17 February 2012

Don't Correct It

The following phrases come from an order the Hancock County, Illinois, Judge J. Arthur Baird in 1938. The unsuspecting researcher may be tempted to correct it or to conclude that one of the names is wrong...that's not it at all.

In the Matter of the Heirship of Minka Fecht, Deceased

Now this matter coming on to be heard on evidence adduced in open court as to the heirship of Minka Fecht, deceased, late of Carthage, in the County of Hancock and State of Illinois, and the Court being sufficiently advised in the premises, doth find and declare that the said Minka Fecht departed this life intestate on the 17th day of December, A. D. 1937, leaving him surviving,
No widow and George J. Fecht, his brother, Lubbie Fecht, his brother, John W. Fecht, his nephew  and Marie Fecht, his niece, children of his deceased brother, Roll Fecht; John Huls, his half-brother; Tena Knowles his half-sister; John Fecht, Jake Fecht, Martin Fecht, Charles Fecht, George Fecht and Henry Fecht, nephews, and Mattie Burg and Mary Timberlake, his nieces, all of whom are the children of his deceased sister, Annie Fecht.

As his sole heirs at law.

It is a really good example of why one should never change any names in a document or make any corrections. It may seem a little bit strange that Minka Fecht's sister is named Annie Fecht.

There is one minor "error" in the order, but it's not one of the names and it's not really an error. The order was more specific in a few cases than statute required, and, failing to be that specific later, potential confusion may be the result.

We'll look at this document in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues

And this is one where I already know the answer--and I'll say that except for Minka actually being Mimka and Roll occasionally being Rolf, the names are right. Mimka Fecht is a first cousin of my great-grandfather and this family, while confusing on the surface, is fairly well-documented. 

Stay tuned.