From a while back…

While viewing a newspaper account of a relative’s accidental death in 1906, I noticed a reference to a woman’s murder in an adjacent county. She was shot by her husband. Somewhat curious, I decided to do a little “quick” online research into the woman and her husband.

She was mentioned in quite a few online trees, but none referenced her short marriage to her husband or the circumstances of her death.

It was easy to see in this case why nothing else had been located:

  • The woman was born after 1880 and in 1900 was living with her parents.
  • By 1910 she was dead.
  • Her tombstone does not mention her husband’s name–just the names of her parents.
  • The marriage records for the county where she likely married are not online and not microfilmed.
  • The court records for the county where the case was held are not online in digital format. They have not been microfilmed.
  • Most of the references to her murder refer to her by her husband’s name–using “Mrs.” almost consistently.

Another reminder of the importance of getting beyond what is easy to find and not relying on the online trees.

It is easy to understand in this case why her married name was not put on her tombstone (she’s buried with her parents) and why the family may not have mentioned her marriage and her husband.



3 Responses

  1. Very good article and great tip we should all heed. It’s far too easy to miss the clues to the rest of the story and stop at just being satisfied with what someone else may have put online. Those online trees should only be viewed as another possible tip to be researched. You uncovered her short life and brought some clarity to the events of that life… as well as her death while reminding us there is always more to learn- be it good or bad.

    It may take some extra work and even travel beyond the ‘computer’ but the details that I find with more thorough researching are part of how I choose to honor those gone before me. Every little bit of new info or discovery of a new source to track down is like finding gold and there is still nothing like holding an old paper record in my hand and matching it to an ancestor’s life. One can either look at the picture on the wall and admire all its pretty leaves or imagine yourself living in the scene and being personally acquainted with your ancestors. To me the names we gather just offer more clues to a families past; it’s the life and the history that goes far beyond just a name.

    Thanks again for reminding us to go beyond the obvious!

  2. And that’s it? Give us the headline and stop there? How about some details? Name? Location? Something so we can at least look it up ourselves!

    • If memory serves, these events took place in Warren or Henderson County, Illinois. It was not a relative at all and the search was a diversion out of curiosity more than anything else. I should have written it up, but moved back on to my own people after I had satisfied my curiosity.

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