In the "days of old" death certificates may have been produced by local police, coroners, doctors, or whoever was appointed that task. When living in rural areas, I have found that the local carpenter became the person who measured the corpse and hand made the coffin. Visitation was quick when they did not have mortician. Usually the parlor of the deceased person became the location of the wake for family, friends and neighbors. Then burial often happened the day after the death.