March 18, 2013

DIgitized Newspapers: A Wonderful Resource

I am finding that the more I search old newspapers, the more good information I am finding.  In particular, they can be helpful for that period between 1880 and 1900  -- a missing census, lack of vital records in many areas. What I’ve come to learn is that you should search for your target person but also for their immediate family members.

I had found a reference to the Putnam County, NY family of Lewis Ludington and his wife Polly Townsend indicating that their daughter Emily had married Philip Rountree. In the census records of 1860, 1870 and 1880  she was single, living with family members in Carmel, NY.  In the 1891 Michigan obituary of her brother James. she was listed as: Mrs Philip Rountree, formerly of Milwaukee, now resident of San Francisco.

But what really confused me is that she is buried in the family plot at the Raymond Hill Cemetery as Mrs Victor Tull.  I checked Family Search, websites about the Ludingtons, the Putnam County newspapers, but I found nothing that helped me.

Eventually I decided to search for the second husband, Victor E Tull, and that’s when I found an 1892 Santa Cruz, Calif marriage record for Victor and MRS EMILY ROUNTREE.  That confirmed to me that she was indeed Emily Ludington – and I assumed she had been widowed. I still could not find the elusive Mr Rountree. He was not buried at the Raymond Hill Cemetery.

My assumption was that Emily had married Philip after the 1880 census, most likely in New York. After many hours and checking every newspaper source I could identify and in every state, I was hitting a brick wall. In reviewing the obit of her brother James Ludington I noticed that Emily was listed as FORMERLY OF MILWAUKEE. So I started to focus on Wisconsin resources … and then I found a Wisconsin newspaper marriage announcement for Emily and Phil in October 1881. Phil (he seemed to always use that, not Philip) was a native of Platteville, Wisconsin and a newspaper reporter for Evening Wisconsin. He was the son of early Wisconsin pioneer, Major John Hawkins Rountree who died in 1889 and whose death notice cited offspring Lillie, Phil S and Harrison as living in Chicago.

I found Phil living there in the 1892 Voter Registration List and therefore realized they had divorced.  Checking further I found that he died in Seattle in 1916, that he had been married briefly and widowed in Wisconsin before meeting Emily. It appears he never remarried.
The newspaper resources I am using most are: 

Genealogy Bank and  -- both require a paid subscription

plus free sites and Chronicling America/Library of Congress

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