Saturday, July 17, 2010

Charles Ruch Burial Mystery Solved

I’m learning one thing as I’m writing the Ruch family story – little things mean a lot or things I may have assumed before need proving. I’ll be typing away about events in the family, suddenly come across a “minor” contradiction, and realize some extra research is needed. Whenever possible, I want to clear up inconsistencies. Of course, with my time restraints I won’t be able to review each minute item but when something glares at me, it glares at me.

A few days ago, the glare got so bad I nearly had to put on my sunglasses to finish typing a sentence. I was dealing with the death and burial of Charles Ruch in Chicago, Illinois. Years ago, I’d had a very difficult time finding his death certificate because he name was reported as “Chas Rosch”. All the other information on the certificate matched my Charles including his address, age, birth date and nativity, so there’s no great mystery there.

The real mystery comes with the location of burial. The certificate lists Graceland Cemetery as his final resting place but the Rosehill Cemetery record has him in Rosehill. I also have the photo of his headstone which I took at Rosehill.

Originally, I thought (yes, one should never assume anything, I know.) Graceland had been Salomé’s first choice but, for whatever reason, had changed to Rosehill after the certificate had already been filed. This thought isn’t that far-fetched; it can happen; it might have happened; but it didn’t happen that way.

Confused – a not-so-unusual state for me – I studied the Rosehill plat record for about the hundred-millionth time. It was then I realized the first burial listed was that of Alice Ruch (Charles & Salomé’s daughter) who died 12 Feb 1899. The second listing is for Charles who died 10 Dec 1888. The last five records are listed in chronological order. It only makes sense that each burial is added to the plat as it happens.

The fog lifted – Charles was probably buried at Graceland but moved after the death of his daughter. However, I needed more evidence than a plat record. Hoping against hope, I found Graceland online, thinking I’d need to send a letter and agonize over a response. But, no, there is a tab called Genealogy! One click and I had instructions for phone, fax, or email requests: Basically, give the request, it may take a week, there could be a small fee.

Needless to say, I sent the email request. The next day I had this answer (no fee required!): “Yes, Charles Rosch was interred at Graceland in a single grave plot.  He was removed to Rosehill on May 17, 1899.  Our records do not show who authorized the removal to Rosehill Cemetery.” (Thank you, thank you, Graceland!)

When Alice died, Salomé purchased a family plot (8 gravesites) at Rosehill and, three months later, she moved Charles from Graceland. One more mystery solved. Now, I can finish that paragraph without sunglasses!

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