Thursday, November 16, 2017

Scoring a Triple D

If I can't find any further documentation about the Simon Rinehart I'm seeking—no, not the one ambushed by Native Americans back in Greene County, Pennsylvania, but the one who moved from there to Perry County, Ohio—I'll try a different approach. I'll look for any records which can verify that at least two of his children had his name and his wife's name mentioned in their own death records.

Of course, I'm still trying to make this second approach work. Despite finding Simon's daughter's death record, it contained a name for her mother which did not agree with a published report of that daughter's brother's parental names. And then, I couldn't even find the actual death record for that same brother, leaving me to wonder about editorial inaccuracies in published works.

Thankfully, though, Simon had more than two children. In his later years—like, those years when the census enumeration actually included the names of all family members, not just the head of household—Simon's census record included the name of three younger Rinehart women: Hannah, Lucinda, and Charlotte.

The difficulty was that these three thirty-something spinsters had some marks against them. For one thing, in the 1850 census, the blot on Charlotte's name was that she was listed as "idiotic." Likewise, that same label persisted in the 1860 census. While I can't yet locate the three sisters in the 1870 census, the one sister I can find in the 1880 census, Lucinda, was labeled as "insane."

Realizing that family members of an ancestor were seen in a less than sterling way can be a deflating discovery. Of course, the wide variety of diagnoses that could have been lumped into such labels in that time period don't necessarily constitute our understanding of those labels today. In addition, options left open to family members for dealing with such health issues in that century were drastically limited and often not adequate to address the individual's treatment needs.

A timely blog post by professional genealogist Amy Johnson Crow, "Do You Have a Defective Ancestor?" addresses such issues from both a historical and genealogical perspective. One suggestion was to look for the special census schedule that expanded upon that category focused on health issues. That schedule was known as the "Special Schedule of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes"—handily shrunken down to the abbreviation, the DDD Schedule.

Though poor Charlotte, the "idiotic" daughter of Simon and Ann Rinehart, was nowhere to be found by the time of the 1880 census, her sister Lucinda was listed that year, so I thought I'd check out her entry in the DDD Schedule.

Unfortunately, as I found out, not all states provided the federal government with their records from the extra schedules taken along with the regular enumeration. Still, I gave it a try since includes a copy of the 1880 DDD Schedule in their holdings. Yet, in browsing the collection's holdings, after selecting the state of Ohio, the listing of available counties that popped up did not include Perry County.

It would have been interesting to see what additional information could have been found for Lucinda in the DDD Schedule, but I have to remember my original reason for pursuing additional documentation: I wanted to find a record of her parents' names. Of course, I'd also like to find an entry for either Hannah or Charlotte, as well—though finding the right Hannah will be a challenge, since that was one of the favorite names in the extended Rinehart family.

Even if Lucinda was the last of the remaining Rinehart siblings, it was difficult to locate a death record for her. My first clue was an entry at Find A Grave—without the customary headstone photograph—but for dates it included only years and one of them seemed wrong. However, the entry also indicated the burial was in Perry County, in a section of the cemetery reserved for charity or "infirmary lots." The dates given were a birth in 1820 and a death in 1900.

Remembering the death records in the holdings at FamilySearch, I went back there to see if I could find an entry for Lucinda Rinehart. Under the spelling for Lucinda "Rhinhart," the entry contained the same year of birth (1820) but a full date of death: June 2, 1900. Her place of death was given simply as "infirmary." No marital status was indicated, so I didn't even have that hint to help determine if I had the right Lucinda Rinehart. And her place of birth was listed as "U.S.A." Clearly, there was no close relative available to provide the details of this abandoned woman's connections to family life.

Appreciative, at least, for the exactness of the full date of death, I followed the line for Lucinda's entry to the point on the second page where her parents' names would be listed. Sadly—and I had noticed that trend when I was searching for her brother Jesse's entry in the 1880s—it had been a habit in that county to omit collection of this information, despite a heading on the form clearly provided for that purpose.

So, was this the right Lucinda? Or not? Once again, history's record-keepers have cheated me out of an answer to my family history questions. 

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