortality Schedules can be found for , , and Industry and Agriculture can be obtained for , , and Union Veterans Schedules is available for One can find free online and printable census forms to help you with your research. What genealogical records can I find in the Grayson County Courthouse?
The below facts shows exactly what death, marriage, birth, property, wills, and court records are typically in Grayson County. The years listed below are the first noted records with this county. Please call the clerk's department to confirm hours, mailing address, fees and other specifics before visiting or requesting information because of sometimes changing contact information.
The files are available to interested parties, barring private issues. Many staff will guide individuals in locating the materials, however it's up to the person to carry out the research. Grayson County courthouse was burned by a mob on May 9,