Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - John S. KINNICK

John S. KINNICK has been an interesting story in my family. Our 1953 "family history" book said of him: "killed in action, Civil War, abt 1865."

When I began seriously researching my family history, this one caught my eye very quickly. First, I looked at him in the 1850 census. It said born in 1837, between his siblings Sarah and Joseph. The 1840 census data fit this pattern as well. But, he was not in the 1860 census. That certainly raised a red flag. Was he really in the Civil War?

A few months later, a member of the Bureau County Genealogical Society, doing some research for me, sent along this photo. John clearly had died in 1851. He had not been in the Civil War.

This is similar to other "family tradition" stories - my next favorite is "he went west and was killed by Indians." Usually, a little research shows "he" went west and raised a normal family... just had lost touch with the family members telling the stories. A good reminder that we always need to "check the facts"

Family is forever! ;-)


  1. A neat mystery! It seems many families who lived at that time wanted a special connection to the war. The obituary of my "Orphan" subject's youngest brother, born ca 1851, stated that he was one of the last living Civil War veterans of the area. Well, maybe he was a drummer boy.

  2. Another myth dispelled by pesky little facts. Nice story and good research.


  3. To a genealogist, there is nothing like a good solid tombstone, with dates, names and relationships!