Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Two? Or Three? Still Not Sure

Newspapers may be a wonderful source for details on your family history, but they come wrapped with a flaw inherent in time-sensitive print media: reporting errors.

So, when I come across a newspaper article reporting that Homer and Ella Creahan Fulk of Bloomington, Indiana, had two sons—and yet, I’ve seen other reports of an additional daughter—what’s a family history researcher to do?

Never stop at one report. That’s solidly become my motto in this genealogical pursuit.

Even after locating a census record and a death record indicating that Ella Fulk—well, in the case of those Chicago records, make that Ella Faulk—did indeed have a daughter, here comes another newspaper report from the family’s hometown, insisting the Fulks had just two sons. What gives with that? And it was even in Ella’s own obituary, no less!

I’m beginning to wonder if Bloomington newspapers just had something against the daughters of their residents—at least in the Bloomington Telephone. Though I find no such corroboration elsewhere, the newspaper reports I’ve been able to locate on the family both indicated that Homer and Ella had only two children: sons Lyman and Robert. Frustrating. Especially when I'm trying to trace all the descendants of my Kelly family from Lafayette, Indiana. That includes daughters, too.

Ellen Creahan Fulk of Lafayette IN died in Memphis TN but was a long time resident of Bloomington IN


            Mrs. Ella Fulk, a former resident of Bloomington, died Sunday at Memphis, Tenn., where she has been making her home with her son, Lyman Fulk, manager of the Memphis plant of the Nurre company. Word of the death was received by J. M. Nurre, president of the company. Mrs. Fulk, who was about 70 years of age, became ill Friday, and died Sunday noon.
            She was the widow of the late Homer Fulk. Besides the son, Lyman, she is survived by two grandchildren, Helen Marie and Dickie Fulk. Another son, Robert, died at his home in Chicago a few years ago.
            While a resident of this city Mrs. Fulk was a member of the St. Charles Catholic church. She had many friends here and visited in this city last year. Her home was formerly at Lafayette and the body is to be taken there. The family is expected to come here after the funeral.


  1. Ok I'm lost -- did the daughter die before her mother? If so, that could account for the omission. If not, was their a family feud that could explain her being omitted? That happened just recently in my own family when my 2nd cousin died -- his family did not mention one of his sisters in the obituary or at the funeral, as if she doesn't exist.

    1. It's the possibility of a family feud that I'm wondering about, Wendy. The daughter died before the mother, but so did one of the sons--yet the deceased son merited a mention in his mother's obituary, but not the deceased daughter.

      It's the hint of such difficulties that makes me sit up and take notice. While it's sad to see such disagreements occur within families, as a researcher, I want to try and capture any record of that. It helps to give a fuller view of what that particular family was like, and perhaps even lead to details explaining the rift.

  2. has an article that might explain the Bloomington-Memphis connection. The OCR is messy but ...

    Published 13 February 1936 -- "J. M. Nurre, president of the firm, indicated he would move the plant from Bloomington if the dispute was not settled peacefully."

    1. Thanks for that link, Iggy! I had a feeling there was a business connection between the two cities.

      I still need to follow up on Lyman--he seems to have disappeared in Memphis--but he seems to have done well in the company, once he made that move. I'll have to take a look at Bloomington newspapers, searching for the Nurre company, to see if there is anything further, after this 1936 report. There is, by the way, a company by that name still existent in Memphis, but I can't tell if it is under the same ownership.


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