28 March 2013

Missed Records, Misconceptions, and Why Mom?

World War I Draft Card for John Julius Trautvetter, Adams County, Illinois;
digital image on FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org)
This World War I draft card for my great-uncle is one of those things that I simply never got around to locating until it came up easily on a search at FamilySearch.

And it got me to thinking about several things.

Was the mother the preferred "nearest relative?"

I have done no statistical analysis, but I seem to recall seeing the mother being frequently listed as the nearest relative, even when the father was alive. In this case, the father (George Trautvetter) is even listed as the employer--no doubt nineteen-year old John worked on his father's farm. I'm not opposed to mothers being listed as next of kin, but my recollection is that I've only seen the father listed when the mother was deceased. This might be an interesting item to pursue further as my only evidence is anecdotal and that sort of evidence is not always proof of anything other than anecdotes.

Are there assumptions that are not true?

I was always told that John's middle name was Michael and that this John (my great-uncle) had been named for his grandfather John Michael Trautvetter. I never really questioned the fact that his name was John Michael. His sister, my grandmother Neill, apparently thought her brother was named for their grandfather. It turns out he wasn't John Michael, he was actually John Julius--the John coming from his grandfather and the Julius coming from his sponsor at his baptism.

The difference is more than academic. My grandmother Neill did not care for her brother John. The reasons (and there are some) are not germane here. My mother, unrelated to any of these people and unaware of the Grandma's opinion of her brother, wanted to name me John Michael--John for my maternal grandfather and Michael because she liked it. Grandma Neill would have no grandson of hers with the same name as her brother, so Michael John was my name.

Is that address right?

I initially jumped on that address as being "wrong" or at least misleading. The Trautvetters lived in Keene Township, Adams County, from the mid-1910s and on, or so I have assumed. The family farm is near the town of Loraine and is still owned by family members. John's card is dated 12 September 1918 and indicates a rural route Mendon, Illinois, address. Thinking about this address reminded me that I don't actually have a copy of the deed of purchase for the farm, which would provide the date of aquisition. It might be that the family lived in Adams County, Illinois, at the time of the registration but not on the farm near Loraine--which was where they were in 1920 for the census.

The end game is that I still need to research when my great-grandparents purchased the farm near Loraine. In the writing of this blog post, I am pretty certain where great-grandpa Trautvetter got the money to make at least a sizeable down payment on this property. His father's 228 acre farm in Hancock County was sold at auction at about this same point in time and my great-grandfather would have received a one-seventh share. Those deeds I have--so I know how much great-grandpa would have received.

See, writing is good for your research!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I, too, have observed for single men that the mother was often the next of kin.