Monday, September 21, 2015

Tip: Study the Entire Document

The fifth person on this list is Edmund Kaechle. His age appears to be 24 years old and he died about 1885. If you look at the person above him, Charles, you will see he is 5 years old. The "y" for Charles' 5 years looks nothing like the "4" on Edmund's 24 years.

That was my big mistake. Even though everyone in this cemetery plot are my family members, I didn't study the list to see how the ages were recorded. If you look again, you'll see the ages are as follows:
  1. 55y
  2. 2d
  3. 42y
  4. 5y
  5. 24
  6. 90y
  7. 70y
  8. 52y
  9. 72y
Do you see how the ages are recorded? Each age is followed by a "y" for years or a "d" for days. 

I hadn't realized that and mistakenly read Edmund's age as 24 instead of 2 YEARS. What a big difference! Thankfully, I asked a cousin if he knew who this Edmund was who was 24 years old and died about 1885. He replied that he thought the age was 2 years. And, this changed everything.

Reinhardt Kaechle, the first person on the list and my 2nd great grandfather, had a 'missing child.' In other words, he had three sons that I knew about, but his wife, Mary, had listed on her 1900 census that she was the mother of 4 children with 3 still living. This Edmund was likely that 4th child!

I plugged in the name and possible dates (b 1884-d 1886) and got a shaky leaf hint that lead me to Edmund's headstone (which he shared with his father, Reinhard). It turns out that Edmund was actually 3 1/2 and died in 1886, but the information was close enough to come up with the hint.

I've had this record for more than 10 years. I had the clue I needed to find Reinhard and Mary's missing son. But, it took another person's eyes, and really reading over the entire document, for me to solve the identity of Edmund.

What I still haven't solved: Who is #2 on this list, the 2 day old Frank who was born and died in 1909?

(Note: Here's another post about the headstone)

My Line of Descent

  • Reinhard(t) Kaechle (1844-1900) m. Mary Magdalena "Lena" Koerbach/Karbach (1848-1938)
  • Francis "Frank" Kaechle (1868-1911) m. Anna "Annie" Regina Adam (1867-1936), my maternal great grandparents
Do we share common ancestors or do you have additional information about this family? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at


  1. Dana,
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who has the info in their possession and doesn't realize it. We can't be reminded enough, to re read, review, read again and go back to all our documents.

    1. Diana, It's also good to know I am not the only one who does this! It's a great reminder to go back through the records we already have... especially when we have a brick wall or some other kind of issue.

  2. Dana - Another thing to note: that plot map above the list of burials shows that little Edmund's plot #5 is a child size grave, similar to 2 day old infant Frank's. The size of the plot matches up with your evaluation of the text. What a great visual to have along with the list of burials!

    1. Lisa, I would've never thought to look at the size of the plot to determine if it contained a baby, a child, or an adult. Thanks for this insight!

  3. I have made similar errors by looking too quickly at one line of a document. You might enjoy reading my article "Seeing double! Twins in the family and the need to study genealogical records with a careful eye" at

    1. Great article that also stresses the point of really looking at each record we have. And, transcribing is a wonderful way to really see each part of the document!

  4. You are soo right. We are always is such a hurry that we forget to look at all the small details...looking documents over two or three times is a real must!

    1. Yes, and I think transcribing a document is the BEST way to get everything out of a document. I used to do that with all of my records, but they're so 'easy' to find now, that I quickly move on to the next item. I need to stop and transcribe!

  5. I've done this. I haven't been doing genealogy for as long as you so it didn't last ten years, but I've done it. I wanted to let you know that this post is included in my NoteWorthy Reads #22: Enjoy your weekend!


Color Clustering: Top 25 Fourth Cousins

For more on Color Clustering & DNA, please visit my new website at:  For another look at how Color Clustering works...