Friday, May 18, 2012

Repeating Research Isn't Always Bad

Occasionally I recheck the same resources. Surely I'm not alone! Sometimes I simply fail to record the first search that turns up zero. But sometimes I repeat on purpose to see if new information may be posted.  For example, a few weeks ago I decided to recheck on one of my great great grandmothers, Katherine Birkenstock Kuhn. I have a block of time in the 1870-80s when I'm not quite sure where she is. So, the other day I took a quick look (if there really is such a thing as a "quick" search. ;) Up pops a family tree containing Katherine and her husband, Martin Kuhn.

Gottfried Kuhn
Gottfried Kuhn, 1890
First of all, I should say that finding a tree with these names isn't new. I've found other family trees including them, but usually I find nothing new, or even worse, the couple has been 'hijacked' into a tree with the wrong family line.  But this particular find looked promising, listing sources that seemed to have credence, matching families, etc. I soon became attracted by the one person that didn't match with my line, an older son in the family. I always thought that the birth of Katherine's first child at age 34, as my family records showed so far, was suspicious. This child born when she was 28 could be a fit. However, this prospective new lead was never in Indiana with all of my Kuhns so far. He lived in Ohio and California and Kentucky. That doesn't mean he wasn't in the family, right? I decided to email the owner of the tree to ask for more information.

Well, as I said, that was a few weeks ago.   Since that time, without relating all the many conversations and passing of Kuhn sources, information and photos, I now have a new found cousin...a descendant of Gottfried Kuhn, my great grandfather's brother.  This has been a lot of fun to get acquainted online with another great great granddaughter of Martin and Katherine Kuhn who lives across the country from me.  She is a dedicated family researcher who is generous in sharing her information.   One of the bits of family history that was revealed is that after Gottfried married and had children in Cincinnati, the family moved to California.  After some years there, he divorced his wife and left that family to move back to the Midwest.  He married again and had another family. I know, you're saying, "So what. That's not unusual."  But, the second family was in the dark about the first one until generations later when someone investigated a rumor that they might have more family on the west coast.  The history is now being shared by the many descendants in Gottfried's line.  The more the merrier.

But wait! On top of that, my connection also resulted in another researcher in this line sharing the news that there was a bigamist in the Kuhn line in the 1890s.  Another brother of my great grandfather (and Gottfried) left his family in Connersville, Indiana, and married another lady in Ohio. Neither wife knew of the other, but somehow the truth came out and he ended up in jail.  The newspapers in Ohio had several accounts as the trial and sentencing went on, right down to the second wife asking the court to declare her marriage officially void, just for the record. You never know what this digging will turn up! (BTW, the rest of the family is upstanding.)

So then what about why I started this quick repeat research? Do I have Katherine Kuhn's gap of years solved?  Not yet.  I haven't found her living with Gottfried or anywhere else during those years. Maybe I won't.  But I am still searching....hoping to prove where she was from about 1873 to 1883.  But, writing this post has sparked a few more ideas....let's see...look closer at church records, more city directories elsewhere than my usual sources.... This story isn't finished yet.

However, if I hadn't been repeating my research I might not have met another cousin nor made these interesting family ties.

For a report of the Descendants of Martin and Katherine (Birkenstock) Kuhn, Click Here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi: Your own stories or suggestions are welcome here any time. Thanks for being a part of Indiana Ties.