I appreciate your response, and as I think about it I have been doing pretty much just what you described. I think I was getting too wrapped up in the whole tree share process, and I was trying to make all the "round pegs" fit only in the "round holes". I'll try to remember to use the hints as they are actually intended.
PS - took your advice, added a new fact type ("Death Certificate - Listed In"). I can use it for all other persons listed in the DC, and use "Death" for the person the DC is for. This solves that issue anyway.