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Source Information

Ancestry.com. Panama Canal Zone, Gorgas Hospital Mortuary Records, 1906-1991 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: Index to the Gorgas Hospital Mortuary Death Records, 1906-1991 [Archival Database]; Records of the Panama Canal, Record Group 185; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.

About Panama Canal Zone, Gorgas Hospital Mortuary Records, 1906-1991

Dr. William Crawford Gorgas served as the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army from 1914 to 1918 and is best known for stopping the spread of yellow fever and malaria. His contributions to this work played a significant role in the building and completion of the Panama Canal, as less lives of workers on the Canal were lost due to these diseases.

Because of Dr. Gorgas's medical contributions to the area, Ancon Hospital, the U.S. government hospital located in the Canal Zone near Panama City, was renamed Gorgas Hospital in 1928. This database is a necrology (list of the recently deceased) and partial index to the Gorgas Hospital Mortuary registers. These registers contain information on over 26,000 U.S. military personnel, employees of the Panama Canal Commission, and Canal Zone civilians who were processed in this mortuary between 1906 and 1991.

Information contained in this index includes:

  • Name of deceased
  • Age at time of death
  • Race (Black, brown, negro, white, yellow, etc.)
  • Sex (Male or female)
  • Nationality
  • Status (usually the individual's occupation or trade)
  • Employer
  • Death date
  • Death place (this could be a city, country, ship, or other locality)
  • Received date (date the body was received at the mortuary for processing)
  • Burial place (this could be a city, country, cemetery, or other locality)
  • Burial date (date the body was interned or transferred from the mortuary)
  • Cremation (date or location of body's cremation)
  • Cremains (the disposition of the cremation remains)
  • Register (the register number that is used to access the paper records of the registry)
  • Marker (the number of the marker or gravestone under which the individual is buried)
  • Section (the section number of the cemetery where the individual is buried)
  • Cemetery Row (the row within the section in the cemetery where the individual is buried)
  • Grave (the grave number in the cemetery in which the individual is buried)
  • Cost (the cost charged for processing the individual in the mortuary)
  • Remarks

Note: Not all of these items will be listed for each individual.

Where to go from here:

With the information available in this database you may be able to locate your relative's or ancestor's gravestone in the cemetery in which they were buried. The gravestone may have additional information listed on it or in the sexton's records. Also, NARA has the original registers of which this database is a partial index of. The register entries may provide more information than is available in this index and should also be consulted.