Monday, August 5, 2013

The Other Other Family

While genealogy is generally a fun pursuit, sometimes it can get cumbersome. The tedious strain of getting all the details straight can sometimes call for a break—time out, a breather, a change of pace.

And, while you are reading this, that is exactly what I’m doing. I’m traveling in the Midwest, stopping in Chicago and Columbus to visit family—and, of course, making a point to visit the very town we’ve been puzzling over in the past few days: Lafayette, Indiana.

Best yet, I’m looking forward to meeting some distant and heretofore unknown cousins, discovered online during the series here on A Family Tapestry on the Dennis Tully family descendants.

While I’m traveling from town to town—and hastily stopping at wifi cafes along the way to check in to my online accounts—I’ve certainly been playing the cat-and-mouse game with the puzzling entry over John Kelly Stevens’ “nephew” Raphael Kruse. Admittedly, I know the answer now. But believe me, I didn’t know it back then, when I first came upon that news clipping. Just consider this a tour of the path of discovery I had to endure.

There is, however, a light at the end of this tunnel. I have found the missing link. Clue: it isn’t a member of the Stevens family. But it is a connection to the Stevens family.

Evidently, there is a connection between the Clark family and the Murdock family. I’m sure you are discerning the direction I’m going. You see, just as John Stevens was a widower and remarried after Catherine Kelly Stevens’ untimely death, Eliza Murdock was also facing the same quandary. She, too, had recently been widowed.

And—you knew this would be part of the story, didn’t you—Eliza happened to have a young daughter when she married John Stevens.

The woman who married Henry Kruse—young Raphael’s father—was Helen Clark, daughter of the former Eliza Murdock. To be sure, it was difficult to find mother and daughter in the 1860 census, because they were resident in what was most likely Eliza’s brother’s household. Only problem was, the census had the household name as “Murdick.” Further complicating matters were the multiple variations of the daughter’s name: I’ve seen it listed as Nellie, Ellen, and Helen, so far. I’ve yet to find the 1860 census entry on, but for those of you with an subscription, you can see the family together in the 1860 census here.

And so you have it: Raphael was indeed the nephew of John Kelly Stevens. And while we’ve yet to get to the sad story of what befell him on that day back in 1900, we can certainly agree that it pays to take those potential newspaper “errors” to task and check them out thoroughly.

You never know whether you’ll find an entire missing branch of the family.


  1. Ah HA!!!

    No wonder one could find her!

    1. Thanks for sharing that link, Iggy! It's so frustrating when I can't get the same results for parallel searches on two different online resources--especially in consideration of readers who might not be able to access the subscription sites. I appreciate your posting that!

  2. Travel safely! Ah ha..or should I say congrats on finding the connection! :)

    1. Thank you, Far Side! It was quite rewarding to make the connection. Of course, that opened up other research possibilities, too--not to mention, more bittersweet stories.


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