Monday, April 15, 2013

The Samuel Vaux Death Date Evidence Conflict - is it Resolved?

I posted How Can I Resolve This Evidence Conflict? on 27 March 2013, noting that the Find A Grave memorial for Samuel Vaux said his death date was in 1880, but the Pleasant Hill (Concordia, Kansas) cemetery card on an FHL microfilm said 1890.

I received a number of suggestions on my blog post and I want to share them, since all of them are rational and helpful, including:

*  Nanakat offered:  "Have you contacted Judy Mayfield, the person credited with creating the Find a Grave information? There's a link on her name, so it might be possible to contact her and find out what she knows. She may even have seen the headstone."

*  Rita A. said:  "I would go to Chronicaling American Newspapers or other newspaper sources and try both years to get an obituary. I would go with the card over find-a-grave but everybody makes mistakes."

*  Susan Park commented:  "Even though the probate records aren't on micro film you could still call--on the telephone--the county court and ask them to help you. In some of the less populated Kansas counties you can get great help this way. I once listened to a clerk climb a step ladder to retrieve the box that held the probate file I wanted. She came back and said, "Got it!" just like that."

*  Sharon helped:  "Pleasant Hill is the city cemetery for Concordia. Here is their website.

"You can search their info using Cemetery P-Z. Both Vaux are listed, but only Mary Ann has a death date. The plot was owned by D J. Smith. You could call the office there and see if there is additional info in their records.'

*  Lisa Gorrell said:  "It is quite possible that the Find-a-Grave transcriber entered the date incorrectly and it's just a typo."

*  Marshall commented:  "I suspect that you'll get a picture from a local FindAGrave volunteer once the snow melts.  (I'm waiting for a couple photo requests for Roland, Manitoba - which I expect someone will fill before, say, June).  Calling the cemetery sounds like a good idea, too."

*  Colleen Pasquale offered:  "Randy, I am a Find A Grave member. I have never looked at grave cards or other records. I just walk the cemetery, find & photograph tombstones. Most of the cemeteries have no 'office' of any kind in sight."

*  Rootsonomy helped:  "'It's on the shelf at the FHL, and also available on microfiche. I'll add this to the To-Do list for my next FHL visit!'  Why wait until you are in SLC again. The research firm Rootsonomy provides lookups of film, fiche, books, and magazines at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Get the result via email in 2 days.  Submit requests via and clicking the button "Request Research or a Lookup".  Or at:

*  Angela Craft noted:  "Unfortunately not all of the memorials on Find A rave are put together by cemetery walkers/researchers. I have found some are put in by people who are researching someone who they "know" is buried at such and such a place and they add in the information they have without mentioning any source citations at all.  I always call the cemetery and see what they have on file the check other sources for backup."

So what did I do?  I did check the Concordia cemetery website that Sharon mentioned - and it has more information from the cemetery - especially the plot owner (D.J. Smith was the husband of Abbie (Vaux) smith, daughter of Samuel and Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux).  Lutie Smith, a child of Devier and Abbie (Vaux) Smith, is also buried in this plot.

Other than that, I waited until I got a response from my request for photographs of the gravestones, if there are gravestones.  

I received an email yesterday from Find A Grave - volunteer SJ Oregon had taken photos of the gravestones and added them to the Find A Grave site.  Here is a screen shot of the Find A Grave page for Samuel Vaux:

There are pictures of the Samuel Vaux side of the stone, of Mary A.'s side of the stone (shown on her memorial) and of the front of the stone that says "Father and Mother."

The photo of Samuel's  side of the stone has this inscription for his birth and death date:

Jan. 14, 1816
Oct. 9, 1880"

The gravestone says he died in 1880.  Case closed, right?  Um, probably not, but it is a piece of evidence not previously entered into the record.  Having a picture of the gravestone is more conclusive to me than a text entry on the Find A Grave memorial page.  How did the cemetery card get the 1890 death date?  I don't know, but either a clerical error when gathering information or a typing error when put on the card is possible.

I'm going to keep 1880 in my database for Samuel Vaux's death year, but I'm going to note the evidence conflict in the Death note so that if someone else runs across the conflict they might see how I found more evidence.

I still need to search for a Samuel (or Mary Ann Vaux) probate file in Cloud County probate court records.  That may be more conclusive and resolve my evidence conflict.  

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

lyn said...

You might check the 1885 Kansas State Census to see if he is on it. If he is then 1880 must be incorrect. If he isn't the search for confirmation goes on.