Monday, March 26, 2007

Louis and Ruth revisited - my error

In a recent post, I tried to find Louis and Ruth who had visited the Carringer family in San Diego - found in Della's Journal. I thought I had found them in Long Beach in the 1930 census - Louis and Ruth Crouch - living near Della's aunt, Libbie Crouch. Libbie's husband, Samuel, was born in England in 1841, but the record said that Louis was born 1893 in MO, and his father in TN. The MO birthplace fit well to the Sam/Libbie Crouch family, but the TN birthplace did not. Other information I had about the Samuel Crouch family indicated that they had 5 children - William S., Myrtle B., Amy, Ralph (died young) and Louis (born 1883).

When I wrote about this, my first thought was "the proximity of a Louis and Ruth Crouch to Sam and Libbie Crouch is too much of a coincidence - it must be the right Louis and Ruth." When I was away at my daughters, I had some time to think about it, and there were actually two discrepancies: Louis had a brother Arthur (born 1880 in MO) living with him, and their father was born in Tennessee.

I realized that that was two too many discrepancies, so I went back in time to find all of these families in the 1880 to 1920 census records. What I found surprised me some...

1) The 1880 census shows the Samuel Crouch family residing in Platte, Andrew County, Missouri, with Samuel (age 37, born Eng), wife Elizabeth (age 29, born NY), daughter Mirtie B. (age 7, born MO), son William S. (age 5, born MO) and son Ralph (age 3 months, born MO). An Arthur Crouch, also born in England, was on the same census page with his family.

2) The 1900 census showed the Samuel Crouch family residing in Beaver, Boone County, Nebraska - with only Samuel (age 59, born Eng), Elizabeth (age 49, born Eng) and Mirtta Crouch (age 26, born MO) in the household (enumerated and indexed as "Scrouch"). The census indicated that Elizabeth had borne 3 children, but only two were living (ostensibly William S. and Myrtle). Son Samuel W. Crouch (age 25, born MO) residing in DuQuoin, Perry County, Illinois with his young family.

3) The 1910 census showed Samuel (69, born Eng) and Elizabeth Crouch (age 59, born NY) in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California, and again Elizabeth has borne 3 children, 2 living. Son William S. Crouch and his family reside in Albion, Boone County, Nebraska, and daughter Myrtle Millbank and her husband Benjamin Millbank resided in Grand Island, Hall County, Nebraska.

4) The 1920 census shows Samuel (age 79, born Eng) and Elizabeth (age 69, born NY) Crouch residing in Long Beach CA with Benjamin and Myrtle Milbank; the William S. Crouch family also resided in Long Beach.

5) Using all of my census search tricks, I could not find a Crouch family in the 1880 to 1920 census records containing brothers Louis (or Lewis) and Arthur Crouch. Lewis had a daughter Marion born in MO in 1915, and I could not find her either.

My conclusions therefore are that:

1) The "Louis and Ruth" in Della's Journal are NOT Louis and Ruth Crouch of Long Beach. They are probably not related to the Samuel Crouch family.

2) That Samuel and Elizabeth Crouch had only three children - Myrtle B. Crouch (who married Benjamin Milbank), William S. Crouch (who married Elizabeth Riley), and Ralph Crouch (who died before 1900). I need to delete Amy and Louis from my database, and then try to find where I got that information.

So who are the real "Louis and Ruth?" I searched the 1930 census for California, using First name = Louis and Spouse's name = Ruth. There were 117 hits, many of them in Southern California, and only 3 in San Diego County.

One "Louis and Ruth" couple stood out like a sore thumb - Louis (age 48, born CA) and Ruth (age 49, born CT) Morrill who resided in Los Angeles. One of Della's sisters - Matie Smith - had married a Frank Morrill as her third husband in about 1920, and so Louis may be a brother or other male relative of this Frank Morrill. I'm going to go back in time from 1930 and see if I can put them together.

The lessons learned here (again!!! darnit) are that coincidences happen, and that I shouldn't jump to conclusions without doing enough research to support the assumptions I made.

For the record, none of my readers commented about this when I made the erroneous assumption. I understand that this is kind of "inside family" stuff - nobody else really cares about it. I have found, in engineering as well as in genealogy, that having several sets of eyes to review your assumptions and methods, and to proof your work product, is really helpful.


Miriam Robbins said...

Don't forget to try the "Lewis" spelling when searching censuses for "Louis." I've learned that the hard way!

Craig Manson said...

An excellent reminder of the sort of rabbitholes we all go down once in a while. And timely for me--I'm wrestling with some datasets right now that seem too serendipitous to be true.