Friday, January 28, 2011
A New Ruch Mystery
When I published the book and CD about the Ruch Family last year, I thought, “Now, I can put that away and start on another line,” swiping my hands in finality. Of course, in genealogy, there is no finality and for all intents and purposes, no end. There are always some little details left undone and a mystery or two left unsolved and, sometimes, a mystery pops up that wasn’t even previously considered.
Well, such a “mystery” has come to the front in the past few days; a mystery that I can’t just dismiss and move on from without, at least, putting it forth here on my blog. You see as well as publishing in book form and on CD for the family, I put the family tree on Ancestry as a public tree for all to see. Just a few days ago, I received a message, through Ancestry from a gentleman from California, Ronald, who asked if I thought a particular Charles D. Brown listed in the Family Search database, “Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947” was the same Charles Brown who was married to my Julia Ruch Brown.
You may remember Julia is the twin sister of my husband’s grandmother, Emma Ruch Higgins. Julia, according to family lore, had a set of twins who died at nine months old within days of each other. Also, according to family lore, Charlie was “a womanizer” and Julia “kicked him out.”
Well, the death certificate Ronald mentioned was for Charles D. Brown who was born 27 Jul 1876 in New York and died 08 Nov 1926 in Oak Park, Illinois, the husband of Freda and the son of Louise Murrey born in Vermont and Mert Brown born in New York. I’m sure he is our “Charlie Brown.” In the 1910 census, Julia is listed as married to Charles Brown (born in New York) and living with them is his mother, Louise, who was born in Vermont. In addition, Charles’ WWI registration in 1918 lists Julia as his next of kin. The 1920 census records Julia as living alone; so, sometime between the registration and the census, it appears the couple split up.
This, however, isn’t the real mystery. After a few emails between Ronald and me, he mentioned a 1900 census that shows Julia Rusch living as a roomer on Madison Street in Chicago. She is most assuredly my Julia as she was born in Nov 1874 PA with parents born in France. I’d been looking for her in the 1900 census but, apparently, hadn’t tried that spelling. Anyway, she is listed as divorced on the census so Ronald, innocently, asked if I’d ever looked for a marriage previous to Charlie. Well, no, I hadn’t. There had never been the slightest hint in the family about an earlier marriage.
Well, she was married before. In 1892 Julia Ruch married Peter Jacobsen in a civil ceremony by a Justice of the Peace.
Now this is a horse of another color. Perhaps the twins were the product of this first union. There may be hope yet in finding their birth and death records! Though I really must get back to work on the Leisure project, I’ll at least spend some time in the Cook County, Illinois databases to see what I can find. Of course, there are also the two divorce files I should look for but that will take a trip to the Loop.
Try as I might, this Ruch family simply won’t leave me alone!!