Don’t you love being the detective?

Yes, I do!  More than once in my conversations with others they have noted that being a genealogist is like being a detective….you gather clues, some of which will turn out to be germane and others are just so much chaff; you study the clues and assess the quality of your source and eventually, when you have enough information, you draw a conclusion.  Sounds like NCIS or The Closer (sigh)!  Like a detective, sometimes there is one clue (after gathering a lot of evidence) that seems to tip the scale.   Other times, it is the weight of all of the evidence that leads one to a conclusion.

Last post was about a discovery of a second marriage of my great great grandmother and answering the question of whether I had enough information to say that THIS Ida Berg who married Frederick Eiler was MY Ida Berg.  No piece of evidence discounted it from being her but the weight of the evidence did seem like enough to say, in fact, it was her.  Some would have already said it was her.

Some of us just keep looking.

Yesterday I was filing some of the information that I had found on the trip to Freeport.  I was entering information into the database of the many original sources  with primary information I had found, and there it was!  The tipping point!  When Ida’s daughter Sophia got married at age 15 in 1862, Ida had to attest that it was with the family approval.  On the marriage form of the daughter was the name Ida Eylen.  Clearly not Berg and written sloppily enough that the “n” could be an “r”.

So, Ida’s mini-timeline looks like this:

  • 1857:  immigration
  • 1858: husband, Siben Berg dies
  • 1860: found in Lancaster Township as Eda Baird
  • 1861: marries for a second time
  • 1862: daughter marries and Ida Eylen signs her consent
  • 1864: “Ida Berg, widow” becomes a member of the Silver Creek Reformed church
  • no found document after 1864 indicates a name other than Berg

The mystery to me is now: What happened to Frederick?  There was no record of death in the parish records of St. John’s Presbyterian or of Silver Creek Reformed church. There was another German Reformed church in town, perhaps the death is there.  Newspapers are not extant for that time period and in my culling of them that I could do, very few deaths (accidents only), no marriages and no births were entered as news.

So, the mystery continues, with a different slant.  The focus is now on Frederick.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last post:  filed some, but not all of the information I found in Stephenson county (next up: all the land and probate records), have the very rough draft of Stephanie’s book about 90% complete and I will get it to her the end of this week.  It looks pretty good!  about 30+ pages and it went faster than I thought it would.


2 comments on “Don’t you love being the detective?

  1. MJ Conner says:

    That is really neat that you’re doing this! Genealogy is really big here in Salt Lake City – we have an entire library for it. I’ve been a few times to look up family members I know of that immigrated here, but that is all. I guess if you look at it the way you do, as like being a detective, then it makes it more fun. My brother-in-law is really into it and travels to places to take pictures of people’s houses or the church’s where ancestor’s got married. He even takes pictures of gravestones. Very interesting work!

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