23 November 2013

An Obituary Challenge

part of the obituary of Michael Trautvetter,
21 December 1917, Warsaw Signal.
I'm not really one for genealogy "games" and "memes," but there are times when "challenges" can actually help your research. I just like the challenge to have a point or a purpose.

It has been decades since I read the obituary John Michael Trautvetter, who died near Tioga, Hancock County, Illinois, in 1917. The names of his survivors and their residences were all known to me. There was no news there.

As I looked at the "un-named" survivors, the great-grandchild struck my interest. My father is also a great-grandchild of Michael, and while he was not born until long after Michael's death, I thought my father's oldest first cousin was the surviving great-grandchild as she is significantly older than my father.

Apparently she was not old enough.  A quick look at my materials indicated this cousin was born after 1920, eliminating her as the great-grandchild referenced in the obituary.

So the question remained: who was this great-grandchild?

I have the names and dates of birth for the children and grandchildren of Michael's son George (my great-grandfather). I do not have the dates of birth for the grandchildren of Michael's other children. The obituary is a good motivation for me to nail down that information.

So, instead of a random genealogy "challenge," look at one of those obituaries for an ancestor that provides numbers of survivors without naming them.

Can you get the same numbers the obituary has? That's assuming the obituary is correct--which is another story altogether.

I've only got one great-grandchild of Michael to find. Thankfully it wasn't twenty or thirty.