Why, when diligently pursuing genealogical documentation for so long, can we develop a tendency to doubt that documentation when, at long last, we finally get our hands on it?
The short answer: I don’t know. But these doubts are plaguing me. I have to repeatedly tell myself, after all these years of searching: yes, I found it!
However, like a victim of some genealogical obsessive-compulsive disorder, I keep going back to the records to re-read the words, as if to assure myself that this really is the right Nellie Clark Kruse, daughter of Eliza Murdock Clark Stevens.
In a desperate attempt to get myself out of this tight research loop, I thought I’d go on a search for Nellie’s obituary, in hopes that yet another listing would provide just the right touch of confirmation I’d need.
Locating such proof from the Lafayette Journal and Courier is no easy quest. The Lafayette, Indiana, newspaper isn’t generally available on the historic newspaper sites I subscribe to, so in order to obtain it, I have to make friends in all the right places.
Here’s what a kind soul from a genealogy forum found for me:
Mrs. Nellie G. Kruse, widow of the late Henry F. Kruse, died at her home, 613 N. Seventh street, at 11 o'clock last night after a lingering illness. The deceased was born in County Sligo, Ireland in 1852, her maiden name being Nellie Clark. She united in marriage with Henry F. Kruse in 1879. Mrs. Kruse was an active member of St. Mary's church of this city. The following relatives survive: three sons, Harry, who is stationed at Camp Gordon, Ga., Theodore, of this city, and A. Herbert, of Muncie; two daughters, Henrietta and Laura, of this city; and two sisters, Mrs. Peter Donahue, of Fort Wayne, and Mrs. Edward Mackessey, of Lafayette. The funeral arrangements will be announced later.
The obituary, from the July 25, 1919, edition of the paper, had more than I could have hoped for. It listed Nellie's husband’s name. Not only that, it confirmed her maiden name. It even provided the exact county in Ireland where she was born. The listing of her children’s names—expected in such notices nowadays—aligned nicely, though not exactly, with the 1900 census record I had already found for the family. The thing even cooperated in following suit in the typical misspelling of half-sister Celia Donahoe's married name.
Of course, it was that same 1900 census entry in which Nellie’s son Raphael should also have appeared, but didn’t, due to an unexpected casualty that his family could never have predicted. Yet, if it wasn’t for that tragedy, I wouldn’t have known about this branch of the family at all.