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Monday, July 18, 2016

Where an Obituary Can Lead

If you have not taken advantage of the resources that lead you to obituaries, perhaps this article will help move you in that direction. Observe how the details from the obituary of Mrs. George H. Edwards (d. June 13, 1915) lead to a variety of other records.

Obituary of Mrs. George H. Edwards
“Mrs. George H. Edwards, 2431 Sixth Avenue, Moline, passed away at 5:15 this morning. Death came as the result of the infirmities of age. Deceased, whose maiden name was Abigail E. Pierce, was born in Canadaigua, New York, December 3rd, 1848.
Left to mourn Mrs. Edwards’ passing are a niece, Mrs. Edna M. Butt, of Toronto, Canada, and a nephew, James M. Pierce, 2021 Sixth Avenue, Moline. Mrs. Edwards had been a resident of Moline for many years.
Funeral services will be held in the home Friday afternoon at 2:30. Rev. P. C. Ladd will officiate and burial will be in Riverside Cemetery.”
Rock Island Argus. (Rock Island, Ill.), 30 June 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>
Gleaning information
You can learn a lot from these three short paragraphs. You could first search for a death certificate for Abigail Edwards who died in June 1915. An index to death certificates is on microfilm at the Family History Library.

Tracing Abigail from the 1910 Census and back can help you learn more about her and her family:
1910 Census – The widowed 69 year old Abigail E. Edwards is living in Moline, Rock Island, Illinois in 1910 with a servant, Ida M. Bowles, 23. Abigail’s age is listed as 1841, seven years earlier than her obituary, and her birth is listed as New York.
1900 Census – Abigail’s husband, George H. Edwards is living in 1900, and Abigail’s birth is listed as December 1840. You learn that she was recently married to George and that he was born in Vermont.

Second Marriage
1880 Census - In 1880, George H. Edwards is living with his wife, Mercy M and son, Milton F. who is 22.

1870 Census - Milton is 13 and living with his parents, George and Maria in Henry County, Illinois in 1870 along with John P. Johnson, 32 from Sweden and Milly McCurdy, 17, a domestic servant.

According to their marriage record, Maria’s maiden name is Waterman, and they married on March 4, 1857 in Rock Island County. So Maria must have died some time before 1900 when George was married to Abigail.

Riverside Cemetery
Many clues can often be found in the cemetery, and with the popularity of Find A Grave Memorials you may learn more about your ancestor there too. Riverside Cemetery is in Moline, Rock Island County, Illinois. A trip to Find A Grave for a search for Abigail Edwards in Riverside Cemetery does not prove futile.

Even though you may learn many more details about your ancestor on Find A Grave, it is a good practice to look or ask for the sources for the information you learn from each memorial. There is a photograph of the headstone for Abigail Edwards, George H. Edwards and each of his wives. They are all buried near each other in Riverside Cemetery.

There is a photograph of George and a lengthy biography where you learn a great deal about his life and move from Vermont to Illinois. It does not say where the history came from, but you can click on the creator’s name and ask that question. Perhaps some of the same records used here will help you learn more about your ancestor’s life.


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