emma-canfield-funeral-homeOver 20 years ago I was searching for information dealing with my great uncle, Henry E. Canfield, and his wife, Emma Larimore. I began by obtaining the death certificates for both Henry and Emma. Henry died first, leaving Emma to act as the informant on his death certificate. Emma died a little later, with an F. C. Hilker listed as the informant. I contacted the Westminster Memorial Park in Westminster, California and they sent me copies of the internment cards for Henry and Emma. This gave me a lot of information. Did I need more? Feeling that I should leave no stone unturned, I contacted the Coon and Souder Mortuary in Long Beach. They sent me copies of their records. In reading Emma’s mortuary record, I found that the casket was ordered by F.C. Hilker. He was the same person who was informant on the death certificate. The costs were charged to Dr. Earl Anderson, DDS. This took place in 1935. Doing some quick calculations in my head, I figured that there was a chance that Hilker and Anderson were still living. I called directory assistance for San Pedro, California (where Hilker was listed as living in 1935) and found no Hilkers in the area. I then called for a number for Dr. Earl Anderson in San Pedro and was able to obtain a number. I called him and after a rather tense conversation in which he really wasn’t about to tell me anything, he did say that Fred Hilker was still living, that being in Denver, Colorado. I then called “Bud” Fred Hilker. He was extremely friendly and told me a number of stories about time spent on the ranch with my great uncle Henry. Toward the latter part of the conversation he told me that he was only distantly related to the family and that he had some items that I would be interested in. About a week later, a small box arrived containing Civil War artifacts that had belonged to my great grandfather, Henry Canfield (7th Michigan Cavalry). Did it pay off to go ahead and get that mortuary record? It surely did. Always get every document available. Even if you think you don’t need it. 
(The above item was used as a sidebar in Dollarhide’s Genealogy Bulletin #60. December 2003.)