Is this an old mortuary ledger?

I found this gem in a thrift shop here in New Orleans, it's definitely from here with mention of some local charities, and local surnames. I'm pretty sure it's from a mortuary/ funeral home, but I'm no historian. My questions are: Do you think these are names of the deceased, or the people paying off the bill for them? And There are hundreds of names in this ledger dating from 1950-'53, it looks like most of them are paying off a balance, but there are also things like 'Mortuary Supply Co.' with 'Emb. Supp.' on the left of it, and they appear to be paying off a hefty balance as well. Why would a mortuary supply co. be paying an actual mortuary for embalming supplies? I'm confused, but I don't really have any clue how these old things worked. I'm reading it kind of like you'd balance a check book, only there are a ton of accounts. Wouldn't you have a seperate ledger for things that the Mortuary paid out?

If anyone can shed some light on any of these questions, I'd be thrilled. I hope there are some history buffs out there.

Here's a photo:

1 Answer

  • James
    Lv 6
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    This could be a record of expenses that the funeral home paid out for various services and was listed under the names of the deceased.

    For instance, if there was a service for John Smith, the funeral home would have to buy the casket and eventually be reimbursed by the family when they paid the bill. So the Funeral Director might record it as check number 18765, John Smith, $150.00. The checkmarks could mean cancelled checks from the bank and/or if the bill was paid by the family.

    Other services like flowers, newspaper obituaries, etc. could be included in this as well.

    There wouldn't be a separate ledger for things paid out - the old style of manual (by hand) accounting had one ledger with every account listed on it and it all balanced out to zero to double check that the numbers were accurate.

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