Friday, January 15, 2016

A Darned Part of the Whole Story

Linda Bailey submitted this document to my RootsTech 2016 Darned Record contest.

We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about the past. Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, or downright laughable.

The Whole Story

by Linda Bailey

I used this document to encourage our Oakland family history library staff to learn how to research the story.  I've seen too many times when a “researcher” used an indexed record and never bothered to actually look at the document image to cull all the details.  i gave them this one and challenged them to research as much of the backstory as possible. They gave me everything from a video of a corn shredder in action to where the rest of Herman was buried to burial customs of different religious groups. It was a fun exercise. 


Yes, records say the darnedest things!


  1. Herman apparently survived the corn shredder accident -- he has another death certificate, death date 16 Oct 1945 []. I've heard that amputated limbs are supposed to be embalmd and "saved" to be buried with their "owners," but I guess that wasn't the case here.

  2. When I was a child,my grandfather told me about the tombstones on his property.. there were 2 one for the right leg of a man named Kuntz.. and the other for him... of course they were buried at different times... but laid side by side ...
    Never knew that they had to be embalmed.

  3. A distant cousin was a prisoner of the Germans toward the end of WWII. He managed to escape and followed the highways towards France in the hope of reaching his home land. Each time he heard a car, he would jump over the barrier on the side of the road. One time, it didn't work: the car hit the barrier and mangeled his arm. I am not sure how he was rescued and came back to France for good. I still remember when he came to visit us, when I was a little girl, he was driving his car with his single arm handling the steering wheel from a big knob mounted on it. He was on his way or back from a trip to Germany, where he went each year to visit his arm's grave!!! and to visit, I suppose, the people who helped him. He lived to be a nice old man. Nothing gross about that.

  4. The amputated arm of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was given a full Christian burial and has its own tombstone.


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