Who Is Absent?

Do you notice who is not listed in records where other family members are? In going through a series of “gossip columns” for a family in the early 20th century, I noticed that one individual’s husband rarely attended anything. I’ve made a notation about his frequent absence in my compilation of the columns.

There are other records where sometimes people who “should be listed” are not. This happens in more than the gossip columns of local newspapers. Are you making a notation of this in your analysis of the record?

Some absences mean more than others. Missing family functions may just mean there’s been some sort of disagreement, that someone is a loner, or needs time away from their spouse. Failing to appear in a city directory may mean a move, failing to appear in personal property tax rolls may mean a change in financial status (or move), etc.

Absences matter and not just when Uncle Herman refuses to attend the annual cookout.

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