Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And the universe chimes into the genealogical conversation...

You know how I was just talking about the importance of sharing genealogical information? It's like the universe heard and was pleased...

I received an e-mail this afternoon from one of the cousins I correspond with regarding our shared family trees re: my third great grandfather on my dad's side, John Ricklefs. You may recall that, judging from not one but both his sons doing not one but multiple stints in prison for multiple bank robberies, John Ricklefs probably never won any Father of the Year awards for his parenting skills, or lack thereof.

I knew where he was from, when he was born, when and where he was married, and that he and his wife, Meta Tiedemann, moved all the way out to the boondocks of Suffolk County by 1930, living on a farm in Patchogue. But the trail went cold after the 1930 census. I attempted to obtain a death record from the Patchogue village clerk but without any way to narrow down what year he might have died, outside of telling her "somewhere between 1930 and this morning," or going out to Patchogue myself to see if they would let me look through the files (and while Patchogue is close, it is not close by foot, which is how I currently travel), I had hit yet another deadend. It was not a typical deadend, though. A death after 1930 is a fairly recent death, which meant not only was it very likely there was a record, but that somewhat still alive might actually remember him. So I had a feeling it was a temporary dead end, but I didn't know how long I would have to wait.

I guess that answer would be, until today. So, this is the message my cousin sent:

Mary, it's been a while, I kept looking for information on John & Meta Ricklefs. I found a death listing for John Ricklefs, in the 10 March 1937 issue of the Mis Island Mail. It was a local newspaper. John Ricklefs died 23 Feb 1937, at the Patchogue Community Hospital. The address was 311 Bay Ave., Patchogue.

I mean, how cool is that? One short e-mail and a ton of brand new information. So, I guess my next step will be to either go to a library that has the Mid Island Mail on microfilm and look for the obit, and/or contact this village clerk in Patchogue again and see if an exact date will get me the record I'm looking for. I already know his parents names, so I'm not looking for that, but anytime you can find more than one record verifying the information you have, it's helpful and further proof. And actually, on John's marriage certificate, I'm not entirely certain of his mother's maiden name. So that would be helpful if her name is on it. Also, the death record might say if his wife Meta was still alive or not, when his birthday is, what his occupation was, etc. etc. I'm very excited, and oh so grateful that I have family I can turn to when I need help finding something out, and not only do they help me when I ask, but they keep it in the back of their heads and continue the search for me. Well, not for me. For us.

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