Using “Step 2a” to Research Rufus Harry Darling.
After I had done my initial research on a person, (Birth, Marriage, Death, Censuses, and “happen upons,” during the individual’s life, I begin my Phase 2 research. In the case of my wife’s great-grandfather, Rufus Harry Darling, I found many key points in his life. His life was complicated. He appears to have lived in Kalamazoo until he was about 30. Then as a “railroad man,” he lived in many locations, Chicago, Kansas City, and Texas. He may or may not have lived in Buena Vista, Colorado or Kittanning, Pennsylvania, where he married his first and second wives.
Where Rufus Harry Darling lived during known events in his life.
- 1857 (Born), 1860, 1863, 1864, 1870, 1877, 1895 1911, 1917 (Death) – Kalamazoo, Michigan
- 1876 Kalamazoo, Michigan – 12 Cedar
- 1880 Kalamazoo, Michigan – 42 Rose
- 1887 Kalamazoo, Michigan – 209 Edwards
- 1889, 1907 Chicago, Illinois
- 1890 Buena Vista, Colorado
- 1891, 1896, 1900, 1910 – Kansas City, Missouri
- 1894 Texas
- 1907 Kittanning, Pennsylvania
I consider it possible that a person could have located to a new location the day after the previous event and the day before the next event in their life. With day in mind, I develop a search plan.
I also look for the first name, first name with middle initial, first name with middle name, and first and last initial in the newspapers. Also, when I know a person’s address, I search for the address also. Finally, I also search the name in a last name first format. So, in the case of Rufus I have the following searches to do.
- Rufus Harry Darling
- Rufus H Darling
- Rufus Darling
- Darling, Rufus
- Darling, Rufus H (unnecessary if no “Darling, Rufus” results are found.
- Darling, Rufus Harry (unnecessary if no “Darling, Rufus H” results are found.
- 12 Cedar
- 42 Rose
- 209 Edwards
All during the appropriate years and locations.
The Dates and Locations are:
- Buena Vista, Colorado 1889-1891
- Chicago 1887-1910
- Kalamazoo – 1857 to 1907 – It is possible that Rufus was in Kalamazoo anytime from his birth to his death.
- Kalamazoo at 12 Cedar 1857 to 1880
- Kalamazoo at 42 Rose 1876-1887
- Kalamazoo at 209 Edwards 1880-1889
- Kansas City – 1890-1911
- Kittanning, PA – 1906-1908
- Texas – 1891-1895
For this search I have three source search categories.
A. My favorite sites.
B. Location sites.
C. Sites of Sites.
My Favorite Paid Sites
- !$$ Ancestry Historical Newspapers Collection – I have a Subscription.
- !$$ Genealogy Bank – I have a Subscription.
- !$$ Newspapers.Com – I have a Subscription.
- $$ Newspaper Archive – I do NOT have an active subscription[i].
- $$ Accessible Archives Inc. I do NOT have an active subscription.
My Favorite Free Sites
- CHA Directory – Advantage Archives
- Chronicling America « Library of Congress[ii]
- Google News Archive Search
- Hathi Trust Digital Library
- Old Fulton New York Post Cards
- Small Town Newspapers.
In my browser, I have all of the above entries in a single folder of Genealogy/Newspaper bookmarks. I hover “Newspaper” right click then open all and all 12 of the sites are opened. I then work through each of the web sites for my search criteria.
Discovery – Marriage Clarification
For some time, I’ve had two marriage dates for Rufus and his first wife, Ida.
- June 1889 – When Rufus married Anna (Hannah) McAllister he indicated that he had been married previously, in June 1889 and that his first wife died in September 1898.
- September 1890 – Rufus H. Darling married Ida Ready in Buena Vista, Colorado.
The Michigan State Census of 1894 shows the Elizabeth Darling household included two of her daughters, Mary and Emma, her son, Rufus H, and her daughter-in-law Ida. That census is what told me that Rufus’ wife’s name was Ida. So, when I found a Rufus H. Darling marrying an Ida Ready, I ascribed that to my Rufus. I hypnotized that the June 1889 marriage was a mistake of some sort, either by the clerk or, possibly, Rufus said the name he began living with Ida and not the date of their actual marriage.
I always had a bad feeling about that marriage location and date. Nothing in my research, other than Rufus H. Darling marrying Ida Ready, suggests that Rufus was ever in Colorado.
That was before I found an interesting article during this search. On page 5 of the September 27, 1889 Kalamazoo Gazette[iii], it said:
“The Chicago Herald of a recent date states that the police of that city are looking for Mrs. Rufus Darling, a runaway wife. It is claimed that she left her husband at St. Louis to come to this city, but nothing has been heard from her since her departure. Darling is having great times with his wife and other women since he left here.”
That Mrs. Rufus Darling appeared to be a “runaway wife” and learning that Rufus had “great times” with other women since he left Kalamazoo seems to fit with his personality.
The article confirms that Rufus was married in 1889, So I now believe that it was a different Rufus H Darling who married a different Ida in 1890.
UPDATE: Marriage: June 1889 Rufus Darling to Ida LNU.
Marriage: September 1890 was removed and added as a note of unlikely possibility to the June 1889 marriage notes.
Discovery 2 – A “Happen Upon”
During my search for Rufus on Hathi Trust, I happened upon a Report of Accidents for Michigan during the year 1887. Under “Injured” I found an entry which read:
“March 5. Rufus Darling, brakeman, Northville, fell from engine, shoulder blade broken.”
We know that Rufus was a “railroad man.” Also, search for Darlings in Northville, Michigan failed to yield any Darlings living in the township.,” As such, I’m pretty sure the “Northville” reference is to where the accident occurred. Even though the railroad was the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad Co., I suspect that this was our Rufus. Today, Northville is a suburb of Metropolitan Detroit.
Also, such an injury might have been the prelude to Rufus becoming a clerk for the Midwest Central Railroad shortly after that. I added a new “tentative” event:
NEW Event: 5 Mar 1887 – Rufus Darling, a brakeman, fell from an engine and broke his shoulder blade.
It is always a good genealogy session when I can clarify a fact, learn a new fact, and can add a specific search for further research.
Specifically search the Chicago Herald in September 1889 for mentions of Rufus and his runaway wife.
Continue my newspaper searches using “state newspaper sites.” (Step 2B)
Using the “Sites of Sites” to determine if I’ve missed any appropriate newspapers that should be searched. (Step 2C)
[ii] Chronicling America is searched when you do an Elephind search. I often skip using Chronicling America and only search Elephind, particularly if there are few hits for newspaper articles.