Monday, December 17, 2018

Clustering Clues

When it seems like there are too many details coming at us, in the course of one "simple" search, it's time to see if we can group the various clues into categories. In the case of the Albert Roberts identified in the hundred-plus year old photograph of a young couple in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the resultant hits obtained when searching for that common name likely indicated at least two, if not three, different men.

Last week, we took a look at a synopsis of all the mentions of the name Albert Roberts in Council Bluffs newspapers from about 1900 through the mid 1950s. Now, let's cluster the details into groups, particularly linking relatives' names with each of the different Alberts. From that point, we can begin to see what other documents can lead us to further clues on each of these individuals who share that same name.

From what I can see of the newspaper reports so far, my guess is that there are three different Alberts. Let's call one of them Albert from Riverton, the second Albert from Atlantic, and the third—the only one with a middle initial—Albert L.

Here's the picture that emerges on each of the three Alberts.

Albert from Riverton:
  • Has a daughter born January 4, 1900
  • Possibly has a step-daughter named Lillian, who married a Mr. Cowger, lives in Omaha, and has a son named Edward
  • Also happens to have a sister named Minerva Cowger
  • Has a daughter named Leta who lives in Omaha by the 1920s
  • Has a daughter named Lillian Fouts and a granddaughter named Alice Elizabeth
  • Has a daughter who married Lee Edwards
  • Has a daughter who married Ed Parkinson about 1908
  • Has a daughter who married Chauncey Parkinson, and a granddaughter named Nellie
  • Has a son named Stanley
  • Lost his wife, who died about 1927

Albert from Atlantic:
  • Married Hattie Eshelman on January 10, 1900
  • Has a sister who married H. S. Leonard, and who died in September of 1937
  • Has a sister who married a Mr. Neary
  • Has a sister who married a Mr. Hully
  • Lived in Grant through 1917
  • Was a resident of Atlantic since 1917

Albert L.:
  • Was plaintiff in a court case in Council Bluffs in 1919
  • Living at either 1905 or 1908 Third Avenue in Council Bluffs in 1926
  • Has a daughter who was born in 1926
  • Had a daughter named Wauneta Louise who died in 1926

While it may be possible that Albert L. Roberts was one and the same as either of the other Alberts, I believe the fact that his daughter was born so much later than the other two Alberts indicates that he was a younger man than they were. In fact, it is likely that, if we were to place the three Alberts in age order, I'd choose Albert from Riverton as the oldest of the three, followed by Albert from Atlantic.

Now that we have the three men sorted out, we'll start taking a closer look at each of them as we begin building their family constellations and personal histories through documentation, beginning with Albert from Riverton, tomorrow.


  1. You have sifted through lots of info! :)

    1. Gotta love those newspaper archives! Couldn't have done that much without online search capabilities.


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