Lewis’s Death Record Finally Rises

Going from an index to an original source often takes a little detective work and a lot of patience. And sometimes, it takes learning the right combination of search terms for the record to finally float to the surface.

That’s the case for Ludwig Puescker son of Karl Puesecker who was a traveling companion to my 3rd great-grandmother Caroline Mack Geiszler Billman. I had tracked Ludwig, who became Louis in many records in Franklin County, Ohio, until the 1880 US Census. Then, I discovered a death date of 14 May 1905  in the Ohio Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997 death index collection on FamilySearch.  The index was derived from many sources, but I needed something more than a small clue to determine where his record was hiding.

I turned once again to the Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001 index image collection. Searching for Puesecker and the death year and death county returned no results. Searching for Louis who died in 1905 in Franklin County, Ohio had too many results to sift through. So, I finally attempted Louis P* died in Franklin County, Ohio in 1905 and I finally found a hit that looked plausible. Lewis Pusicker with the May 1905 death date.

“Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F6VT-NBM : accessed 3 April 2016), Lewis Pusicker, 14 May 1905; citing Death, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID 1905 v 3 fn 102, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 2,032,442.

Sadly, this record is not overflowing with information but it’s providing further clues for research.

First, little in the way of vital information is included because the informant is the State Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Now, that informant is unknown, but there could be asylum records for Lewis.

I’m recognizing cirrhosis of the liver and esophageal hemorrhaging for contributing causes of death. But notice that he was in the care of the doctor from 10 Aug 1889 to 14 May 1905.  That’s a long time to be in a hospital in those days, so I’m really thinking he was a long term patient of an asylum. But, I could be wrong. It would certainly explain why I’m having trouble finding him in the 1900 US Census. I’ll have to try the Pusicker spelling of the last name.

Anyway, if at first you don’t succeed in finding a record for your relative, keep trying different search terms. If they are supposed to be in a record collection, they just may finally rise to the surface. But when they do, I hope yours don’t have more questions than answers.

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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